lent

Editorial | Seek to mimic God’s love in Lent

When ashes are placed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross, it's a reminder of several things.

It's a call to repentance: a physical sign that we're sinners in need of forgiveness, which is how the prophets used it in the Old Testament. It also reminds us that God created us from the earth and when we die, we will return to it.

Lenten Planner: Reflection, repentance and renewed fervor

Lenten Planner

Lent is a season of reflection, penance, fasting and service as we await the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ at Easter.

"Lent is a time for reflection and repentance, a time to pray with renewed fervor for ourselves, our families and the Church," Archbishop Robert Carlson wrote in a letter for the Lenten season. "During this holy season let's also pray for the transformation of the world we live in. Through the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, may we all be agents of the Father's mercy!"

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | This Lent, wake to the challenge of God's Word

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

Welcome to the growing season of the Church's liturgical year. Other seasons have their beauty, but Lent challenges us to take more seriously our life with Christ and open our hearts to His transforming power. This means allowing Christ to challenge us in the depths of our being. There are places deep within us that need His special attention. This Lent, He will challenge the areas that are crying out to God for freedom and deliverance -- a challenge to wake to the transforming power of His word.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Fasting is a wake-up call to our habits

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

As Lent gets underway, people sometimes wonder: Why do we fast? I'd like to propose some answers to that question in the next two articles.

On the simplest level, we fast because the Church asks us to. Simple obedience is a great reason to start fasting, and a great reason to continue to fast, and a great support when we're tempted to give up on fasting.

Though it's a good place to start, it would be sad if our understanding and practice of fasting stopped there.

On a deeper level, we fast as a wake-up call to our bad habits, and a wake-up call to good habits.

BEFORE THE CROSS | ‘Spring training’ for our relationship with God

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice, left, and Archbishop Robert J. Carlson stood along the fence outside of Planned Parenthood as they prayed for an end to abortion. About 1,000 Generation Life youths prayed at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis before marching in pilgrimage to pray at Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Boulevard.

As we begin February, more people probably are thinking about spring training than about Lent. But it's time to think about both, and it's a good idea to think about them together.

In one sense, "spring training" is misnomer: Training doesn't begin then, tryouts do. If a player hasn't been training in the offseason, he'll be unprepared for spring training and probably won't make the most of it.

Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, is similar. If we don't think about Lent before Ash Wednesday, then we'll be unprepared and probably won't make the most of it.

Pilgrimage through Holy Week

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated Easter Vigil Mass last year at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The liturgy began outside of the cathedral where an Easter fire was lit and the new paschal candle is blessed for the forthcoming year.

Pope Francis says Holy Week "is not primarily about pain and death, but about love and the gift of self that gives life."

Holy Week is a call to follow Jesus more closely, he said, which means going with Jesus "to the margins of existence, making the first move toward our brothers and sisters, especially those who are farthest away, those who are forgotten, those who have the greatest need for understanding, consolation and help," he explains.

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