Dear Parish Family:
As remarkable as it seems, the holy season of Lent is just around the corner. Lent traditionally brings us increased focus on our relationship with God. Traditionally the Church speaks about an increase of "prayer, fasting and almsgiving," as means to allowing God's grace to transform us.
We cannot make ourselves holy. Rather, surrendering to God wherever we recognize His promptings puts on the road to holiness. Prayer is counseled by all the great saints as the avenue to holiness. Yet, for many people the idea of prayer is mysterious and off putting. After saying some words of thanksgiving and asking God for what we need is where prayer stops. It is of course very important to thank God for His gifts, protection and care. Gratitude is the basis of every prayer. The scripture reminds us over and again that God wants to hear our petitions. It is good and right to ask Him even for what we may think is small and insignificant things. Yet, the real intimacy that we yearn for is much deeper. St. Augustine reminded us so long ago that "You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts a re restless until they rest in thee." How do we grow in our desire for that union?
It should be comforting for us to know that we are not left to search for God in the abstract. St. Theresa of Avila, the great doctor of prayer and woman mystic, taught that the surest and safest way to God's heart was through the humanity of Jesus. When we prayer with images from Jesus life, death and resurrection we contact the Word made flesh for us. Jesus promised to remain with us until the end of time (Mt. 26), and we believe that He is with us substantially in the Holy Eucharist, the gift He left the Church at His last supper.
During this season of Lent I want to call our whole parish to draw closer to the source of all strength: the heart of Jesus. He lives in our midst in the Blessed Sacrament and to spend time in His presence will indeed change us.
Beginning the first week of Lent our parish will begin offering all day Adoration of the Eucharist in the chapel. We have Ad oration already every Friday, however now we will extend that opportunity each week day after the 9:00 am Mass and conclude at 7:00 p m, Monday through Friday. On Friday's we will still have Benediction of the Eucharist at 7:30 pm. I am convinced that the path way to greater and deeper holiness for our parish is that more and more souls catch fire to God's love. A wonderful and authentic way to do it is to come and pray before Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I urge during the days of Lent to increase your prayer; prayer of the heart. Prayer spent in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. There will be prayer guides available to assist us on the table outside the Chapel.
The more that our hearts inflame with love for Christ, then charity and mercy will flow from us as we encounter family, co workers, neighbors, and all who we meet. In this Year of Mercy, let our hearts first be touched by Christ.
In Jesus Heart,
Father Tim Christy