March 7, 2019
Bishop Barres’ Lenten Letter 2019
As we begin our prayer, fasting and almsgiving for the needs of the poor and the suffering of the world in this Lenten season 2019, we recommit ourselves to repentance, conversion and holiness individually and as a Church. We remember in a focused way this Lent the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and all forms of abuse and we pray for the purification, reform and sanctification of the Church.
In Rejoice and Be Glad, Pope Francis says:
“Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. (32)…He [The Lord] wants us to be saints
and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence. (1)…Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church. (9)…the Church needs passionate missionaries, enthusiastic about sharing true life. The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity.” (138)
One of the ways we commit ourselves to this radiant, natural and humble holiness is by expanding the breadth and depth of our daily engagement with the inspired Sacred Scriptures. We are called to live the words of Psalm 119: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
The saints of every decade and century inspire us since “the most profound interpretation of Scripture comes precisely from those who let themselves be shaped by the word of God through listening, reading, and assiduous meditation.” (Pope Benedict XVI, The Word of the Lord 48)
Could each one of us individually and together, united in communion as a Church, take one step with the Holy Spirit this Lent to deepen our love for the inspired Sacred Scriptures? In his Apostolic Exhortation The Word of the Lord (2010), Pope Benedict XVI gives us an excellent process of praying individual biblical passages, a process of lectio divina or sacred reading of the text that includes reading, meditating, praying, contemplating and living the biblical text. We need to believe with confidence and a spirit of adventure that the Holy Spirit is present in the text and that the Holy Spirit’s tongues of flame are connecting the text to our souls transforming us in mysterious and profound ways.