Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Ash Wednesday leads us into Lent, a time of focus on Jesus Christ - the Way, the Truth and the Life.
At every Mass we hear that through Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is given to God the Father. As creatures we seek to live in communion with God and with each other. Our living in ecclesial communion does depend on our living through Christ because he is the difference that God makes in our lives.
In unity of faith, amid the diversity of our brothers and sisters, we seek to draw nourishment from Jesus, focusing our attention on him so that we can then reach out in life-giving care to others in the world in which we live. Because Lent is a journey to Christ, we seek to share in the Mass, celebrated as the Church intends it, more regularly and with greater devotion.
We continue the effort made last year to keep our churches as places of silence and prayer. I particularly urge our schools to work hard on this aspect when young people are brought to the church, so that a sense of prayer will be developed. In our parishes we can make good use of Eucharistic Adoration, of the Way of the Cross.
Accompanying prayer we seek to dispose our mind and heart through fasting from food and limiting of pleasure, so that our mind will be freer to focus on the God who loves us, inviting us to be instruments of his love.
With hearts open to the love of God and neighbour we review our life in the light of the teachings of the Gospel. By works of love we seek to bring justice to our world.
Pope Benedict mentions in his Lenten Message that this goes beyond mere distributive justice – ensuring that people have the necessity of food, water and medicine, leading us into the concern that Jesus had for a loving outreach, which goes even further. In addition to works of love through Project Compassion and seeking out those in our parish who are lonely or who have spiritual or other needs, we come to see how all-embracing is the invitation which Jesus gives us.
Pope Benedict says: “We understand how faith is altogether different from a natural good feeling obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from what is mine, to give me gratuitously what is his. This happens especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action we enter into the greatest justice, which is that of love.”
I invite you to enter with me generously into our Lenten pilgrimage, as together we seek Christ and carry him humbly and with hope to the world.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.