By: Elise Italiano, Director of Communications
In his January 30th homily, Pope Francis explored the following:
“Our memory is so important for recalling the grace received because if we chase away that enthusiasm which comes from the memory of that first love, this enthusiasm coming from that first love, then a huge danger arrives for Christians: a lukewarm (faith). Lukewarm Christians. They’re there, immobile and yes, they’re Christians, but they’ve lost the memory of that first love. And they’ve also lost their enthusiasm. In addition, they’ve lost their patience, to tolerate life’s problems with the spirit of Jesus’ love, to tolerate, and to bear on their shoulders the difficulties…. Lukewarm Christians, poor things, they’re in grave danger.”
Memory and hope. These are the two things that support and strengthen faith. They set our hearts on fire. Looking back at our first encounter with the Lord Jesus will bolster our hope in His providential care of our future.
1. Looking back, looking forward. Last October, at the first meeting of the Synod on the Family, Pope Francis and the other participants explored the various ways that marriage can be strengthened around the globe, and discussed practical, pastoral ways to attend to the needs of couples and children. In this spirit, and as we look ahead the World Meeting of Families, Bishop Loverde will offer an online retreat for busy couples, both within the boundaries of the diocese and beyond. As he has said:
“I recognize that many married couples in my diocese have competing demands on their time — professional responsibilities, children’s busy schedules, and family obligations. I want to give them an opportunity to pause and invite the peace and quiet of Christ into their hearts and homes. Today’s technology provides me with the opportunity to just that.”
You can register for the free retreat (which begins on Monday) by clicking on this link.
2. Looking back, looking forward. In his message for World Communications Day, Pope Francis said:
“The media can help communication when they enable people to share their stories, to stay in contact with distant friends, to thank others or to seek their forgiveness, and to open the door to new encounters. By growing daily in our awareness of the vital importance of encountering others, these “new possibilities”, we will employ technology wisely, rather than letting ourselves be dominated by it.”
The Diocese of Arlington is preparing for a website redesign. Please visit our site and complete a survey so that we can provide you with a tool that facilitates an encounter with the Lord Jesus and provides you with the resources you need for your faith life.
3. Looking back, looking forward. As a direct result of the generosity of the faithful, Catholic Charities of Arlington was able to open three new counseling locations on parish campuses, distribute 729,000 pounds of food to the hungry, and house 98 people in transitional shelter and residence this past year. Yet there are still so many of our brothers and sisters in need. In his Lenten message, Pope Francis said that we cannot afford to fall prey to the “globalization of indifference.” Consider registering for the Catholic Charities Ball, an “evening of celebration to raise funds needed to fulfill the Catholic Charities mission of providing assistance to the underserved in the Diocese of Arlington.” Consider it a way to kick-start your Lenten almsgiving.
4. Looking back, looking forward. One beautiful thing about tradition is that popes often quote previous popes. In his Apostolic Letter to all Consecrated People, Pope Francis cited Pope Saint John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata:
“You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things.”
Pope Francis asks religious communities to look back over their history, but also to their future to “wake up the world.” Let us pray for our communities of consecrated and religious, and dedicate ourselves to helping nurture and foster the vocations of young men and women in our diocese.
Please join Bishop Loverde for a Holy Mass celebrating all the Consecrated Men and Women in the diocese on Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, in Arlington.
5. Looking back, looking forward. “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Though the liturgical calendar begins with Advent, Lent is a time in which we look back over our spiritual life of the past year, and take stock of how well we responded to God’s grace. Most importantly, it is a time to look forward with hope. May we respond generously to His call to repent and begin again.