Lent & Love of God…Join The Dots!


There can sometimes be a failure to understand the true nature of Lent.  It’s seen, rightly, as a time of prayer and penance, making atonement for sins, and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Our Lord. However, arguably,  the majority of Catholics pay insufficient attention to what should be the outcome of our Lenten prayers and penances – namely, an increase in our love for Our Lord.  It’s sometimes striking to reflect on the uncharitable way we behave towards others, sometimes even right after attending Mass or praying a rosary – indications that we are seriously lacking in charity, that charity which is the love of God, made manifest in our lives…  

I am ashamed to admit that I have never – ever – made a good Lent. My attempted penances over the years include the classics; giving up chocolate, crisps, soft drinks – and if I were fond of the less soft drinks, I would have, very likely, sacrificed those as well (pat on the back),  but I can’t , without fibbing, claim an increased love of God, manifesting itself in increased charity towards my neighbour, as a result.  The truth that no-one can stand still in the spiritual life – we either go forwards or back – terrifies me. I need help, therefore, and I’m hoping that this thread will do the trick…

As we mark the beginning of Lent today, Ash Wednesday, share your ideas for useful penances, and post any meditations, experiences, prayers, hymns and advice that you think will be helpful to us all this Lent, as we seek to grow in the love of God. 

Glasgow: Welcome to a Fun-Filled Lent!

ImageWelcome to Lentfest!

As the season of Lent calls us to a sober and reflective assessment of our lives, at the same time the principal arts festival of the Archdiocese gets underway. That apparent contradiction is explained away by casting an eye over the many elements of this year’s programme. For they are, in truth, aids to living Lent well … the Stations of the Cross rediscovered; the great drama of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection interpreted through the new prism of music and visual art; a revisiting of the theme of redemption through drama and an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of the pontificates of two great Popes soon to be canonised (John XXIII and John Paul II) through film. Lentfest is about deepening our faith through the gift of the arts. We thank those whose work will open up for us new horizons, and pray that all who are touched by the events of the coming weeks will sense the call of the Lord to repentance and newness of life.

Just a few months ago Pope Francis summed up our hopes for this year’s Lentfest very well when he said: “In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.” “What are you doing for Lent?” is a question you might be asked over the next few weeks. While our practical resolutions may involve prayer, fasting and almsgiving, our ultimate goal should be to find and grow closer to God in our lives, and to love our neighbour more generously. My wish is that in attending some of the events of this year’s festival that search for God in your life and commitment to service may be intensified and given new impetus.

With every blessing on you and your family

+Philip Tartaglia

Archbishop of Glasgow  



“rediscovered; new;  revisiting” … the same theme all the time. Everything has to be “new”, we have to “rediscover” and “revisit” every darn thing – even penance and fasting.

Is it really possible to make the message of prayer, penance and fasting more attractive through attending various entertainment shows?  I can’t see it, but if you can, please explain…I’d love to be booking theatre tickets for the next six weeks as my Lenten penance, so I’m very open minded about this… 😀