POPE FRANCIS’ LENTEN MESSAGE CALLS FOR CONVERSION
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis warns that once God’s law is forsaken, the law of the strong over the weak takes over.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)
Pope Francis is calling on the faithful not to let the Lenten season of grace pass in vain, and to live as children of God acknowledging and obeying His law, in particular in regards to our brothers and sisters and to creation. In this year’s Lenten message, the Pope invites believers to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed, warning that “Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests”.
The Pope’s Lenten message was released on Tuesday during a press conference at the Holy See Press Office. The theme chosen this year is “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19)
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 6 March, and will conclude on Holy Saturday, 20 April, the day before Easter.
“Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them”.
This is one of the key passages of Pope Francis’ Lenten Message for 2019. Reflecting on a verse from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the Pope highlights how the season before Easter must be a time to “welcome Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives”, and attract “its transforming power to all of creation”
Fasting, prayer, almsgiving
Appealing to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Pope Francis says that if, “the Lent of the Son of God ‘was an entry into the desert of creation to make it become again that garden of communion with God” that it was before the original sin, Christians today are invited “to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.”
Fasting, the Pope says, means turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity; Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego; Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.
If we follow this journey, he said it “is possible to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness”.
The path to Easter, therefore, demands that “we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness” the Pope said pointing out that it is a call that involves the whole of creation.
This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, Pope Francis says, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails.
VATICAN TO AWAIT APPEAL OF PELL GUILTY VERDICT
The following statement was released this morning by the Holy See Press Office:
The Holy See agrees with the statement issued by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference regarding the sentence of guilt in the first instance concerning Cardinal George Pell.
This is painful news that, as we are well aware, has shocked many people, not only in Australia. As already expressed on other occasions, we have the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities.
Out of this respect, we await the outcome of the appeals process, recalling that Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence and has the right to defend himself until the last stage of appeal.
While awaiting the definitive judgement, we unite ourselves with the Australian bishops in praying for all victims of abuse, and reaffirm our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church might be a safe home for all, especially for children and the most vulnerable.
In order to ensure the course of justice, the Holy Father has confirmed the precautionary measures which had been imposed by the local Ordinary on Cardinal George Pell when he returned to Australia. That is, while awaiting the definitive assessment of the facts, as is the norm, Cardinal George Pell is prohibited from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors.