Lenten Themes

These programs are well suited for Lent. Just three examples:

Why Do We Suffer?

The paradox of the Cross is examined along with the value of redemptive suffering. Many no longer want a suffering Christ in the Church today, but rather a Christ who just wants us to feel good about ourselves. But there is no Easter without first Good Friday. If we are to imitate Christ this must not exclude the “suffering Christ.”

Christ gives us the answer to the question about suffering, not only by his teaching, but also by his example, that is, by his own suffering. So, when we suffer – we are not suffering alone – it is Christ suffering in and through us!

Suffering has value. Suffering is redemptive.

Toward this end, Rich explores Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris (Redemptive Suffering). This includes the role of His Mother Mary.

“There is a “Gospel of Suffering” written by the witnesses of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Mary, His Mother, is the foremost witness, because she was present at the side of Christ throughout His life, sharing in His suffering from Simeon’s prophecy through to the Crucifixion” (S.D. n. 25).

We must learn to embrace the Cross. Suffering is also a form of Christ’s mercy, enabling us to make reparation for sin for our own sins and the sins of the world.

Conversion and the New Evangelization

Christianity is essentially penitential and is tied to the process of conversion. Rich discusses the important role that the Church’s call to conversion plays in the “new evangelization” and how this also impacts our parishes and on-going pastoral initiatives, drawing from Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis … “Conversion … is not some isolated act but a constant process in the life of a Christian … not affecting only individual persons, but also groups, institutions and social structures” (St. Pope John Paul II, Reconciliatio et paenitentia n. 4)

Mary, Queen of Martyrs

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are covered as an excellent devotion during the Lenten season. The Black Scapular of the Servites is also introduced.