| By Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ – February 2024

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 

This year, we are in Cycle B of the liturgical calendar, and we will be reading through the Gospel of Mark. We are approaching the Lenten season, beginning with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14 — the same day that many will be thinking about what to give their loved ones for Valentine’s Day. However, us Catholics will be celebrating too, but in the best way: giving our hearts to the one who gave up his life for our salvation out of deep love for us and obedience to the Father.

In the modern world, we are accustomed to receiving everything instantly. Most of us don’t have the experience of hardship to achieve what we need like our ancestors did. It is a blessing, but it presents a clear danger — it can cause us to forget about or question the role of self-denial. Our society teaches us that if we feel good, we must be doing the right thing. But Christ’s earthly ministry revealed an uncomfortable truth: we need to embrace sacrifice every day if we truly want to love.

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians, “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God …” (5:1-2). The small sacrifices we make during Lent become especially meritorious when we are tempted to give up, when we don’t feel like sacrificing. 

Be encouraged in these moments, my brothers and sisters, that Christ, the perfect Son of God, also experienced the same temptations. When we persevere, we are telling the Lord — from the depths of our hearts — that we love him and want to be with him in and for eternity. Temptation is passing, our life is short, but our true home in God’s presence endures forever.

We have entered the second phase of the Eucharistic Revival in parishes. Let each one of us continue to learn everything we need to know regarding this mystery, and above all, to live as those who are saved by the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Be assured of my prayers for you in this Lenten season, that you might experience the graces sufficient to prepare for the suffering, death and resurrection of our sacrificial king.

In Christ’s love, 

Most Rev. Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS 

Bishop of Charleston