“Confession is a reality check when I recognise how far I still have to go in the Christian life and receive the grace to go forward.”
London, March 07, 2014 (Zenit.org)
A Lenten Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England, to be read at Mass in all churches and chapels of the Diocese on the First Sunday of Lent, 9th March 2014:
My dear brothers and sisters, “I would like to ask you – but don’t say it aloud, everyone respond in his or her heart: when was the last time you made your Confession?” This is the question Pope Francis has recently put to us. The Holy Father continued: “Everyone think about it …” is it “two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years?”… And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is more benevolent than priests, Jesus receives you, he receives you with much love.
Be courageous and go to Confession!” (General Audience of the Holy Father, 19th February 2014). This is the call of Pope Francis which I wish to echo at the beginning of Lent in this year which we have dedicated in the Diocese to peace and reconciliation (Pastoral Letter for Peace Sunday 19th January 2014).
The “Stations of the Tau Cross” is an adaption of a written work, “A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion” by Dr. C. Truman Davis with assistance from the work of his contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research on the subject of Christ’s crucifixion. It also includes excerpts from the “30 Day Prayer to Mary,” Gospel excerpts and entries from Dennis Mallon, OFS, the initiator of this document.
The stations will depict the physical aspects of the passion and suffering of Jesus, just as St. Francis may have visualized when he received the stigmata. The intimate and devoted relationship Francis had with Christ would have undoubtedly left him with the experience of following Christ’s every step during his passion.
These stations follow Christ from the Garden of Gethsemane, through his trial, his scourging, his path along the Via Dolorosa, and end at his last dying hours on the cross.
Doctor Davis reports: In the past we may have taken the crucifixion of our Lord more or less for granted and had grown callous to it’s horror by a too-easy familiarity with the grim details — and a too distant friendship with Him.
Thus, we will see a glimpse of the epitome of evil which man can exhibit toward man — and toward God. This is not a pretty sight and is apt to leave us despondent and depressed. However, we can be grateful that we have a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man — the miracle of the atonement and the expectation of eternal life.
The physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion we can examine in some detail . . . what did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture? Dr. C. Truman Davis
Pope Francis: Lent is a time to react to material, spiritual misery.
In his Ash Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis emphasized that Lent is a time of conversion in which the faithful grow in awareness of Christ’s redemptive work and recall the mystery of baptism.
Gratitude for the mystery of Christ’s love, he said, leads to conversion, and baptism calls Christians not to become used to the “degradation and misery” around us. Christians, said Pope Francis, should not passively accept violence, homelessness, a lack of acceptance of refugees, or “living in a society that claims to do without God, in which parents do not teach their children to pray anymore or to make the sign of the cross.”
“Do your children know how to make the sign of the cross?” he asked. “Do your grandchildren know how to make the sign of the cross? … how to pray the Our Father … how to pray to the Madonna with the Hail Mary?”
“Lent comes to us as a providential time to change course, to recover the capacity to react in the face of the reality of evil that always challenges us,” Pope Francis added. “Thanksgiving to God for the mystery of his crucified love, authentic faith, conversion and opening of the heart to our brothers, these are the essential elements for living the time of Lent.”