Dear Staff, Students, Parents and Guardians of the St. Jean de Brebeuf CSS community: Wednesday February 17 is our Ash Wednesday Virtual Prayer Service . Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. United with the Universal Church, and in our Churches, blessed ashes are sprinkled with the words, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”, reminding us about our mortality, the need to repent and convert to the Lord Jesus Christ, follow His teachings and grow in gift of faith. We thank God that the Churches reopen this Ash Wednesday.
Lent is a penitential season of 40 days of spiritual preparation for Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We are invited to get closer to God through our participation in the Sacraments. We acknowledge our sins and ask God for forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which heals and brings people back to God’s grace. God is always ready to forgive our sins, but we must ask for His forgiveness by confessing our sins, being sorry for them, and with God’s grace, converting. We enrich our relationship with God by prayer and receiving the Body of Christ. The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, and the memorial of Jesus’ Suffering, Death and Resurrection (The Paschal Mystery). At mass, we give thanks for God’s great love for humanity. Through the Paschal Mystery, all are saved. Jesus gives all the gift of eternal life. In addition to Sunday Mass, we can attend weekday masses during Lent, or watch them on tv. We could also spend some time in prayer by visiting Jesus in our parishes for Eucharistic Adoration. This time adoring Jesus gives us joy and the strength to do God’s will. Prayer strengthens our relationship with God. Praying the Stations of the Cross, which mediate on Jesus’ Suffering and Death, and Reciting the Holy Rosary are powerful Christocentric and Marian prayers that cultivate virtue and deepen one’s relationship with Jesus through Mary. Prayer keeps us close to God, and helps us resist temptation. We can talk to Jesus daily, and meditate on His Word by reading Sacred Scripture. The Catholic Church also recommends fasting and performing works of charity. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence from meat. Fasting is defined as one meal and two small meals for people of good health between 18 and 59. Those age 14 and older can abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays of Lent. Fasting teaches us that in renouncing material possessions, using our will power to overcome our passions, and focusing on our spiritual life with greater intensity, we become free to do God’s will. The self-denial and sacrifices of Lent can be shared in solidarity with those in need, through the Share Lent Campaign.
Lent reminds us to return to Jesus with our hearts. Opening our hearts to Jesus and observing our Lenten devotions and practices will ensure that we experience the joy and hope of the sacred mysteries of the Easter Triduum. (3 days of spiritual preparation for Easter, Holy Thursday-Jesus’ Last Supper, Good Friday-Jesus’ Death, Holy Saturday- Easter Vigil-Jesus-Resurrection)