My dear Friends,
“Death is a fact; death is an inheritance; death is a memory. We are neither eternal nor ephemeral: we are men and women on a journey in time, time that begins and time that ends.” (Pope Francis homily, 1 February 2018)
These words of our Holy Father remind us of the formula used when ashes are placed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Every year we are reminded in a very real way that our lives are not our own, that we are not here on this earth forever, and that one day our time will be up and we will be called to give an accounting to the Lord of our time on earth. Our Holy Father goes on to say that death “is a fact that affects everyone” and he asks that we all “pray, and ask for the grace of a sense of time.” All of us, no matter who we are, will one day face death. What we do with our present time will literally affect eternity for us.
Each year on Ash Wednesday we are called upon to remember this and to pledge to use the time we have on earth profitably. How do we live? How do we treat others? How do we care for those less fortunate than ourselves? How much time do we give the Lord? Are we faithful to the Lord, to His word, to His Church? At the end of Lent are we more committed to the Lord than we were on Ash Wednesday? All of us need to ask and answer these questions and many more.
The Pope encourages us to ask: “What would be my legacy if God were to call me today? What legacy would I leave as a testimony to my life?” These are serious questions that deserve serious thought and a serious answer. During Lent we are asked to go into the desert and contemplate our lives. Perhaps this Lent we can ask ourselves these questions the Holy Father puts to us. Perhaps this Lent we can all truly strive to use this time, this great gift of God, to examine our life as only we can, to look into the depths of our heart as only we can and see what needs to be changed, what needs to be strengthened.
May you have a blessed Lent and may we all grow into the children of God we are called to be. Be assured of my prayers. Please, pray for me.
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Most Reverend Roger J. Foys, D.D.
Bishop of Covington