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Pope Francis: Fasting 'chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else'

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/10/2014 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Pope offers guidance during the Lenten season

"Rend your hearts, not your garments," Pope Francis said in regards to the Lenten season. The pope offered a homily before receiving and distributing ashes at an evening Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina. Focusing on a line from the prophet Joel, Pope Francis wished to remind others that Lent is meant to wake up Christians. The season is intended to help the faithful see that God can give them the strength to change their lives and their surroundings.

Conversion, the pope said, starts with recognizing that 'we are creatures, that we are not God.' Too many people today, he said, think they have power and 'play at being God the creator.'

Conversion, the pope said, starts with recognizing that "we are creatures, that we are not God." Too many people today, he said, think they have power and "play at being God the creator."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
3/10/2014 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope francis, Lenten Season, fasting, almsgiving, sacrifice


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During Ash Wednesday Mass in Rome, Pope Francis said that the Prophet Joel "reminds us that conversion can't be reduced to exterior forms or vague resolutions, but involves and transforms one's entire existence, starting with the center of the person, the conscience."

Conversion, the pope said, starts with recognizing that "we are creatures, that we are not God." Too many people today, he said, think they have power and "play at being God the creator."

Prayer, Fasting and AlmsgivingĀ 

Christians during Lent are called to use the three elements the Gospel recommends for spiritual growth: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

"In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could lead to a hardness of heart, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of the boundless love of God, in order to experience his tenderness," the Pope said.

Christians at this time are called to think of the needs of others, "interceding before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering" in the world.

In regards to fasting, Pope Francis says that the purpose isn't just to follow the rules for Lenten fasting and abstinence. This could lead to self-satisfaction.

"Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him," he said.

Fasting should "exercise the heart" in order to recognize what is absolutely essential and to teach one how to share with others. "It is a sign of becoming aware of and taking responsibility for injustice and oppression, especially of the poor and the least, and is a sign of the trust we place in God and his providence."

Almsgiving is a practice that should be common among all Christians, but especially during Lent, he said. Christians give concrete help and attention to those in need, asking nothing in return, as they recognize how much God has given them even though that they were not deserving.

Almsgiving also helps free people from "the obsession of possession, from the fear of losing what they have and from the sadness of not sharing their well-being with others," the Pope said.

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

"Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy," the Pope said.

The Ash Wednesday Mass began after a penitential procession from the nearby monastery of St Anselm. To a chanted litany of saints, the Pope walked behind Benedictines from St Anselm, Dominicans from Santa Sabina and cardinals who work in the Vatican.

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