The special period of Lent is a particular time of encounter with the Lord in our process of spiritual renewal and rootedness in Christ and the message of the Gospel. Although it is an annually recurrent period, no Lent and Lenten experiences are the same, and each Lenten encounter is unique.
XXVI General Chapter offers us essential guidance in living through this year’s Lenten season in a way that will enhance our rootedness in Christ. This is, in fact, one of the significant needs for our world and missions today. The world is still struggling to free itself from the deadly clutches of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. We are also faced with some other viruses such as the continued persecutions of Christians in some parts of the world, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, hunger, issues dealing with immigrants, and many others.
In the face of all these, we need to be rooted in Christ by our closeness to God in prayer. We have recourse to prayer because it is our source of strength. We may not have the capacity to resolve all the issues we encounter in the missions. Still, prayer, especially when it is done together, gives us the courage to go forth as brothers, bearing with others their crosses.
The word of God is our invaluable source of continuous formation (QC 75). Embracing the word of God roots us deeper in the faith, in communal and pastoral experiences, and in our hope for the salvation of humanity. We should never lose sight of our commitment to having a biblical focus on all our pastoral (and communal) activities (QC 74). This will go a long way to give us a solid biblical preparation that will characterize us as missionaries (QC 72a).
While we cannot but be aware of the situations in our world, lent gives us the time to deepen our awareness of the Lord who is always with us like he did with his disciples. Such awareness of the Lord’s presence is and should be, for every Claretian, a part of our rootedness in Christ. We must also take care to acknowledge the presence of our brothers in the mission and all with whom we share missions. Through our experiences with them, the Lord strengthens us and forms us into better missionaries.
This season is unique. Let us make good use of it to deepen the roots of our faith in Christ our Lord so we may never waver amidst the turbulent winds of our human frailty.