Archbishop Sample recommends “The Confessions” of St. Augustine as Lenten reading in a screen grab from his Feb. 19 Chapel Chat.
Archbishop Sample recommends “The Confessions” of St. Augustine as Lenten reading in a screen grab from his Feb. 19 Chapel Chat.
" No matter how awful our sin has been, no matter how trapped we feel in patterns, habits, addictions of sin, Christ is there to free us from the chains that weigh us down, the chains of shame and guilt. " Archbishop Alexander Sample Ash Wednesday homily
As Lent began, Archbishop Alexander Sample encouraged Catholics to enter the season fully through prayer, fasting and good works, all with the goal of growing closer to Christ.

In a Feb. 21 homily at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northwest Portland (go.sentinel.org/3sf5okr), he noted that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert praying and fasting before beginning his public ministry. If the eternal Son of God prayed and fasted to prepare, “why should we think we don’t need this?” Archbishop Sample asked.

He noted what Jesus said at the outset of his work: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” The archbishop suggested that those words succinctly describe not only Lent but the way to live.

“Open your hearts to Jesus during these days,” the archbishop said, begging listeners to go to confession, even if they have not done so for decades. There are few greater joys for a priest, he said, than having someone come to the sacrament after a long time.

“No matter how awful our sin has been, no matter how trapped we feel in patterns, habits, addictions of sin, Christ is there to free us from the chains that weigh us down, the chains of shame and guilt,” he said in his Ash Wednesday homily Feb. 17 (go.sentinel.org/2ZII5TT).

The archbishop called Lent his favorite liturgical season and explained that it was 37 years ago during this time that he decided to step away from engineering studies and into the seminary. “God has really worked in my life during these days,” he said during Ash Wednesday at the cathedral.

The archbishop said prayer, fasting and almsgiving are not only Lenten traditions but are pillars of the spiritual life at all times.

He told worshippers that Jesus often went to quiet places after long days of ministry. On almsgiving, the archbishop urged worshippers to note Jesus’ example of mercy and healing. “He was the model of love and compassion and mercy to those in need,” he said.

He explained that the goal of penance is not misery but strengthening the free will. “If I can say no to chocolate, I can say no to sin,” the archbishop said.

During a Feb. 12 livestreamed Chapel Chat from his home chapel (go.sentinel.org/3qLn6f3), he reminded listeners that during Lent they are preparing themselves to celebrate the most important event of all creation: the Passion, death and Resurrection of Christ.

“This is the event that has saved us,” he said. “We have been made for eternity.”

He urged 15 minutes of prayer a day, especially a simple heart-to-heart conversation with God. He suggested choosing a penance that is not too easy but that “bites” a bit. And he recommended that all open their hearts to the poor, who are human beings as much as anyone else.

“As you go through Lent think, ‘I am getting ready to renew my baptismal promises, I am getting ready to renew my commitment to Jesus Christ, to renew my commitment to my Catholic faith, to strengthen my commitment to live my baptism by trying to become a saint by seeking holiness of life,’” the archbishop said.