By: Hector Daniel Rosales Vázquez
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
At Monterrey Seminary we have prepared ourselves to live this time of lent with joy and a longing to renew our hearts and spirits in God’s mercy.
It might seem just usual to think that Lent at the seminary involves a certain degree of external rigorousness in acts of self-mortification and mourning faces. Well, that’s not truth, because, year after year we insist to live the Lent journey authentically and joyously, that is: to renew our hearts in the personal and communitarian experience of God’s mercy. The experience of God’s mercy leaves no room for external sacrifice or mourning faces, but for the joy of knowing we are loved.
We started this journey of preparation for lent a few weeks ago, in the afternoon prior to Ash Wednesday with a spiritual retreat, not just as a formative requirement, but consistently with the need to live a personal encounter with Christ who calls us to conversion in our hearts and to walk in love. This time of personal and communitarian dialog with God is guided by a priest who is invited by the seminary’s formative team. The priest shares his experience of love and encounter with God. He accompanies the seminarians and shares with them methods of prayer and reading materials that may be useful as an introduction to a journey or reflection about one’s Christian life and the demands contingent to being Disciples of Christ.
On Ash Wednesday, we had a morning Eucharist celebration where ashes were blessed and placed. At the end of the retreat, at noon, seminarians got ready to accompany parish communities and sick brothers in hospitals, to place ashes in a celebration of the Word.
In the formative process of a priest it is vitally important that a seminarian experiences God’s mercy personally. Only this way he will be able to bring mercy to his brothers. Lent is a special time, it is the perfect time to remind the faithful of Gods constant and permanent invitation to become renewed in His love, hence the need to communicate this invitation through one’s life testimony.
Lent is a time of profound hope in a seminarian’s journey, because contemplating the fervor and longing of the community for receiving God’s graces and blessings, renews the joyous commitment to get on, generously and steadily, in response to Jesus Christs call to serve him in his beloved sons.
May the peace of Lord Jesus be with you.
Pray for us.