Notable quotations from Pope Benedict XVI and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God — the God of Jesus Christ —and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others.
Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ's love and accordingly, under the influence of that love ... they are profoundly open to loving their neighbor in concrete ways.
This attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and even served by the Lord, Who bends down to wash the feet of the Apostles and offers Himself on the Cross to draw humanity into God's love.
Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love... Love is the light ... that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working.
When we make room for the love of God, then we become like Him, sharing in His own charity. If we open ourselves to His love, we allow Him to live in us and to bring us to love with Him, in Him, and like Him; only then does our faith become truly "active through love" (Gal 5:6); only then does He abide in us (cf. 1 Jn 4:12).
The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from Him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God's own love.
It is important ... to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelization, which is the "ministry of the word".
Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbor, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.
(Source: Message for Lent, 10/15/12)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com