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Bishop William’s Message for Lent 2016

Lenten Message 2016

The Face of God is Mercy – Pope Francis.

“The Face of God is mercy” – this is the title of Pope Francis’ recent reflections on mercy. It is a disarmingly simple and clear image by which to understand the experience of mercy which he has made the focus of the spiritual renewal of the Church in 2016.

Our past experience of the Church’s ministry in this regard was often harsh and judgemental. It had the effect of people turning away from opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation. Many have done so unfortunately on the basis of one bad and humiliating encounter.

Sin and failure are part of the experience of life. We know it damages us and those close and indeed far from us. However, sadly many of us are slow to admit our sinfulness and failure. This is a kind of spiritual laziness which stunts our chance to find serenity and healing of mind and spirit.

The Year of Mercy for that reason is a wonderful gift and opportunity for young and old to avail of the many occasions planned for this year of renewal. Families can be transformed by it. Older people can experience a new respect for their wisdom and insight. Young people can live with a new joy in their hearts when they learn that “it is in giving we receive”.

In Jesus we come to know the features of the face of God. When we come to him in prayer with hearts that are open and spirits that are humble a great wellspring of grace and goodness pours into our lives. This spiritual treasure is a God-given antidote to the negativity and arrogance that can invade our thinking about life.

To help us in this spiritual adventure the Diocese has published a booklet that offers resources to young and old especially families in rebuilding your shared faith in the Lord Jesus and your participation in the life of your parishes. I invite you to acquire a copy of it and use it as it suits your need.

Wishing you every grace and blessing for this Lent

+ Wm. Crean

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