On the eve of Lent, Pope Francis has sought God’s grace in allowing Catholics to “celebrate with renewed hearts” the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, while rejecting “the father of lies”.
In a message released on Feb. 24, the pope called on Catholics to return to this “cornerstone” of their “personal and communal Christian life” which is observed during the Lent season, allowing the “great mystery” of the death and resurrection to grow within their minds and hearts.
Pope Francis said that the Good News is the source of Christian joy, exposing “the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will.”
He warned that if people instead listen to “the tempting voice of the ‘father of lies’,” they will be faced with “hell on earth,” a reality which “too many tragic events in the personal and collective human experience” have sadly borne witness to.”
The pope further called on Catholics during Lent to experience the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ as an ever-present event. That, he said, will enable them “to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer.”
Pope Francis added that with the Good News serving as the focus of a Christian’s life, the faithful will feel “compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence.”
The pope likewise said Christians will feel the suffering of Christ in environmental disasters, unequal wealth distribution, human trafficking, and “the unbridled thirst for profit,” which he called a “form of idolatry.”
“I ask Mary Most Holy to pray that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with him,” Pope Francis said.
“In this way, we will become what Christ asks his disciples to be: The salt of the earth and the light of the world.”