On a liturgical note: March

By Canon Philip Gillespie

The Liturgy in Lent invites us to accompany those who are preparing to be baptised and received into the Church at Easter. Many of us can name the date on which we were baptised (past) but of course the important thing is that we recognise that we are baptised (present).

Therefore the way in which I live today is important because it is showing the fruits of the gift of the Holy Spirit – which in Saint Paul's words (Galatians 5: 22–23) are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What this 'fruit' looks like in our own unique and individual lives may differ, but the important thing is that we do bear that fruit, to the glory of God the Father. And it is not a bad examination of conscience each day to look seriously at that list – or indeed just one word from the list – and say: "How have I borne that fruit today; how has someone else taught me and been an example of that fruit; what do I need to learn?"

Pope Francis has written a message to us all for this Season of Lent in which he asks us to give thanks for the Word of God which can be a guide for our living, bringing true and lasting wisdom to us. He asks us to recognise that sin can make us blind – blind to the gifts which are given for service to others, blind also to the way in which God's grace comes to us through the care which others bring to us every day. We are to be attentive to the opportunities and the potential of each day, of each life, of each moment.

"May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God's word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need."