Notable quotations from Pope Francis and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.
... I would like ... to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: "Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold" (24:12).
These words appear in Christ's teaching about the end of time. They were spoken ... on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord's passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.
Perhaps we see, deep within ourselves and all about us, the signs I have ... described. But the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and ... to find the consolation God offers ... Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbor as a brother or sister ... Fasting weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth... Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and to our neighbor. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.
... I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.
One such moment of grace will be ... the "24 Hours for the Lord" initiative , which invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration . In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, "With you is forgiveness", this will take place from Friday, March 9 to Saturday, March 10. In each diocese, at least one church will; remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.
(Source: Message for Lent, dated 11/1/2017)
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