Today, Wednesday, February 13, marks the beginning of the Lenten Season of 2013, a Lenten Season that shall be etched into the memories of countless Catholic and non-Catholic men and women throughout the world, and which shall take its place in the history books as the Lenten Season during which Pope Benedict XVI made one of the most profound acts of humility ever to have been made by a pope: “stepping down” from his post as the validly elected successor of St. Peter, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ on earth, Roman Pontiff, Occupant of the See of Peter, and Spiritual Father to the world’s approximately one billion Catholic Christians.
Pope Benedict’s resignation, in the eyes of this author, sets before us a tremendous example of selflessness and humility, as we begin our forty-day penance, the purpose of which is to deepen our awareness of our radical dependence on the Divine Mercy of God, merited by Christ, through which God has so freely, knowingly and lovingly brought us into existence, forgiven us our sins (both the original sin and our personal sins), created us in His own image as “persons,” and has bestowed upon us the tremendous and utterly incomprehensible vocation to an eternal participation in His own Divine Life, through, with and in Christ Jesus, as members of His Mystical Body.
It is my earnest prayer for you, reading this entry, that you might take full advantage of the tremendous grace and mercy which is gushing forth from the pierced Heart of Christ, and which is being made available to you in an extraordinary fashion this Lenten Season through the most holy sacraments of Christ’s Church, particularly in the sacraments of penance and holy Eucharist.
Reclaim your Catholic identity and your baptismal inheritance by washing at the fount of Christ’s mercy, made available to you today, Ash Wednesday, in the wonderous sacrament of penance. Do not allow yourself to be deterred on account of having to humble yourself by acknowledging, confessing, and begging pardon for your sins to Christ, Who, on account of the sacrament of Holy Orders, truly acts in the person of the priest. I assure you, your sins, regardless of how numerous, how frequent, or how grave, will not shock the priest…. He’s heard, and likely performed, them all – hopefully, he’s not still performing them!
After having made a thorough confession of your sins and having been absolved by Christ Himself, acting in the person of his validly ordained minister, you will experience a lightness, a freedom – a palpable experience of having had a tremendous weight lifted from you. You will be so happy and grateful that you made the decision (actually, it will not have been you who chose Him, but rather He Who chose you) to avail yourself of the sacrament of God’s Divine Mercy. Then, with a clear, clean conscience, you can deeply participate in the most sacred Liturgy through, with and in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and receive our Lord, truly present in the holy Eucharist. Through this sacrament of His infinite Love, he shall feed and deeply nourish your soul with His own divine life, that you might be ever more perfectly united to Him and to each of your brothers and sisters in Him, both on earth and in eternity, as a member of the glorious communion of saints!
Marian Apostolate Ministries would like to wish you and yours a most blessed, penitential and grace-filled Lenten Season.