The liturgical season of Lent will begin Wednesday, March 6. To commemorate this new season, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has recently issued his 2019 Lenten Reflection and instructions to his flock on the faithful observance of Lent.
In his message, Bishop O’Connell shares how Lent is not just a time for us to “give up” things, but also a time to simply “give.”
That is a strong motivation to give Lent and the growth in holiness it offers our best shot. Yes, “giving up” something and making sacrifices are an important part of the Lenten experience in the Church but if they don’t lead us to deeper holiness, a closer, life-altering identification with Jesus Christ and his Gospel , they are empty gestures. It’s like going on a diet for a while. We’ll lose some weight for sure but if we don’t make up our minds to change our eating behaviors or if we lose our motivation, the weight will only return and more. Lent and its sacrifices should connect us on a deeper level with the Lord Jesus Christ, should lead us in a more profound way to a closer identification with him who suffered and died on the cross for us. Giving up. Sacrifice. Every individual Catholic has to decide this Lent “what MORE can I do, can I give up for him?” Lent should help us say, “With Christ, I am nailed to the cross. And the life I live is no longer my own. It is the life of Christ who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2: 19-20).”The Season of Lent: A Time for ‘Both/And’, Feb. 21, 2019
And the other part of the Lenten “both/and” equation — giving something — needs to be addressed. As with sacrifice and penance, our Lenten “giving” must lead us to holiness in Jesus Christ. He is the reason why we give. It is his face we see in the face of others. “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me (Matthew 25: 40).”
Bishop O’Connell continues his message by sharing ways that we can “give” during lent. Read his suggestions along with the full message from Bishop O’Connell, by clicking here.
Bishop O’Connell has also issued guidelines for Lent to the Diocesan community which identifies the following:
- The days of FASTING (only one full meal) and ABSTINENCE (no meat) are Ash Wednesday, March 6, and Good Friday, April 19. No dispensations are granted on these solemn days except for reason of sickness or those provided in Canon Law.
- All other Fridays of Lent are days of ABSTINENCE (no meat).