The Lenten season is a journey of faith


PROVIDENCE — During a well-attended Mass at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul on Ash Wednesday, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, the principal celebrant, said in his homily that Lent is like a spiritual retreat during which we try to focus more intently on things of the spirit, matters of faith.
The bishop described the Lenten season as a journey of faith in which we have a final destination in mind, and an opportunity for us to receive special blessings and graces.
“We should not receive the grace of God in vain, but indeed make this a rewarding time for us, a spiritually fruitful time for us.” he said, quoting the words of St. Paul in the first reading.
He also spoke of how Pope Francis, in a previous reflection on Lent, said that it was a time of renewal for the whole church.
“Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us,” Bishop Tobin said, quoting Pope Francis’ words.
“Usually we think about what we should be doing for God,” he added, noting the irony, before encouraging the participants to open the door to Christ to let him come into our hearts and into our lives to change us to make a difference.
The bishop said that special works of prayer, the loving conversation that we have with God, opens us up to the spirit of God.
“Our special works of prayer and fasting and abstinence and mortification — we do those things for the discipline that makes us stronger to do battle with evil. We are armed with these spiritual weapons that help us to do battle with the devil,” Bishop Tobin said.