Dear Friends in Christ,
May the peace of Christ be with you as you journey through this season of Lent! In his Holy Rule St. Benedict teaches the monks that during these days of Lent, they should add something to their usual measure of God’s service, such as abstinence from food and drink, devoting themselves to …”prayer with tears, to reading, compunction of heart and self denial.” (Holy Rule, Chapter 49). He later says that we should… “ look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.” After all, Lent is a season of preparation for celebrating the central mystery of our faith at Easter – the death and resurrection of Christ.
During this Lenten season, I pray that you make every effort to enter into both aspects of Lent that St. Benedict talks about: the penitential as well as the joyful. Actually the two aspects are intimately connected. Joy in our souls is born of our deep union with Christ. And our union with Christ only grows in us as we become capable of clearing away as much as possible the obstacles of sin and evil in our lives. If you have been away from the practice of the Sacrament of Penance (Confession), Lent is a wonderful time to return to seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness in the sacrament. Very often we lack a spirit of joyfulness deep in our hearts. We may seem to be happy in our lives, but deep down we can often be weighed down by a sense of sadness or lack of meaning in life. This is often caused by the fact that we are living our lives on the wrong road, far from God and distant from Christ. Lent is a time to dig deep down into our hearts and souls to realize that we are not perfect, that we are sinners to one degree or another, and that we urgently need to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness. This is the deepest cause of being joyful, knowing that we are loved by God and God wants to forgive us, reconcile us and make us spiritually whole again. So, if you have not been to Confession for a while, make it a priority during this Lent. I think you will be glad you did.
Lastly, I ask for your continued prayers for the monks of Marmion Abbey. On January 1 this year our Father Christian Pusateri suddenly died. Please pray for his eternal rest. Pray for our sick monks as well – especially for Abbot David Cyr who has Alzheimers and for Brother Jude Such who was recently in the hospital for congestive heart failure. Please also pray for an increase of worthy vocations for the abbey.
In closing, on behalf of all of the monks of Marmion Abbey, I wish you many graces and blessings this Lenten season. Let us all pray for one another. God bless you.
Sincerely in Christ,
Abbot John Brahill, O.S.B. ‘67