Lent - from desert silence to service and solidarity
The Lenten season takes us on a journey through the stillness of the desert and into the busy world of outreach to our brothers and sisters in need.
Bishop Smith invites people to view the Lenten season also in the context of the International Eucharistic Congress, which takes place on 10 - 17 June in Dublin.
"A focus on the Eucharist draws us more deeply into our relationship with the Lord. The Eucharist nourishes our daily prayer and it urges us to reach out in solidarity, beyond our own pressing needs, towards those who seek our help".
A Eucharistic Prayer for Lent
Since 1980, there has been a steady increase in the number of people spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This form of prayer intensifies during the Lenten Season. As Bishop Smith explains:
"Central to our faith is the belief that the Lord is with us when we pray. He invites us to speak to Him, to present our joys and sorrows, our own pains and the sufferings of others. In response to the questions and doubts that may arise in our hearts, He simply tells us 'Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God still and trust in Me', reassuring us that His heart is ever open to us."
Be still in for the presence of the Lord
The desert is an image frequently used during Lent. It conjures up a sense of silence. Our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament allows God to speak to us in the stillness of His presence. Amidst the distraction of discordant and endless chatter, our Eucharistic prayer keeps us still in a sacred silence.
Reaching out to others
Yet our time in the desert silence is never a selfish act. On the contrary, it can only be a moment of grace if it inspires our outreach to others. Trócaire will be working with the Diocese of Meath to bring this year's Lenten Campaign to as many parishes and schools as possible.
The theme of this year's appeal is "building community" with a focus on Uganda. The emphasis on community reflects the theme of the forthcoming International Eucharistic Congress. Several primary and secondary schools will be visited by Trocaire teams on 1 - 2 March. A meeting of parishioners who took part in the "Rediscovering Mercy" will take place on 1 March in Dunshaughlin.
Trócaire speakers will be available to parishes during the 40 days of Lent. For further information, check out www.trocaire.ie.