“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.” In the Act of Contrition, from the bottom of our hearts, we express our sadness and sorrow and the pain of hurting God with our sins. We seek God’s mercy and beg for his peace because we have separated ourselves from him. We promise God our Father that with the help of his grace we will not sin again. However, we know that we are weak and prone to sin and we are always in need of God’s mercy. Thank God for the gift of his Sacraments since they heal us and help us avoid sin and become more faithful to our baptismal promises. This is our Lenten call – to repent and return to God with all our heart. To return to his way, his word, his will. Lent is that special time where we allow the Lord to heal us from the effects of our sins. It is the time to ask for the grace of forgiveness and to have a heart of forgiveness toward those who have hurt or wronged us. We do this in preparation to celebrate the Easter Season with great joy knowing that we have been delivered from darkness and have received the light of eternal life. This is the Easter gift we received at baptism, that is restored in the Sacrament of Penance and nourished in the Sacrifice of the Mass. When we are baptized we enter into relationship with God, our sins are erased and we become beloved children of God. God takes our hearts and forms them into the Heart of Christ and the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with his holy fire and the awesome gifts of his love. When we sin, we separate ourselves from God. Without his grace, without his love, without his light, we are blind and walk in total darkness like sheep that have lost their way. That is why this season is so important for our faith, our souls and our spiritual journeys. Our Lord wants us to be holy as he is holy – so he says, “even now… return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.” Our Lord wants to help us. He wants to forgive us. He wants to heal us. We can allow him in the Sacrament of Penance. Lent is a time of God’s infinite love and divine mercy. It is a time to finally forgive and be forgiven. It is a time to return to the Lord so that he can heal your heart and fill it with his love. Please, I beg you, don’t let another season of grace simply pass you by.