Lent begins on February 26, Ash Wednesday.
Below is Bishop Schlerts's Lenten Pastoral Letter for 2020
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As another Lenten Season unfolds for us, I would
like to reflect upon something that is impacting our
Church and society greatly: Anger.
It seems everywhere we look, we see expressions of anger. Anger in
and at the Church; anger in and at Washington; anger in and among
nations; anger in families; anger in social media. In my travels around
the Diocese, I often hear many who are concerned about the
coarseness in our society.
Perhaps during this Lenten Season, a good way for us to reflect upon
the anger in our lives and in society is to do an examination of
conscience based on that very popular Lenten devotion, The Stations of
the Cross. In these fourteen stops along the way of Our Lord’s Passion
and Death, we see an example of patience and suffering combined in
one total act of selfless love.
The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
- In my own speech, do I in anger condemn another and quickly draw
conclusions about a person’s motives and intentions?
The Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross
- When I have a heavy burden placed on me, justly or unjustly, do I
react with anger, blame, retribution, or avoidance?
The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time
- Do I take delight in another’s misfortune out of the anger I feel for
him or her?
The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother
- When trial and sorrow come into my life, do I react with anger, blaming
God or others for my testing, or do I seek to be compassionate and
accepting of the situation over which I have no control?
The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
- Does anger overcome me when asked to do something or circumstances
demand that I get involved, preferring rather to watch from a comfortable
distance, resentful that I have been asked to contribute my time, talent,
The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
- Does my anger keep me from showing compassion, especially if I have
experienced a lack of compassion from someone else?
The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
- Am I patient with myself when I make the same mistake again, or do I
become angry with my lack of perfection and give up?
The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
- Does my anger lead me to be hardened to the plight of others, convincing
myself that somehow they are to blame for their situation and therefore
absolving myself of any charity toward them?
The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time
- Do I create an angry standard in my mind of what persons are worthy of
being helped based on my own prejudices and misconceptions?
The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes
- In my anger, do I strip someone of his or her dignity or good name by
what I say about them, what I post on social media, or how I act
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
- How does my interior anger disfigure my soul and nail my humanity to
the cross of hatred, arrogance, and selfishness?
The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
- Does my anger rage to the point that I see another person as
irredeemable or without the human dignity of one created by God
and saved by the Blood of Christ?
The Thirteenth Station: The Body of Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
- Do I show respect for the human person or do I judge another as an
object of my anger or to be used in a selfish way?
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
- In my anger, do I emotionally bury a family member, friend, co-worker,
or classmate by treating them as if they are “dead to me,” shutting
them out of my life with no intention of reconciling with him or her?
The anger we sense in the world today is real and powerful. It is not easily rooted
out, especially if we see the cause in someone else. This Lent, I ask myself and all
the faithful to look inwardly to see how the anger in the world is really rooted in our
personal anger, and seek to be reconciled with Our Lord and with those from whom
we are estranged.
Psalm 34 tells us,
Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.
May God grant all of the peace and forgiveness of a Lenten Season truly lived well
so that the Love of Christ will wash over us, bring us to be forgiven and inspire us
by His forgiveness to forgive.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Alfred A. Schlert
Bishop of Allentown