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Pope: Crossing the Desert, Abandoning Ourselves to God

Going into the desert meant voluntarily exposing himself to the enemy's attacks, to temptation... and entering into battle with him on the open field.

'In Christ's heart, at the center of His human and divine person, the entire drama of freedom was wagered in decisive and definitive terms.'  (Pope Benedict XVI)

'In Christ's heart, at the center of His human and divine person, the entire drama of freedom was wagered in decisive and definitive terms.' (Pope Benedict XVI)


VATICAN CITY (VIS) - On Ash Wednesday, Benedict XVI presided over the traditional penitential procession from the church of St. Anselm on the Aventine Hill to the Basilica of Santa Sabina where he celebrated Mass. The Pope received ashes from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Titular of the basilica and then distributed ashes to the cardinals and bishops present as well as to various faithful. In his homily, the Pope stressed that the "absolute certainty" of God's love sustained Christ during the forty days he spent in the Judean desert. "That long time of silence and fasting for him was a complete abandonment to the Father and to His plan of love. Going into the desert meant voluntarily exposing himself to the enemy's attacks, to temptation" and "entering into battle with him on the open field, defying him without any weapon other than his infinite trust in the Father's omnipotent love". "Adam was expelled from the earthly paradise, the symbol of communion with God", the pontiff said. "Now, in order to return to that communion and thus to eternal life we must pass through the desert, the test of faith. Not alone but with Jesus who proceeds us and who has already conquered in the fight against the spirit of evil. This is the meaning of Lent, the liturgical time that, each year, invites us to renew our decision to follow Christ on the path of humility in order to participate in his victory over sin and death". It is from this perspective that we understand the penitential sign of the ashes, the Holy Father explained. "Essentially, they are a gesture of humility that means: I recognize myself for what I am, a fragile creature made of earth and destined to return to the earth, but also made in the image of God and destined to return to Him. Dust, yes, but dust that is loved and shaped by His love capable of recognizing His voice and responding to Him; free and thus also capable of disobeying, of giving in to the temptation of pride and self-sufficiency". "Sin", Benedict XVI stated, "basically consists in disobeying God, in a lack of love. The first act of justice is recognizing one's own iniquity rooted at the heart of each person.  An expression of penitence is only worthy in God's eyes if it is the sign of a sincerely repentant heart. The true reward is not the admiration of others but friendship with God and the grace that derives from Him, the grace that gives peace and the strength to do good". "In Christ's heart, at the center of His human and divine person, the entire drama of freedom was wagered in decisive and definitive terms. God brought His plan of salvation to its ultimate consequences, remaining faithful in His love even at the expense of delivering His only Son to death. Thanks to Christ's action we can enter in to the "greater" justice, which is the justice of love". "Lent enlarges our horizon, orients us toward eternal life it makes us to understand the relativity of earthly goods and thus enables us to make the necessary renunciations, frees us to do good", the Holy Father concluded.

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.

Keywords:



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1 - 10 of 12 Comments

  1. flora
    4 years ago

    Yes,as the pope said ,listen to your heart this holy season of Lent and avoid sin. As the Word of God says, Let us not be "good for nothing "by listening to the dictates of our own heart,But listen to "God "what he is commanding us to do in His word.

  2. Cynthia John
    4 years ago

    Beautiful homily and a wonderful reminder of the importance of Lent and all that it stands for!

  3. Laura J. Ambriz
    4 years ago

    I Loved that the Pope said "Dust, yes but dust that is loved and shaped..." we are definitely loved and our lives shaped by him our Creator and savior, we need to remember how much he loves us and wants all good for us and all we have to do is love him the way he loves us with all our heart, souls and minds, and treat others as we would treat him, and we would have every single thing our hearts desire, for to love the Lord as he loves us is the greatest treasure we have because a Father gives every good thing to his children, during this lent I intend to love him more than ever before, he has given me every good thing and with this insight of his love, know that my life though short will honor and keep him before me always

    Laura J. Ambriz

  4. SAR
    4 years ago

    Yes, let us walk with Jesus in the Desert by praying with him all day just repeating His Name JESUS - the best prayer there is

  5. Mary
    4 years ago

    An inspiring Homily, this one from the Holy Father. Let us walk with Christ in the desert of penance and by holding His hand in repentance we shall emerge victorious just like He did. God bless you all during this Holy Season

  6. Andy Holland
    4 years ago

    "The Church is Definitely in the DESERT these days."

    Maybe so - but the Pope is definitely with Jesus and Jesus is with him.

  7. austin chris
    4 years ago

    christ died for our sins.not for my sins nor for the sins of catholic.so my brothers and sisters let us encourage our fellow christian to join us so as to fast and gain redemption.and i pray that God almighty will answer our prayers and grant us salvation with redemption.Amen

  8. Donald Tremblay Sr.
    4 years ago

    All of us live our lives in the
    desert,searching until we return
    to the ground.

  9. Catherine Fianu
    4 years ago

    May God Almighty bless our Holy Father the Pope for reminding us once again to journey with Christ during this lenten period. l pray for divine grace.

  10. J
    4 years ago

    The Church is Definitely in the DESERT these days.


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