Archbishop of Nassau
Our Lenten observance, whatever form it takes, must not be merely a show or simply acts for others to notice. Why not? Because, these external gestures, such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving, must be true, visible signs of a much deeper reality. They must, Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau said, express a sincere desire to conversion of heart.
“A true desire to do better. That is the core message of the Gospel. No wonder we also apply the ashes with the words: ‘turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel’. Remember the instructions of the prophet Joel: ‘Rend your hearts, not your garments’,” the Archbishop said in his Ash Wednesday message to faithful during Mass at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral. (Read the Archbishop’s full message here: https://www.archdioceseofnassau.org/.
To understand Lent, as a journey of love, as a pilgrimage, which inspires new commitments to the gospel and the lifestyle, which the gospel demands, is important and helpful. It is to see the penitential season—which began nine days earlier than last year—as a time of personal renewal and conversion of heart, he said.
“To understand Lent as a journey of love, which opens our hearts to our brothers and sisters and draws them to God, reminds us that we do not live alone. We live as part of a community. We have to be good neighbours; we have to be responsible citizens,” the Archbishop said.
The events of the past six months he said, referring to Hurricane Dorian which made landfall last September, and going into the immediate future, are a test of all Bahamians in this regard.
The journey of Lent, which begins with the usual, simple, ritual gesture of ashes placed upon foreheads—a reminder that we are all mortal—also serves as a reminder for our accountability before God for how we live this life.
“Lent is a time and a season for us to exercise due diligence as to the course of our life is taking,” he said.
Archbishop Pinder said that we do not travel the journey of Lent alone. He spoke of the Prophet Joel who speaks of the people, the assembly, the congregation, the elders, the children, the infants at the breast. “We all travel this Lenten journey together,” he reiterated.
He then invited faithful to all support each other on this journey with encouraging words, with good examples and of course prayers, and together look forward to the celebration of Easter with hopeful hearts and with joyful praise.
By Kaelanne Jordan