Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
The evocative rite of the imposition of ashes marks the beginning of the holy season of Lent, when the Liturgy once more calls the faithful to radical conversion and trust in Godís mercy.
This yearís theme ó "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me" ó invites us to reflect on the condition of children.
"To become" one of the least and "to receive" the little ones: These are two aspects of a single teaching which the Lord repeats to His disciples in our time. Only the one who makes himself one of the "least" is able to receive with love the "least" of our brothers and sisters.
Jesus took human suffering upon Himself and illuminated it with the radiant light of His Resurrection. By His death, He conquered death once for all.
During Lent, we prepare to relive the Paschal Mystery, which sheds the light of hope upon the whole of our existence, even its most complex and painful aspects.
Let us set out with trust on our Lenten journey, sustained by fervent prayer, penance and concern for those in need.
May this Lent be a time of ever greater concern for the needs of children, in our own families and in society as a whole: for they are the future of humanity.
Our Father! Let us repeat this prayer often during Lent; let us repeat it with deep emotion.
By calling God "Our Father", we will better realize we are His children and feel we are brothers and sisters of one another.
It will be easier for us to open our hearts to the little ones, following the invitation of Jesus: "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me" (Mt 18:5).
(Source: 2004 Lenten Message, issued December 8, 2003)
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