Lent: Prelude to Eternity

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

This coming Wednesday, February 10, Lent begins with the distribution of ashes, accompanied by the formula prayer: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or the formula prayer: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return” -- both of which, during this Lenten period, call for a prayerful exercise in growing in the gift of Faith in Jesus Christ as the Redeeming Son of God, having been given to us in our Baptism.

The message, running through the first three weeks of Lent, is the call to a life of Gospel conversion, while the remaining weeks present the “life” of the salvific mystery of Christ, the Son of God, of whom John’s Gospel declares that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. Recall Jesus’ words: “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly”(John 10:10). Christ, then, is presented as the healer and life-giver -- giving life through His confrontation with death; being “obedient, even to the death on the cross”-- and thus redeeming the sinfully scarred children of God and opening before us a share into the mystery of the glorified risen Body of Christ. Lent, then, is a special time in the Church when we consider “life” as a deep mystery -- so significant in its possibility of being lost that God sent His Son to remind us that “life” as God grants it to us is to be  fully experienced not in “time” but in “eternity” -- with its achievement being “Heaven” and its loss being “Hell” (Mt 25:46).

In the two prayers mentioned above, we have, then, a summary of what is contained in the message of Lent. “Repent” and “believe in the Gospel” have to do with “conversion,” that is having a change in the way I have been living my life up to this moment, where I have not yet achieved that degree of holiness as set forth for us when God declared: “Be holy as I your God am holy” (LV 19:2).

The second prayer: “Remember man you are dust and to dust shall you   return,” reveals to us that “TIME” IS NOT OURS forever, since “TIME” comes to an end. However, as God made us in His image and likeness, as God is Eternal Spirit, we then share, but in a dependent way, in that eternal dimension; and so “the mystery of eternity” is to be found within the parameters of our destiny.

We thus have a responsibility, as did Adam and Eve, to be obedient to God Who is our Creator and Redeemer; however, by our not listening to God’s directive, as set forth in His Commandments, but choosing to be disobedient by listening to other than God -- those fellow creatures who are rebellious and hostile to God, their Creator -- such as those espousing same sex marriage; the murder of innocent life in the womb; contraception; the  acceptance of homosexuality as natural to mankind, and trans-genderism -- that arrogantly gratuitous rejection of all reality as found in the biological world of fact, in favor of the idolization of “absurdity” as the norm of “reality.” Such disobedience threatens the very integrity of our soul to know and love God, with the aftermath of entering eternity forever as a stranger to God’s divine life and love.

Finally, the second Lenten prayer about mankind “being dust” reminds us that our bodies had a beginning in time and will have an ending in time; however, God created us in His image and likeness, which has to do with the immateriality of the “spirit” -- that spiritual soul which God created to be immortal, and so eternity and not time, is the destiny God has determined for us. And let us remember that while we had nothing to say about our coming into “time,” we do have the responsibility of electing how we will enter “eternity”-- either with the risen Christ or away from Christ -- as graphically revealed on Good Friday by the actions of the thieves on the right and left of Christ! (Lk 23) Thus, in the death and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ -- the revelation about which the penitential time of Lent reminds us -- God reveals that physical death is not our ending but  rather the closing of “time” and the beginning of our destiny at the judgment seat of God, which will find us either “living” happily in eternity (LK 10:20) or “existing” miserably in eternity (Mt 10:28).

May this Lenten season find us growing more deeply in our faith in the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- for “if Jesus Christ be not risen, we are the most miserable of men, since we are still in our sins” -- which means being left to ourselves, with a sinful proclivity of choosing to listen not to God, but rather to “other than God -- (whose name is “legion”) as did Adam and Eve with its dreadful consequences! (Gn 3:16-24)

Let us remember that if we choose to live by the values of a sinful, God-resistant world, then our faith, whatever it may be, will be determined and consonant to the lifestyle of those habits -- as expressed in identifying    oneself with those who show disdain for the Commandments of God. However, through a prayerful Lenten period, we can experience the fullness of repentance -- the fruit of which is “conversion” to the life and teachings of Christ. The authenticity of this Faith will determine the habits by which we will live out our life -- with an eternity of joy rather than of regret. We have Christ’s Word on it ( CF.Mt19:29) (Jn 15:11).

Or, to paraphrase Bishop Fulton Sheen: Before conversion, our lifestyle   determined what we would believe; but after conversion, it is our faith that determines what our lifestyle should be -- and how we would thus live out our lives on earth as a prelude to the eternity that awaits us!!

Tags: Clergy Corner, Fr. Robert

Clergy Corner

Read our Clergy Corner blog.


When in Doubt…

Friday, February 14, 2020
Unfortunately, when I hear this phrase, I still think of the old rule in school, “when in doubt, Charlie out.” As in, if you... Read More

The Beatitudes

Saturday, February 1, 2020
So what is now the significance of Jesus’ beatitudes and why are they so central to his teaching? The beatitudes respond to the natural... Read More

The Word Made Flesh

Saturday, January 25, 2020
The Word Made Flesh Recently the focus as we moved through Christmas was on the “made flesh” part of this title, but I want to take... Read More


Saturday, January 4, 2020
Today’s epiphany is not only God’s   revelation of Himself; it is also the manifestation of who we really are without God. We... Read More

The Final Push … and then Rejoice!

Saturday, December 21, 2019
Whereas this title could make you think of all kinds of things, I just want to  remind you to buckle in spiritually for the last couple of... Read More

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Friday, December 6, 2019
The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary reminds me of the chalice because in a way, when Mary was carrying Jesus in her womb, she was a... Read More

Alpha and Omega in the Holy Land

Thursday, November 21, 2019
This weekend we celebrate the last Sunday of the Liturgical year in the  Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Christ who... Read More

Overcoming Death

Friday, November 8, 2019
We Christians have a strong faith in life after  death. In fact, eternal life to a Christian does not begin with death, it begins with this... Read More

What are you willing to die for?

Friday, October 25, 2019
Recently, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia spoke to a group of students at Notre Dame and asked them to contemplate what is it that they are... Read More

Increase Our Faith

Saturday, October 12, 2019
We believe that small things have an impact on big things. For example, one misses the train and a chain reaction occurs in which one is late to... Read More

The Greatest Showman

Friday, September 27, 2019
I always tell people that every movie, every song, no matter the setting, has a lesson that can be pulled out. The thing is that that lesson might... Read More

Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!

Sunday, September 8, 2019
We celebrate her birth in a very special way because she gave birth to the Son of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary’s significance to us is... Read More

Past, Present and Future

Saturday, August 31, 2019
Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It makes sense to look at human... Read More

​​​​​​​The True Treasures of the Church

Friday, August 2, 2019
In the year 258AD, Emperor Valerian restarted the persecution against the Christians calling for the execution of every bishop, priest and deacon,... Read More

A New Day will Begin!

Friday, July 19, 2019
In the song, entitled Memory, it says, “Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise, I must think of a new life.  And I mustn’t give in.... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!