Notable quotations from Pope Francis and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer.
Above all, it is a "time of grace" (2 Cor 6:2). God does not ask of us anything that He Himself has not first given us. "We love because He first has loved us" (1 Jn 4:19).
Usually when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned about their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure.
Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent we can speak of a globalization of indifference.
Indifference to our neighbor and to God ... represents a real temptation for ... Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.
The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference. The Church offers us this love of God by her teaching and especially by her witness.
... How greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!
As a way of overcoming indifference and our pretensions to self-sufficiency, I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart.
A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter, but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters. And, ultimately, a poor heart, one which realizes its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.
... Let us all ask the Lord: ... Make our hearts like Yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.
(Source: Message for Lent, dated October 4, 2014, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com