Dear Sons and Daughters,
At a time when we are still filled with the spirit and graces of the Holy Year, we are beginning the liturgical season of Lent. Lent is the special period for spiritual reflection – a period in which each person is invited to examine himself or herself in prayer, and to act.
Let us make a sincere effort to prepare ourselves to re-live, in union with the Church, the mysteries of Christ who suffered, died and rose again for the Church herself and for all people.
Dear sons and daughters, this is why “we beg once again not to neglect the grace of God”(2 Cor 6:1) – God who is love and self-giving. And we repeat to you the exhortation which we put forward as one of the conclusions of the Holy Year: “Love the brethren! Love those who need your love and your service (cf. 1 Jn 4:19-21). This will be fraternal and social love – revived and multiplied in good works – which will not only manifest our faithful commitment to the Holy Year, but will also manifest the fruitfulness and relevance of the Holy Year in the years to come…” (Address at the General Audience of 17 December 1975: L’Osservatore Romano of 18 December 1975).
In order that you may have a part in establishing justice, and in order that the Gospel of love may have witness, we ask you to share what you have with those around you. Those who are truly poor always find someone who is poorer still. And share generously in the help that the Churches give to one another. Do this by responding to the yearly appeal that will be made to you by your local Church, for the purpose of helping the people – even though they may be far away from you – who are suffering from hunger and want.
Through your generosity you will be purified, and then you will be ready to enter into the life of Easter, a life lived in the spirit of the Risen Lord.
It is with this hope, dear sons and daughters, of the entire world, that we bless you: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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