Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
How has your Lenten journey been? Have you entered fully into the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving?
So often we make great resolutions on Ash Wednesday, only to see that we have not done as well as we had hoped as we approach the end of the season. That’s OK if … something meaningful has occurred during the season, if we have had an encounter with Christ. Allow me to explain: The purpose of Lent is not to achieve success in our Lenten practices, but to allow those practices, successful or not, to influence some change in our lives — in a sense to rise to a newness of life at Easter as we celebrate the resurrection: newness of life in Jesus and newness of life in ourselves.
Has our increased prayer life during Lent led to a deeper appreciation of the closeness of the Lord in our lives? Do we appreciate conversation with the Lord just a bit more? Have our scripture readings in Lent led to a new appreciation of the Bible? Has our self-denial (fasting) in whatever form we have practiced it led to a new appreciation of the truly important aspects of our lives: family, friendships, worship, working for justice and peace, etc.?
Has our outreach to the poor (almsgiving) led us to a new appreciation of the plight of the poor — the homeless, the unemployed, the hungry, and the refugee?
These are the goals of Lent and this is also what we celebrate in conjunction with the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Just as we are called “to die with Christ” in our Lenten practices, we are called to “rise with Christ” to a newness of life at Easter. The 50 days of the Easter season should be a celebration of new life and a prelude to the hopefully permanent change that has occurred in our lives.
May this Easter be a beautiful celebration of new life. Blessings to all during the Easter season.
In the Risen Lord,
Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston