It is that time in the Church when we get ready for Lent, which begins on February 22, 2023. In preparation for this, I would like to share with you some words from Pope Francis, as published in his First Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel):
The joy of the Gospel; fills the heart and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept this offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. I invite you, at this very moment, to renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least openness to letting him encounter you; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.
Somewhat different then the gloom and doom of past Lents, wouldn’t you say?
Let us be joyful and change our lives during this season! What if you decided to make lemonade from the lemons you may receive during the forty days of Lent? For the moment, consider the following: Am I a joyful witness as I go about my daily tasks? Or do I appear as if I have been baptized in lemon juice?
Being Joyful is one of the ‘BE-Attitudes’ that Pope Francis speaks about. Here they are in total: Be Joyful, Be Missionary, Be Merciful, Be Bridge Builders, Be Bold and Creative, Be Witnesses, Be Patient and Persevere.
That is a lot to think about as you get ready for Lent, but perhaps if you consider each these just one at a time, you’ll find that you aren’t thinking about what you are giving up, but rather who you are becoming!
Till next week,