March 2020 Four County Catholic
Journey to the Foot of the Cross
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In my Lenten message this year, I spoke of the journey of Our Blessed Lord into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. His time in the wilderness, away from everyday distractions, was a necessary preparation for what would become His journey to the Cross on Good Friday.
I pray that your Lenten journey of preparation is well underway and, like Jesus in the desert, you are able to limit your distractions.
Three spiritual pillars that help prepare us during Lent are, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Our Lord cautions that whatever penitential practice we choose to observe this Lent, it must never draw attention to us, rather it should be done for the glory of God. When we pray, He tells us to go to our inner room. When fasting, He instructs us to wash our faces and anoint our heads and when giving alms, we are told to not blow a trumpet.
We do not journey to the foot of the cross to look good or seek praise from others. True piety is loving devotion to God, pleasing Him in all things.
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us overcome selfishness and become more sensitive to the poor and vulnerable. One of the themes of Catholic social teaching is known as the preferential option for the poor. It says that we are to put poor and vulnerable people first.
Our moral responsibility is defined by our faith, our values, the teachings of the Church, and the example of Christ’s love for us. It is our responsibility from a social perspective to pray for and support organizations dedicated to bringing relief to those in need. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option. Not when there are members of our human family residing in the margins. The hungry, the displaced, and the discouraged are all counting on us.
Our sacrifices strengthen our respect for those less fortunate. In our awareness of their need, we are united with them as sisters and brothers in God’s family.
This year’s Annual Catholic Appeal, One Faith One Family, is a wonderful opportunity to express our thanks for the blessings we receive in our lives and to extend ourselves to help those in need to survive and preserve their dignity. By lifting others, we are all lifted.
A generous spirit flows from compassion. At the heart of it, true compassion means to see others as God sees them.
May the Holy Spirit help us grow in this way and live truly compassionate lives.
Sincerely yours in Christ’s love,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich