Address on Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent
February A.D. 2012
the Bishops, regular clergy, and faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman
Catholic Church, greetings and Apostolic Blessings on this Ash
Wednesday, in the Year of Our Lord 2012. As the Holy Church
throughout the world begins the penitential season of Lent, the hope
and certain knowledge of the coming Paschal Feast must never be put
from our hearts and minds. The Lenten season is a time for conversion
of heart, for conversion is a constant process. We all fail in our
duties and obligations as Christians, and thus are ever in need of
purification, absolution, and conversion. We must never allow
ourselves to become complacent, for it is in that state of
complacency that we stand the greatest chance of failure and decent
into apostasy. It is in that state of complacency that we are most
vulnerable to the assaults of the devil and of the world. We must
always seek to discover our spiritual weaknesses and endeavor to
amend our lives. Truly, conversion is a continual process that
requires our constant attention. Lent, therefore, is one of the
greatest blessings of the liturgical year. Lent provides us with the
opportunity to examine our consciences, our spiritual lives, and our
daily lives, identify weaknesses and problems, and take corrective
action. We are not alone in this, for the Church is there through the
Sacraments and through pastoral service, to guide and support as we
again make ourselves ready to receive the glorious Paschal mysteries.
Lent, daily prayer and meditation are essential to the efforts of
purification, of penance, of mortification to the ways of the world,
and of spiritual growth. Frequent reception of the Sacraments of the
Holy Eucharist and Penance are of utmost importance. In the Holy
Mass, there is, during Lent, a different mass appointed for each and
every day of the season, with distinct readings and prayers. While it
is laudable and pious to participate in the mass every day,
particularly during Lent, there is still much to be gained by
individually reading the appointed propers for the mass for each day
during Lent. It provides an excellent personal guide through the Season.
we begin the Lenten season today, we announce with great joy the
increase in clerical vocations within the Anglican Rite Roman
Catholic Church, including incardination, postulants for Holy Orders,
and religious postulants. It is through these evangelists, both new
and experienced, that the message of our Lord and Savior will be
spread throughout the world. Indeed, the world is always in great
need of the message of Christ, but now even more so in this time of
extensive worldwide strife. Wars and oppression, economic turmoil,
and legislation of questionable morality threaten the sanctity of
life, human dignity, and religious freedom. Communists and socialists
in various governments in the world seek to impose a form of material
equality that can only come at the expense of personal freedom.
Without personal freedom, religious freedom necessarily suffers, and
the cost to an individual's spiritual development is great.
Attacks on freedom often come in the form of restriction of
information, such as legislation aimed at restricting and censoring
the internet, largely over financial concerns of certain special
interest groups. As wrong as such censorship certainly is, the
freedom of the internet comes with tremendous responsibility for
proper use. The internet may be used as a tool for good or evil.
People may use the internet to enrich their lives, grow spiritually,
help other people, and make the world a better place. Alternatively,
people may use the internet to do injury to others, spread
detrimental or defamatory messages with virtual impunity, and
generally harm themselves in the process of their own actions.
Freedom always comes with responsibility, for true freedom is not
doing what we want to do with reckless abandon, but rather is being
free and able to do those things we should do. Abuse of freedom is
the byproduct of a secular society.
a perhaps unprecedented way, Christ's Church is under great threat.
Now in the United States it is being made more and more the case that
following the doctrine and discipline of the Church could have
serious legal consequences. Our society is increasingly being
secularized, and this makes acts and policies of the government
against the Church and the Christian faithful even easier to carry
out and impose. In some settings, Christian clergy are being told by
the government what they can and cannot say in their prayers. In some
cases, Christians are being put in the position of having to choose
between their consciences and being compliant with the law. Perhaps
it is the plan of secularists to replace services provided by the
Church with services controlled by the government.
Yet, the same Supreme Court that has consistently opposed public
prayer, as particularly public Christian prayer, recently upheld the
sovereignty of the Church. While this was a great moment for
religious freedom, the skies still remain dark. The world seems
determined to suppress or even remove the Christian Faith and the
Christian way of life. The easiest way to allow this to happen is to
do nothing about it. Christian must stand up in peaceful opposition
to threats against the Faith and the rights of all people. During the
Lenten Season, let us all pray daily for the true conversion of all
secularists who seek the destruction of the Church from the outside
and for the true conversion of all modernists and liberals within the
Church who seek destruction of the Church from the inside. Let us all
constantly seek the intercession of the Saints for the preservation
of religious freedom and the end of nefarious attacks against
Christ's Holy Church and all the faithful in Christ throughout the world.
now, let us all remember again the purpose of Lent and resolve to
prepare ourselves as much as we can in our human frailty to be ready
for the joys of the coming Paschal mysteries. Let us make ourselves
ready to go up to Jerusalem with Christ and join ourselves completely
to his Passion, his ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, and his glorious resurrection.
Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Blessed
Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles
Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, may Almighty God have mercy on
you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. R. Amen.
Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, + absolution, and
remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an
always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and
consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works.
the Blessing of Almighty God, + Father, + Son, and Holy + Ghost, be
upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.
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