Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins CNS photo/Bill Wittman

Sharing Christ can fill our lives: Collins

  • February 21, 2008

TORONTO - As Christians, particularly Catholic Christians, “we live our lives between the ashes and the fire,” Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins told more than 100 Catholic businesspeople Feb. 20.

Collins was referring to the ashes of Ash Wednesday and the fire of the Easter Vigil. For him, the ashes are a reminder that the many material and earthly anxieties which enslave us are ultimately nothing but ashes. But the small fire that marks the beginning of the Easter Vigil represents the light of Christ.

“We catch the fire with our candles. We share it with our neighbours. . . . Pretty soon the whole church is lit up,” he said. This is an apt symbol for how sharing Christ with others can fill our lives.

The archbishop’s reflection on Lent at the Delta Chelsea Hotel was the beginning of what he hopes will become a regular series of spiritual reflections for Catholic businesspeople, which could feature other speakers. He focused on the need to take time during Lent to reflect more fully on the meaning of our lives.

“Lent is one of the forms of Sabbath we have in our lives,” he said. “And Sabbath is not an optional item.”

Sabbath means taking time away from the busyness of daily life to ask deeper questions. Like the border officer who asks us: “Who are you?” “Where are you coming from?” and “Where are you going?” Lent pushes us to ask ourselves the same questions.

Collins likened Lent to a service station on Highway 401. While travelling long distances on this freeway, from time to time we have to pull aside, seek refreshment and fuel and, maybe, look at the map for directions.

During Lent, we look inside to recognize those things that are ashes — the “cholesterol of spiritual life,” the archbishop said — that can block our spiritual paths and get in the way of our relationships with God and others. Prayer and the sacrament of Reconciliation give us the opportunity to do that.

He also explained how the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving provide concrete ways to become free of material addictions and more aware of the greater reality around us.

“We need to sharpen our ability to see. . . to see the presence of God and to see the people around us,” he said.

The morning gathering was organized through the offices of Regis College and Salt+Light TV.

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