The Holy Father greeted thousands of pilgrims gathered below his study in St. Peter’s Square today. Before praying the Angelus, he addressed the theme of Lent, saying it is “a time to look evil in the face and combat its effects.”
“What does it mean to enter into Lent? It is the beginning of a particular time of penance to combat the evil present in the world, to look evil in the face and combat its effects,” Benedict XVI challenged.
The Pope told those gathered that Lent is a time to look the evil in our lives in the face, and to combat its causes, especially the ultimate cause, Satan.
“The problem of evil,” he said, “cannot be cast onto others, society, or God.” Rather, Pope Benedict said each person must recognize his own responsibility. It is urgent, he added, that we Christians respond to the invitation of Jesus.
Rather than seeing Lent as a time of misfortune or disgrace, the Holy Father said that by following Christ we can acquire the strength to fight evil together.
“The Life of the Cross is in fact the only way to achieve the victory of love over hatred, of sharing over egoism, of peace over violence. Viewed in this way, Lent is an occasion for gaining ascetic and spiritual depth in the grace of Christ,” the Pope encouraged.
Pope Benedict closed his address by saying, “I invite all believers to enter this "spiritual battle" with hearts full of generosity towards those in need. In this way, we learn to make our lives a total gift to God and to our brothers and sisters. I wish all of you a fruitful preparation for the Paschal Feast.”