Palo archbishop calls for personal internal conversion
Tacloban City (March 21) -- Archbishop Jose S. Palma of the Archdiocese of Palo, in his Lenten Message, exhorted the faithful to enter the "spiritual battle" of Lent, armed with prayer, fasting and almsgiving so as to arrive at a celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in spirit and eventually to personal interior conversion.
His Lenten Message is reprinted here in full:
"Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel!" (Mk 1:15). The words of our Lord ring with freshness in our ears, as the season of Lent is once again at hand. In this season of penance, the church provides us an opportunity for interior renewal, particularly expressed through age-old traditional ascetical practices of fasting and abstinence, almsgiving and praying.
The Bishops of the whole Philippines, after having examined the dominant symptoms of the prevailing evils in our country nowadays and the lack of social conscience of many citizens, summons us to such a personal interior conversion.
"To journey to the light, we need first to realize that we have contributed to the common malaise[...] (cf. CBCP Statement: Reform ourselves and believe in the Gospel.27.o1.2008).
Thus, we re-propose their reflection and invitation for this season of Lent..."observance and in the spirit of penance, let us come together in little groups of reflection and discernment [...] we look seriously at our part of the many evils of our day as individuals, as families, as communities - and discern what action we can do together" (ibid).
Almsgiving together with the other ascetical practices facilitate interior renewal. The Holy Father, in his Lenten message for this year, describes almsgiving as a specific way to assist those in needs and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to wordly goods (cf. Benedict XVI, Lenten Message 2008, 30.10.2007, no.1).
The Archdiocesan Rural Congress which takes place within this season of Lent gives us a concrete opportunity to express our social concern for the rural poor, those in need in our midst, lending an open ear to their crisis and in the process deepen our Christian vocation. In gratuitously offering oneself, we bear witness that it is love and not material richness that determines the laws of our existence.
With the Holy Father, we pray that may our Blessed Mother help all of us to enter the "spiritual battle" of Lent, armed with prayer, fasting and the practice of almsgiving, so as to arrive at the celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in spirit, and eventually to personal interior conversion." (reprinted by PIA 8) [top]