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HomeArchbishop AquilaArchbishop's February prayer intention: For a deeper conversion to Christ during Lent

Archbishop’s February prayer intention: For a deeper conversion to Christ during Lent

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila’s Prayer intention for February is: “That during the upcoming Lenten season, people may experience a deeper conversion to Christ and all that he has accomplished for us.”

“Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you. Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God, and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn” (Psalm 51:3-19).

We are just a few days away from the beginning of the Lenten season; on February 14, it will be Ash Wednesday. On that day, God will invite us to enter the season of Lent with an attitude of repentance. As we receive the ashes on our foreheads, we will hear the phrase, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” which were the first words of Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry.

Psalm 51 is one of the most prayed penitential psalms in the history of the Church. The Church recites it every Friday, but it can also be our daily prayer throughout Lent. This psalm provides a solid theological foundation for what God wants us to do during Lent and why.

God wants us to sincerely acknowledge our faults before him, confess our sins with a contrite and humble heart, and reconcile with him and our brothers and sisters. In a few words, he asks for deep conversion. Seven times in Psalm 51, the psalmist mentions words related to purification: wash me, cleanse me, purify me, whiten me. There are seven deadly sins, and it is not a coincidence that the psalm mentions seven times the need for cleansing. This invites us to examine deep into our hearts and make good use of the Lenten season so that God can transform and make us into new men and women.

Through a sincere examination of conscience and acknowledging those sins we have committed, we are called to fasting, almsgiving and prayer — practices and works of charity that, if done with faith, will bear the fruits of profound conversion to God. Why? Because God is merciful. He has sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us, to purify us in the waters of baptism, to give us His Holy Spirit, and to allow us to call God our Father. Jesus Christ has rescued us from the slavery of sin and eternal punishment through his Incarnation, passion, death and resurrection; we can experience the gladness of salvation. For these reasons and more, it is necessary to experience a sincere conversion to Christ Jesus during this Lent.

Archbishop Aquila will be praying throughout the month of February for this intention so that everyone in the Archdiocese of Denver may experience with him a deep conversion to Christ, acknowledging all that Christ has done for us. Let us all join in this intention with the archbishop so that Psalm 51 becomes a prayer that inspires us to turn back to God in repentance, allowing God, with his mercy, to purify us in the sacrament of Reconciliation and the practices of Lent. This way, we can all sing his praises with a pure heart for he is merciful.


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