Diocese of Salt Lake City

Bishop Solis’s Lenten Message 2024

Posted on February 15, 2024 in: Diocese of Salt Lake City

Bishop Solis’s Lenten Message 2024

By The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of Salt Lake City

On Ash Wednesday our Church began the Season of Lent, inviting us to embark on a 40-day spiritual journey of prayer, fasting and good works focused on the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. This year’s Ash Wednesday, falling as it does on Valentine’s Day, is a great opportunity to reflect on God’s love for us in Christ, who gave up his life for our redemption and for our salvation. The sacrificial act of Christ’s self-giving is the highest expression of love that we are inspired to emulate and imitate – “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

The 40-day season of Lent invites us to respond to God’s saving love by reflecting on our lives, our relationship with our Lord and with one another. It is a special time of grace to turn our hearts and minds away from daily preoccupations and material concerns, and to once again make God the center of our lives. The Lenten discipline helps us examine ourselves for what we did wrong, paves the way for the repentance of our sins, and enables us to seek reconciliation and communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.

We pray to recognize his abiding presence in us and in the world, and to allow him to speak to our hearts so he can lead us to the path of holiness and salvation. We fast and abstain from eating meat on designated days during the season to develop spiritual discipline, to learn to overcome our ego and selfishness, and to strengthen our resolve and perseverance on our faith journey. We also do good works, learning to trust in Divine Providence and express our solidarity with those who are poor and suffering by sharing God’s love and compassion with them.

Lent is a time of faith renewal and conversion of the heart. We join together with all those already baptized, as well as with our other brothers and sisters who will be initiated into the Church and become full members of our faith community on Easter. Let us all pray for one another, that we rekindle our faith as we journey together with Christ toward Easter so we can celebrate our freedom from the bondage of sin and rejoice at our salvation that his suffering, death and Resurrection bring.

On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded to “turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” Let us take this to heart and discover the immense love of Christ for us – “though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8) so that at Easter we will proclaim with joy, “Christ is risen. Alleluia!”