Pope for Lent: With God there is always a dialogue of the heart
The Vatican releases Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2020, in which the Holy Father invites the faithful to embrace the paschal mystery as the basis for conversion.
In his Message for Lent 2020, Pope Francis points to the paschal mystery – the mystery of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection – as the basis of conversion. The Message bears the title “We implore you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God”, a quote from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.
An invitation to relationship with God
“This kerygma [fundamental proclamation of the Gospel message] sums up the mystery of a love ‘so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue’, the Pope writes. “Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do as we will”.
Pope Francis says that during this season of Lent, he wants to invite the faithful to fix their eyes on the crucified Lord, and allow ourselves “to be saved over and over again”. “Jesus’ Pasch is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer”.
The importance of prayer.
The Holy Father emphasizes the importance of prayer during Lent, as a means of responding to God’s love, “which always precedes and sustains us”. We are also called to hear and respond to the Word of Jesus, in order to experience “the mercy He freely gives us”.
God is always engaged in a “dialogue of salvation with us”, despite our weaknesses and failings, the Pope says. This desire to save us “led the Father to burden His Son with the weight of our sins, thus, in the expression of Pope Benedict XVI, ‘turning of God against Himself’ (Deus caritas est, 12)”.
A commitment to building a better world.
“Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence”. This means being personally committed to and involved in “the building of a better world”, the Pope says.
Christ’s wounds are also represented in “environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry,” he stated.
Regarding almsgiving he said that sharing one’s worldly goods helps to make the world a better place.
“Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness.”
Francis said apart from giving alms, Christians must also consider the structure of economic life, which is why he has convened in March a meeting with young men and women from around the world to bring about “a more just and inclusive economy.”
“The Economy of Francesco,” which will be attended by around 2,000 economists and entrepreneurs under the age of 35, will be held in Assisi March 26-28.
Pope Francis pointed to the crucified Jesus, who was sinless yet took on “the weight of our sins.”
“May we not let this time of grace pass in vain, in the foolish illusion that we can control the times and means of our conversion to him,” he urged.
Pope Francis concludes his message with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary “that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to Himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with Him”.
Some other practical ideas…
You’ve been meaning to stop using straws, plastic bags, and containers—there’s no better time than now to get into a better habit.
Leaving Lights On
If you’ve practically forgotten where the light switch is in a room, this idea is for you. Your energy bill will thank you.
As any KonMari fanatic will tell you, clutter isn’t about being disorganized. It’s usually about having way too much. Think about donating an item (or more) per day, especially for categories like clothing that you haven’t been able to bear parting with.
Complaining, nagging, and criticism bring you down (and rarely gets results anyway).
Fast Food & Dining Out
Instead of making a habit of hitting the drive-thru, getting delivery, or eating at restaurants, try a little meal prep to get mealtime back on schedule. You also might notice a lot more money in your budget.
A little bit here, a little bit there, and suddenly, it feels weird not to have a bag or bar in hand between meals.
The thing about spending too much time on social media is that it makes you feel like you’re catching up with friends, but you’re actually not. Instead of messaging, commenting, and scrolling, rediscover the lost art of talking on the phone (or meet up in person if your schedule allows).
Instead of sharing details of a friend or acquaintance’s misadventure, take a moment to say something positive about them instead (or nothing at all).
Sure, there are certain things you can’t leave off of your to-do list. But overcommitting to the unnecessary-but-nice-to-do stuff is a bad habit that can keep you from the real priorities in life.
Your News Addiction
It’s one thing to be informed, it’s another to constantly refresh your favorite website, check every news alert, or get lost in hashtags about the latest breaking news.
Another day, another sale that you just can’t pass up. Pretty soon, you’re not even noticing the blow to your budget (or how you might be buying stuff you already have).
Staying Up Late
If you have a habit of pushing back your bedtime to catch up on reading, Instagram, TV, and other distractions, you’re likely spending the daytime hours exhausted (and unable to give 100% to anything). Why not see what it’s like to be an early bird?