Repentance in the Year of Faith
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. (Luke 10:21-24)
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Slava Isusu Christu!
Slava na V’iki!
February 10, 2013
Dear Faithful of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh,
During the Year of Faith, we reflect upon our baptismal commitment to faith, hope, and love. As we enter the Season of the Great Lenten Fast, the Lenten Message of our Holy Father Benedict XVI asks us to focus on the relationship of love to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith and our love of God allow the Holy Spirit to flow into our lives.
The strength of our faith in God is tied to our love for him. Because of this love, we try to follow his commandment to follow him. We try, but sometimes we lose our way and fall away from what he wants us to do. As in any friendship, we also might do things that push us away from what God has planned for us. It is hard for friends or family when we break away. It is more difficult when we break away from God like the prodigal son, because we become broken and need healing.
During the season of the Great Fast, we are called by love of God to let go of the things that hold us back. We enter a different pattern of prayer. Fasting and the prayers of the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy call us to reflect upon our need for conversion in our lives. The unique Lenten melodies and prayers foster the desire to return to the Lord. The sacramental Mystery of Reconciliation helps us to say we are sorry and returns us to a closer relationship with the Lord.
To help us in our return to the Lord, the Light of the World, we will be ‘leaving a light on for you’ on Wednesday, March 6, when we as Church collectively return to the sacrament of Reconciliation. Catholic Churches in the Greater Pittsburgh area will participate in “The Light is On for You,” during which houses of worship will be open for confessions from 6-9 p.m. Check your church bulletin to find the church in which your priest will be hearing confessions; bring a family member, friend or acquaintance, or just come yourself to partake of this penitential opportunity.
Reconciliation opens us to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The renewal of our faith restores our relationship of love. The forty days of fasting allow us to reflect upon the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. If we pray, fast, and die to sin, we will rise with him to celebrate on that Feast of Feasts – Pascha – Easter Sunday. Thus, experiencing the love of God will enrich our faith and allow us to rebuild and strengthen our Church during this Year of Faith.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend William C. Skurla, D.D.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh
The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God – the God of Jesus Christ – and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others. (2013 Lenten Message of Benedict XVI)