Lent is a time to pay closer attention to the Word of God.

Cardinal John’s newsletter | 24th February 2022.

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou

Lent begins next week. Lent is always a time to pay closer attention to the Word of God, a time of grace and reconciliation. This year Lent is again observed in the context of COVID-19, Delta and Omicron. There are tensions for us as protestors throughout the country call for end to the vaccine mandates. It has been a nerve wracking and disturbing time for those of us living close to Parliament grounds, as it is for many people whose families are having difficulties because of tensions about vaccinations and the various efforts we are using to keep everyone safe. Maybe the gift of this 2022 Lent will be focussing on looking for and accepting the grace of God at this time of COVID and the protests, with all kinds of events being cancelled, and a general apprehension and nervousness.

I read a few days ago “We come into the world to align our souls with God,” those words which challenged me, I know will be a focus for Lent.

Often at Friday Mass I pray one of the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation. For me they are beautiful prayers. I share with you below a few phrases from those prayers which I hope will assist you on your Lenten journey, and in coping with COVID and its challenges, and with those who do not agree with what we have been asked to do to stay safe and healthy.

· “… you do not cease to spur us on to possess a more abundant life…” 

· “… now you set before your people a time of grace and reconciliation, as they turn back to you in spirit, you grant them hope in Christ Jesus and a desire to be of service to all, while they entrust themselves more fully to the Holy Spirit.”

· “… though the human race is divided by dissension and discord, yet we know that by testing us you change our hearts to prepare them for reconciliation… by your Spirit you move human hearts that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together.”

· “By the working of your power, hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is changed to mutual respect…”

Prayerful best wishes this Lent as together we use this time of grace and reconciliation and
rely on God’s grace “to align our souls with God.”

Nāku noa. Nā