Lenten Message from Bishop John

Wednesday 14th February 2018

A break from any routine is a good thing. We need our holidays from work or school. The change is restorative and helpful and then we can settle back into a routine after a rest with new energy and purpose. The Season of Lent does much the same thing for us in terms of our Christian Faith and belief. Lent is a time when we deliberately try to re-focus on what we believe and why. We remind ourselves about what we believe and the trust that we have in our God. Our lives are busy and every day can be so full of chores, decisions, routines and, while we try always to be doing the right thing, sometimes we are lacking that sense of putting our Faith into action in what we do. We can simply be too busy to recognise opportunities and make the best decisions. Lent is an invitation to us to stand back and to deliberately create a bit of time to ourselves to remind ourselves what motivates us and how we make the decisions of everyday. We remind ourselves of what God has done for us and how Jesus came to show us the way to live. For the forty days of Lent each year we try to give three things some extra importance: prayer, fasting and alms-giving. These are all big subjects which we interpret in personal ways.

Prayer: I have never met anyone who said that they were good at prayer and happy with their attempts to prayer. Lent gives us that opportunity to give prayer some time and our prayer can be as easy as simply talking to God about our concerns, our hopes and our needs. Pope Francis says that we pray well even if we simple look at God and let God look at us.

Fasting: Every major World Faith has a place for fasting as a good self-discipline that helps us to focus on our time of reflection and prayer. It can also help us to realise just how much we have, and to be grateful.

Alms-giving: This helps us to be realistic in recognising that there are so many people in our world who are poor and simply do not have the means to live.  We can give something of all that we have to help them. It shows our care for a common good.

Lent can be a helpful time to anyone who wants to step back from the rush of life and make time to consider what we want our lives to be about and how we can be true to ourselves in all that we do.

Stay with Us Lord on Our Journey

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