SECOND RITE OF RECONCILIATION CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE PASSIONIST MONASTERY,
TEMPLESTOWE, ON TUESDAY, 10TH MARCH 2015 AT 2.00
This sacred time of reflection brings us in all our fragility to know first the mercy and compassionate love of our God, who is gracious and forgiving. In his Lenten message Pope Francis identifies indifference as a principal quality of those who are healthy and self-sufficient. Indifference exists in us when we are satisfied with our life and lifestyle and are hesitant to undertake the risk of exposing our lives to the Lord because he might ask of us something which we had not expected or for which we were not prepared.
When we lay aside indifference we allow the Lord to touch us in prayer, to see ourselves as he and others see us and to go out with warmth and compassion to our brothers and sisters.
Often we can so concentrate on our own timetable, lifestyle and parish that we do not allow this holy season to do its work. Above all, Lent is for conversion of heart, turning our mind and our life towards the love and suffering and compassion of Christ that makes us constant in his life and in the effort to follow him, so that with new hope and new attitude we look on the others in our parish and community in a new light.
Above all, our Lenten effort consists in seeing God as he is and allowing him to see into our soul, in allowing ourselves to see others as God does and to have a heart of compassion and readiness to be aware of them and their need without self-seeking or oppression.
Lent is a time of focus. It is a time of allowing the light of God to shine in our lives and to pierce our indifference to others so that we allow the light of God to shine through us. After all everything we have is something we have received. We are nothing of our own were we not to be given it by God. Our most prized gifts of character, our possessions and interests are valueless unless we bring the strong heart of God and his compassion to bear in our words and deeds in these sacred days.
As we see the Lord advancing with courage to the passion from which he shrank with horror, yet illuminated by his burning love for his Father, so too let us go forward to the challenges that are in our lives knowing that only with and in the Lord can we see them as part of God’s plan for us, albeit unexpected; a strong heart, a compassionate heart, a heart open to receive from God, to give to others what God has revealed to us who love him.
This is the mystery and the paradox of our lives and an illustration of the capacity of God to fill completely our thirst for human love and enable us to give it to others in such a way that they will grow in holiness and grace. By conversion and turning to God, may we lay aside indifference and be fully aware of the needs of those around about us which through our priesthood and faith in God we can fulfil.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.