February 25, 2018 – A View from the Rectory Window


During these forty days of Lent, we are invited to pattern our Lenten observances on the example of Our Lord who spent forty days in the desert.

I recently read the Holy Father’s Lenten message and his words led me to consider just how much our lives are already lived in the desert.  Perhaps unknowingly?

His message drew inspiration from the gospel of Matthew, “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24:12).  Emphasizing transformation in his address, the Pope cited some obstacles that we often encounter in our world today.

He identified false prophets “who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless.”  They lead people to mistake false sources of happiness for real ones.  “How many of God’s children are mesmerized by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness!” he said.  “How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests!”

“How many young people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains!  How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless!” the Pope said.

In addition to deceit, the Pope said lust for wealth is the usual form a cold heart takes.  “More than      anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, ‘the root of all evil’,” he said.  “All this leads to   violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own ‘certainties’: the unborn child, the elderly and  infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbor who does not live up to our expectations,” he said.

The consequences of a cold heart, Pope Francis said, extend to both the earth and to violence.  “The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest,” he said.  “The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration.  The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing his praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death.”

Doesn’t this sound like a desert?  But even in the desert, life blooms.

To combat these evils, the Pope recommended three penitential practices: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.  “By devoting more time to “prayer”, he said, “we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers.”  By giving alms, the Pope said we would be set free from greed and able to “regard our neighbor as a brother or sister.”  Lastly, he claimed that fasting provided us an      opportunity for growth, saying, “it revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.”

My prayer for you and our parish family is that we may embrace these ‘instruments’ of prayer, almsgiving and fasting this Lent in order that the truth of God’s life and love may bloom in us and through us.

Father Pete