Posted by: sisterbernice | March 11, 2011

Lent 2011-Friday #1

I am in the countdown toward the end of this blog.  Although I will keep the blog up, after Easter I will no longer make weekly entries.  This whole effort has been a response to the Pope’s call for the Church and its members to do the following (from his letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland)

The Pope wrote

“I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.

At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.”

I’m an American Irish Catholic who took this to heart because I believe in the power of prayer and the spiritual dimension of the problem and its solution.  I can’t help but wonder if the Irish Church put any of this into practice.  It would be understandable if people didn’t.  They are disillusioned.  Some blame the Pope and think he is one of the bishops who did nothing.  I disagree with that analysis.  I think he has sacrificed himself in this, it has been his Calvary.  He is not omnipresent or omniscient, he is all too human but his faith does lead us to Christ.  But we must go there – he cannot do the heavy lifting no matter how many people try to martyr him about this.

But he has shown us the way, if we believe.

I haven’t always been as fervent as I should be in this endeavor but the Lord knows and understands me and my flaws.  I ask him during Lent 2011 to renew the Church but also to heal the victims and their families.  Here is what the Pope said in his letter to the victims – he does say the word “sorry” which so many people say he has not or will not.

“6. To the victims of abuse and their families

You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.

Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children, I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace.”

Lent is a time to prepare for Easter by remembering the Lords suffering and sacrifice.  It is a time when we recognize our own sinfulness and ask for forgiveness.  During this Lent, let us remember the Lord’s suffering, how he is near, how he understands.  Let us forgive our brother and sister and bring him into our hearts and allow his mercy to heal us.

Todays readings can be found here:

The rosary can be found here:

I continue to do the novena and pray.


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