February 2007 - District Superior's Letter
Poor human nature dreads Lent but the grace of God moves us to generosity. Prayer, sacifice and penance are increased during Lent; they are means towards the end of eternal happiness with God.
Ah! Finally Lent is here!
Already we are entering into the time of Lent, but would it not be necessary for us to say rather “finally”? It is certainly true that human nature, our poor fallen nature, is always reluctant to enter into this time of prayer and penance. Nevertheless the supernatural, the grace of God, and the hope for heaven draw us to enter therein with generosity.
Let us pray more during Lent
In fact, Lent is a moment when the Church invites us, first of all, to be more generous in our prayers. Therefore for us it is a question of making sure to devote, in a most special way, a little more time to prayer, to be more attentive at prayer so that we may raise up our souls to God in a greater way. Would not one means to achieve this be to endeavor to assist more often at Mass, the prayer par excellence? Why not, when possible, assist there in a daily manner and thus offer each day to the Good Lord our hearts and our souls?
Lent is a time of sacrifice and penance
Lent is also a time of sacrifices, of penances. These words ring sorely in our modern ears. Quite the contrary, people speak to us about searching for the comforts in life, of avoiding all suffering, all pain, in other words, of refraining from sacrifice. But our Lord Jesus Christ, very often, reminds us in the gospels of the necessity to “do penance”. He, moreover, has shown us the supreme example in offering Himself on the cross for the redemption of our sins.
The Church Herself imposes upon us this spirit of renouncement, even if the laws of fast and abstinence have been greatly mitigated. Hence it is not merely the letter of the law, the few days of fast or abstinence, that must be respected, but it is a whole state of mind in which we must plunge ourselves: a mind that is detached from the earth and that draws us towards heaven; a disposition of soul that drives us away from the spirit of this world, from the easiness and the pleasures of the earth, and that brings us closer to God, to heaven, and to the saints.
Heaven is the goal and sacrifice and penance are means towards that goal
Permit me to insist on this point: we live for heaven, we have been created for heaven and heaven is obtained through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is gained through our “participation in the sufferings of Christ,” as Saint Paul says. Let us recall, for example, that in former times such recreations as the theatre and many others were forbidden during Lent. Thus it is not merely an abstinence in the food but also in such recreations as the cinema, the videos, to cite only a few examples, that we must impose upon ourselves in order to detach ourselves from them a little more.
If this time of Lent is a time of prayer and of penance, it is also that of almsgiving. Let us be generous during this time, so that our Lord will bless us, bestow His abundant graces and conduct us all to heaven.
Aside from that, let us pray in a very special way for our Canadian seminarians at Winona and Econe, and in particular for the four of them who have received the cassock this past 2nd of February in Winona. May our prayers be with them.
I assure you of my priestly devotedness and I send you my blessing.
Father Arnaud Rostand
District Superior of Canada