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  • Christopher Williams

Pastoral Letter for Lent from Fr. Jeff

And so we begin the great journey though Lent to Holy Week and Easter.



As those of you who were there will recall, on Ash Wednesday you were signed with ash on your forehead as I said, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." Lent is, in a sense, a metaphor for our lives. We are born out of the minutest of particles and we make our way from our mother's womb into the wonder of the world, through a multitude of various experiences toward the inevitability of death when I am told, we again become the minutest of particles. But, for a person of faith, death leads to another birth from the womb of this world to a new experience of living.


We embark upon Lent as we embark upon life, starting no doubt with good intentions and aspirations, soon to be challenged by temptations, not unlike Jesus' time in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. But because He endured such an experience, we can know that He is with us every stumbling and dancing step of our way, even into the darkness of death and to what is beyond.


As on any journey, when we pack we take only what is necessary for the journey. Anything which is an encumbrance or superfluous can be shed. In this sense we are all called in Lent to be stripped of those burdens which prevent our progress, be they possessions, distracting habits or unhelpful relationships.


When we consider what to give up during Lent, we may well wish to express this in some material form: biscuits, cake, plastic packaging, unnecessary travelling by air or car, or even by giving up wine! And it is good to discipline our bodies, they are indulged for so much of the time. But essentially what we are invited to do is to consider afresh what is of real and lasting importance in our lives, as some of us did in a very real way during the early days of the Covid lockdown, and allow ourselves to be stripped of all save those things which assist us on our journey. A journey which embraces the pleasures and privilege of living, a journey during which we can make strong and sustaining relationships with others, a journey where hopefully we will improve the lives of others on our way and a journey which will take us deeper into the heart of God where we will know the thrill of being truly alive.


I rejoice and give thanks for the fact that you and I are on this journey together: to encourage and support one another, to help prompt each other through our transitions and to remind each other that the Lord is drawing us ever closer to Himself and to each other, through all the experiences, challenges and opportunities of this life, even through the darkness of death, into the wonders of what He has in store for us in His Resurrection Kingdom.


With blessings for your journey through Lent this year, and with my prayers and best wishes,


Jeff

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