14 February this year is both St Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, the first time since 1945 that these days overlap. Pope Francis’ message for Lent references hearts, love and being ardent, taking as his theme “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24:12).
“Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer,” the Pope said in his message, released on 6 February.
“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.”
The effect of individualism and greed “leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own “certainties”: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.” The impact is far -reaching – our very planet is affected. “The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest. The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration. The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing his praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death.”
Lent gives us the opportunity to start over. “Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life,” the Pope said. “With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth.”
Learn more about this season and what it invites us to be and to do:
We invite you to participate in our Lenten series of reflections commencing on Ash Wednesday with a new reflection for each week. Join us for: “Reflecting on… the Gift of Creation”.
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