Bishop Reminds Faithful to Use Lent to Build Relationship with God

Lent 2024 has started following Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14 where Catholics around the world observe 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

Although this year’s Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day, a day on which Bishop Alfred Schlert said may not be the most convenient, Catholics are required to fast if they are between ages18 and 59, on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

At the 12:15 p.m. Mass on Ash Wednesday at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown, Bishop Schlert reminded those attending that the season of Lent, at first glance, can seem like a long and inconvenient time.

“Forty days can seem like it can almost be interminable,” the Bishop reminded the well-attended Mass. “Now is the very acceptable time for us [during Lent]. It is good for us.”

Bishop Schlert reminded the congregation that, although 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving may not be overly appealing, it is an opportunity to receive God’s grace. “These are the moments we can really feel the loving embrace of our Lord.”

Bishop Schlert continued on to say that this is a time, in a profound way, for Catholics to feel God and to get to know Him, and His mercy, better. “Pope Francis says that God never tires of forgiving us. We are the ones who tire of seeking His mercy.”

As Bishop Schlert stated, Lent is a time for all Catholics to seek God’s mercy through reconciliation during this penitential season leading into Easter. This is the season to peel away those things that keep us from God, the Bishop said.

He continued by breaking down the three pillars of Lent. “When we pray, we are brought into conversation with [God]. When we fast, we take away things that we can legitimately have, so that it can be filled instead, not with those pleasurable things but with the real loving presence of God … and when we do good works, we are sharing the mercy that we have already received.”

The Bishop ended his Ash Wednesday homily by reminding all to seek the Lord’s mercy this Lenten season and to use these tools to build our relationship with Christ.


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