A week Wednesday, 17th February, we begin the season of Lent. Lent is a time of grace for the Church, during which we are invited to prepare ourselves to celebrate the salvific actions of Christ, His Passion, His death, and His Resurrection. During the forty days of Lent we enter the desert. The desert is a time of solitude, a time of taking that step back, a time of silence, and the attentive listening so as to be able to hear the voice of the Father speak directly to our heart. This last year has given us a lot of things to process: the events and consequences of the pandemic itself, the questions and issues which have arisen as a result of the lockdowns, not being able to mourn the loss of a loved one, having to face the various demons which lie beneath the service. This year’s Lent in particular offers us an opportunity to break through the deafening barrier of silence, to that place of intimate encounter. Pope Francis, this time last year, reflected: “[Jesus] taught us how to seek the Father who speaks to us in silence. And it is not easy to be silent in the heart because we always try to talk a little, to be with others”.
The Holy Father last year suggested that the season of Lent is “the time to give up useless words, gossip and slander and to talk to and be informal with the Lord. It is the time to dedicate ourselves to a healthy ecology of the heart, to cleanse it”. There are lots of opportunities at the Cathedral which can help us enter into this silence, whether physically during the various times of prayer, or spiritually, by uniting yourself to the Cathedral community through the live-stream.