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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Lent, a time for Prayer
An Extract from a letter sent by Fr. Alvaro Corcuera on occasion of Ash Wednesday, 2013.


An Extract from a letter sent by Fr. Alvaro Corcuera to the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi on occasion of Ash Wednesday, 2013.

Jacksonville, February 13, 2013

During his radiation treatment and chemotherapy, Father Alvaro Corcuera dictated a letter to the Legionaries of Christ and all the members of Regnum Christi on the occasion of the beginning of Lent.  This letter is very Spanish in style and, in some sections, is as difficult to render in English as Spanish poetry.  Those who would like to read the Spanish original can find it here.  Below, we offer an extract of the main ideas Father Alvaro addresses. 

After once again extending his thanks for the many signs of support and gratitude he has received in the past weeks, Father Alvaro reflects that Lent is both a journey carrying the cross along with Christ and a time to receive the Lord into our hearts in prayer. 

He then goes on to meditate on the Our Father line by line.  Here is a summary of his reflections:

The “Our” with which the Our Father begins shows that, as children of our heavenly Father, we should be one family, healed of all division.  When our contemporaries look at us, they should say, “See how they love one another,” just as the pagans did with the first Christians.

Father Alvaro’s bout with cancer has made him see the phrase “who art in heaven” in a new light: he feels much closer to heaven than ever before.  He invites us to quicken our pace in this pilgrimage, renewing our trust in the Good Shepherd who will guide us there if we let him. 

We live out “Hallowed be thy name” when we make God the one and only Lord of our lives.  If we do so, then we will not be slaves to vanity and the praise others lavish upon us. 

“Thy Kingdom Come!” Our life is to be apostles of God’s Kingdom of love.  He offers some characteristics of this Kingdom:

  1. Kingdom of humility – God has revealed himself to us as meek and humble.  When
    we ask him to make our hearts more like his, we are asking him to make us humble and to free us from slavery to pride.
  2. Kingdom of charity – Charity is to share the countenance of God with others by giving ourselves to them in little things and in big things.  After making this reflection, Father Alvaro shares his memories of all the love that different people showed him in the days before his operation.
  3. Saying “Thy Kingdom Come!” fills us with enthusiasm to share the power of love with one and all.  Love is more powerful than fear and death.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means that, when we are doing God’s will, we enjoy a little piece of heaven here on earth.  But, since we say it in the context of the Our Father, it also means that we want to be united as a family that is doing the will of our loving Father. 

“Give us this day our daily bread” made Father Alvaro think of receiving the Eucharist.  He says that one of the first things he realized when he awoke in the hospital was that he had not received the Eucharist in several days.  When he learned that it was the feast of the Epiphany, he asked them to put the Holy Father’s Mass on the television.  Seeing it made him want to receive communion even more.

Praying “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” shows us that we are freed from our pride both when we ask for forgiveness and when we forgive others.  As well, we make our Father in heaven happy when we approach him in confession.  He is waiting for this chance to say “Don’t worry!  I love you!” 

Praying, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” makes Father Alvaro remember that, although we are weak, we should not fear temptation.  We should remember that God offers us many more graces than the temptations that come our way.  We carry treasures in vessels of clay.  It will be
Un adolescente misionero llegando la alegría y compartiendo su fe
God who frees us from evil if we let him.

To close his letter, Father Alvaro thanks Cardinal De Paolis, the bishops and the representatives of different movements and religious associations that have shown him their support and entrusts his life to the Virgin Mary. 

A post-script reads as follows:
“I finished dictating this letter last week, but I am sending it after finding out about the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s coming resignation.  We thank him deeply for his service and this gesture of humility and love for the Church.  I invite you all to thank the Pope very much, to accompany him in prayer and to renew our adhesion and complete fidelity to him.”  



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