A Season of Repentance and Grace
My brothers and sisters, Jesus’ message to us and to the world during the Lenten season is: “Repent, turn away from sin, seek forgiveness and be faithful to the gospel.” In the face of sin, Jesus’ central message was and continues to be one of conversion.
We have to remind ourselves that no matter where we are in our life there exists a need for ongoing conversion. Despite our strengths, we have weaknesses. And regarding these weaknesses the Scripture says that unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. Put more positively, conversion is the process by which the life of Jesus Christ becomes more and more transparent in us.
What does this conversion require? It requires:
First of all, a continual openness to God’s Spirit who is leading us to a deeper knowledge and experience of Christ and, secondly, the insight to see God’s grace working in our lives, to trust it, realize our need for it, and to accommodate ourselves to it.
Why does Jesus continue to call each of us to conversion? He calls us even now to conversion because the darkness of sin still has hold over us. Nevertheless, we profess a faith that admits that the reality of Christ is the anecdote to sin. Why? Because Christ is Lord over sin.
I’m sure you would admit that there are areas in our lives that the Lord still must touch and heal. Some of these areas we are aware of, some remain, as yet, hidden from our consciousness and understanding. If we desire conversion, and pray for it, there is no sin that can ultimately enslave us forever. It’s never too late to change, never too late to grow more in the image of Christ. The cost of discipleship involves a desire for conversion. To experience it is to become freer, more human and more dedicated to make this world a better place.
Lent, at its core, is a season of grace, the grace that moves us to acknowledge our need for forgiveness and grow closer in our relationship with the Lord Jesus and one another. It is also a time to pray for the grace to examine our call to charity and to give more of ourselves in outreach to others always drawing strength and nourishment from the grace of the Lord in the Eucharist.
Fr. Charles O’Connor, OFM
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Friar Lenten Reflections
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