March 2022 Four County Catholic
You Are the Light of the World
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Holy Season of Lent invites us to extend ourselves in preparation for Easter through prayer, fasting, and charity – The Three Pillars of Lent.
These pillars, or practices, help us contemplate God’s overwhelming mercy as we journey to the cross. Our 40 days of reflection allow for us the time we need to patiently prepare for the ultimate act of divine love, sacrifice, and mercy as Jesus laid down his life for our salvation.
This opportunity to be repentant and to think and act compassionately toward each other very often takes us to a place of discomfort.
In my February column, I shared that, “Love, willing the good of the other, is sacrifice.” The sacrifices we make during this Lent, the things we choose to giveup or the actions we take for others might not, by design, be easy. They are meant to stretch us, humble us, or make us mindful of our shortcomings.
We are reminded of the sacrificial love of Jesus’ passion every time we look upon a Crucifix. Many in this modern culture want faith and religion to be a private matter. However, in Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his followers to light. (Matthew 5:13-16) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.”
Light doesn’t exist for itself. It helps us to see. We are called to make God the Father known, to allow the love of Jesus Christ to shine forth, and to become suitable temples for the Holy Spirit. We are tasked with living our lives in the joy and freedom that comes as a benefit of following our Lord.
We, as followers of Christ, do not exist for ourselves. We have the responsibility to shine a light on what is beautiful and reveal what is ugly. As Jesus instructed, “Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.”
We have a unique opportunity this Lent to be that light. I would like all of you to join me in attending Connecticut’s first official March for Life event on March 23, 2022, at the State Capitol in Hartford. Archbishop Blair of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Bishop Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and I support this historic undertaking and are hoping that it will be an overwhelming success.
True to our living discipleship, the March will be a time for Connecticut citizens to express their support for the life of the unborn and their opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Although the issues the March for Life will address are controversial in our society, people of faith must speak the truth and follow the Gospel imperative to be a light unto the world.
We will be joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths in this major demonstration. We must send a strong message to our elected officials of our commitment to uphold the sacred dignity of every person, for the simple fact that all life is a gift from God from conception until natural death.
This Lent may our spiritual journey of renewal bring a heightened awareness of the Lord’s unconditional and unyielding love for us. Lent is our fresh start to vigorously live our faith with love and charity to our family members, friends, neighbors -- in short, to everyone.
My prayers are with you to find the strength to continue shining Christ’s light at a time when the light of faith is so needed. Through a well-lived Lent, may we come to the glory of Easter.
Sincerely yours in the Light of Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich