In a few short weeks, our Catholic Church will enter the Lenten Season, the 40-day season of preparation for the holiest days of our liturgical year – the Paschal Triduum.

Lent is a personal and communal journey that helps us return to our baptismal promises and confront the areas of our lives needing to refocus, recentering, and re-energizing.  Just like any journey we take in life, we must prepare ourselves for the trip with the tools and resources that will help make the journey meaningful and memorable.

Our Catholic Church has traditionally encouraged us to use the tools of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.  For example, we may choose to attend Mass more frequently or take advantage of services such as Stations of the Cross on Fridays or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Others find themselves choosing to give more in their weekly tithings or volunteering with local organizations helping those most vulnerable in our society.  And who can forget fasting from meat on Fridays or giving up the things we enjoy most until Easter Sunday?

This year, however, our Catholic Church gives us a unique opportunity to strengthen our faith during this time of Eucharistic Revival.  It is a moment in time when Catholics across our world are making time to restore understanding and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

We are human beings, however.  We are mortal sinners.  At times, we may even feel unworthy to call ourselves sons and daughters of the Living God.  The beauty of our faith, however, reminds us that Jesus never gets tired of welcoming us back with open arms.  Simply, God welcomes us and invites us to come as we are.

The Japanese have a tradition for repairing broken ceramics called Kintsugi.  This method takes time to recognize the history of broken pieces and, rather than disguising or discarding them, incorporates them into a new creation.

As the faith leader of our school community, I announce Come As You Are as our theme for this year’s Lenten season.  In the words of David Crowder,

“So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are”

I invite you to take a chance. Come As You Are and grow closer to Christ.  Allow the Eucharist to be your Kintsugi process and allow God’s compassion and mercy to be made new. God doesn’t want to disguise you or disregard you.  He wants you to know how far you have come and be with you as you have been created anew this Lent.

In service to the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament,

Michael Fierro