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 | Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS Bishop of Charleston

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ - March 2024

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This March, we not only journey through much of the season of Lent, but we also celebrate Easter on the last day of the month. As we know that in Lent we are meant to pray, fast and give alms, I wanted to offer a short reflection on the first pillar: prayer.

St. John Damascene defines prayer as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” Prayer is where we speak to our Creator who knows all the desires and concerns of our heart. In human relationships, when we love someone, we will communicate with the other and learn to know him or her. When we set aside time for prayer, we open ourselves up to hear the voice of the person who knows us best and reveals himself to us — not in the earthquake nor in the fire, but in the light and silent sound (1 Kgs 19:12).

Though the Lord is infinitely powerful and great, he still waits for us in anticipation to reach out to him, to share with him the burdens and joys of our day. When we find ourselves alone or in distress, we can always rely on the presence of God to hear and console us. We can glimpse his perfect plan for each one of us by opening our hearts to hear his guiding voice.

Generally, there are four types of prayer. The first is adoration, where we gaze at our Lord in awe and meditate on his sacred mysteries. The second, contrition, is where we recognize our human frailty and ask God for his forgiveness. The third, thanksgiving, is where we give thanks to God for every good thing he has bestowed upon us. The final form is supplication (or petition), where we ask God for what we need in our lives.

I encourage you, as you fast and offer penance as Christ did in the desert, to rely on the power of prayer. In the words of St. Paul to the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31).

May the Lord Jesus Christ strengthen and accompany you this Lent, and joined in prayer, let us adore him and give thanks for our risen Savior King.

In Christ’s love,

Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS

Bishop of Charleston