These words come from Pope and Martyr St Clement I: ‘If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God’s message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God’s forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God’s people. … In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by His own almighty will. That is why we should obey His sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat His mercy and kindness. … Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when He taught gentleness and forbearance. “Be merciful”, He said, “so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated”. … Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe, and hold fast to his splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all his blessings’.

We pray especially this day for the people of Ukraine. May God bless your keeping of Lent, and may it be a time of grace and peace for you.