Lent is a special time of the year in our Catholic faith. We fast and pray in an attitude of constant renewal, remembering the sacrifices Jesus made for us.
Pope Francis reminds all of us to share love, kindness, and generosity in 2016. He has called for a “Holy Year for Mercy”, and what better time of the year to follow Pope Francis’ guidance than Lent?
“Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of His love to transform our lives; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.” ~ Pope Francis
Some people think of Lent as a time to give up things. They sacrifice chocolate or something else they enjoy to honor Christ’s time in the desert and His suffering on the cross.
We can also give up something that gets in our way of living our best lives in God. Perhaps we complain, gossip, or criticize? Finding a bad habit that hurts your relationship with God and giving that up would be a wonderful way to follow Pope Francis’ “Year for Mercy”!
Lent is also a time of giving. We give of ourselves to others who are less fortunate. Sometimes it’s like our Deacon Joe giving heavy socks and warm food to homeless people on a cold winter night. Sometimes we give by listening to a friend who needs to talk, or perhaps just holding that friend’s hand.
There are so many ways we can share of ourselves and make other people’s lives better. How can you live the examples Jesus, Pope Francis, and Saint Ann have shared with us?
I would appreciate it if you would consider giving to Saint Ann’s Shrine this Lenten season too. Your support enables the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to share God’s mercy with others. Your partnership with us helps bring Jesus to so many people.
Sometimes we are lucky to receive mercy. As some of you know, I haven’t been moving around very well lately and have been residing at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio (about 30 minutes from Saint Ann’s Shrine) with others of my religious congregation. I will still be involved with the Shrine, but Fr. Roger Bourgeois is helping me by celebrating the Shrine Mass and taking on the role of Chaplain of Saint Ann’s Shrine. He will also be helping me write letters to you from time to time. Please join me in thanking him and letting him know we appreciate his efforts.
Giving and giving things up at Lent is a lesson we can live all year round. It feels good to give up negative habits. Letting God’s love flow through our hearts when we give to others feels good too. Let’s live this “Year for Mercy” in all aspects of our lives.
With love in Christ,
Fr. Michael P. Noreika, SSS
Spiritual Director, Saint Ann’s Shrine
P.S. Please join me in thanking Fr. Roger Bourgeois for his efforts at Saint Ann’s Shrine!