Fasting, alms & prayer! Pope Encourages Faithful to Return to Essentials of Lent
March 6, 2019
Cover Photo : Pope Francis on March 6, 2019, delivered a simple and direct message at the start of Lent: return to what is essential.
Note:The goal of Life’s journey is to reach the Lord, if we have gone astray to retrace the path that leads to him, said Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday, starting the Lenten season.
Almsgiving, prayer and fasting, are the three sure steps Pope recommends to the faithful for this Lenten season. Almsgiving unites one with his neighbour, prayer with God and fasting with ourselves to look into our minds and hearts and body to cleanse them from all worldly attachments.
It is this vertical, horizontal and internal unity with the cosmic controller of the universe that Francis recommends for his faithful. james kottoor,editor ccv.
Please read below the Zenit report on
Pope’s Lenten message
“To return. If we have to return, it means that we have wandered off,” the Holy Father said. “Lent is the time to rediscover the direction of life. Because in life’s journey, as in every journey, what really matters is not to lose sight of the goal.”
He comments came during his homily for Ash Wednesday Mass in the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome. Before Mass, in the church of Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino, a moment of prayer was held, followed by a penitential procession towards the Basilica of Santa Sabina for Mass and the imposition of ashes. The Cardinals, the Archbishops, the Bishops, the Benedictine Monks of Sant’Anselmo, the Dominican Fathers of Santa Sabina and some faithful took part in the procession.
“If what interests us as we travel, however, is looking at the scenery or stopping to eat, we will not get far,” the Holy Father continued. “We should ask ourselves: On the journey of life, do I seek the way forward? Or am I satisfied with living in the moment and thinking only of feeling good, solving some problems and having fun? What is the path? Is it the search for health, which many today say comes first but which eventually passes? Could it be possessions and wellbeing? But we are not in the world for this. Return to me, says the Lord. To me. The Lord is the goal of our journey in this world. The direction must lead to him.”
The Pope cited the Gospel, pointing to three steps for the faithful to undertake during Lent “without hypocrisy and pretense: almsgiving, prayer, fasting.” The Holy Father explained:“Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting bring us back to the three realities that do not fade away. Prayer reunites us to God; charity, to our neighbor; fasting, to ourselves. God, my neighbor, my life: these are the realities that do not fade away and in which we must invest.
“Lent, therefore, invites us to focus, first of all on the Almighty, in prayer, which frees us from that horizontal and mundane life where we find time for self but forget God. It then invites us to focus on others, with the charity that frees us from the vanity of acquiring and of thinking that things are only good if they are good for me. Finally, Lent invites us to look inside our heart, with fasting, which frees us from attachment to things and from the worldliness that numbs the heart. Prayer, charity, fasting: three investments for a treasure that endures.”