My Dear Friends:
This coming Wednesday we begin the season of Lent. As a Church, we approach this sacred time as a season of opportunity: an opportunity to return to the Lord, an opportunity for silence as we journey with Jesus into the desert, and an opportunity to shed the battle scars of sin to embrace the freedom of living a holy life with our Lord.
I invite you the next three days to make a concrete plan for your Lenten experience. Beyond the sacrifices we make and the things we give up, what else is the Lord calling you to focus on during Lent? Maybe he is calling you to more time in prayer or perhaps coming to daily Mass more often or perhaps taking up the rosary. (The other day, a parishioner reminded me that I recommended she take up the rosary daily and she called it a “gamechanger” in her life.) We are all different which is why we need to be attuned to the Lord’s voice the next few days in order to discern what he wants us to take up as we enter the desert. Yes, we are all accustomed to giving up something for Lent, but I propose also adding something to your spiritual routine.
Silence is such an important component of Lent. We don’t get enough of it in our lives. That is why I invite you to come and spend quality time in the silence of our Adoration Chapel or in silence of our beautiful church during the day. It is good to get lost in the silence of prayer because it allows us to focus on a God who has so much to tell us and who calls us to himself.
This year, the parish wants to help all of you in your Lenten journey. We have ordered 1000 copies of the Lenten Booklet compiled by our very own Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. The booklet is comprised of meditations written by one of the Carmelite Sisters and there is a different meditation for every day of Lent. It is a magnificent companion for the next 40 days, and I pray you take advantage of the profound meditations the Sisters have offered. The booklets will be distributed after Sunday Mass today (one per family), and if you want to share this gem with someone you love, there is a digital Lenten Booklet that you can purchase on the Sisters’ website: www.carmelitesistersocd.com/gifts. (Unfortunately, they do not print this Carmelite booklet in Spanish, so I purchased a limited number of Magnificat Lenten Companions in Spanish for our parishioners who do not speak English.)
“Repent and believe in the gospel.” These are the words that we will hear when the ashes are traced upon our heads on Ash Wednesday. Let us take these words to heart and truly turn our backs to sin this Lent and embrace the new life that Christ wants to offer us.
God bless you all,