Loading
Pope describes ‘Lenten road’ that leads to renewal
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- During today’s general audience, Pope Benedict XVI invited the faithful make the “Lenten journey” together with Christ, to return to the grace and commitment of conversion, and reach Easter “renewed.”

More than 7,000 pilgrims and faithful were on hand at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall during the March 9 general audience. The gathering coincided with Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent.

The “austere symbol of the ashes” are the beginning of the spiritual path that leads to Easter, said the Pope. They are “a sign reminding us of our status as created beings and inviting us to penance, to intensify our commitment to conversion so as to continue following the Lord.”

At Ash Wednesday Masses all over the world, priests mark the beginning of Lent by making a sign of the cross with ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a physical symbol of repentance and the temporary nature of earthly life.

“Lent is a journey,” said Pope Benedict. “It means accompanying Jesus as he travels to Jerusalem, the place where the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection is to be fulfilled.”

The season is a reminder to Christians of "the road to be traveled, consisting not so much in a law to be observed as in the person of Christ himself, who must be encountered, welcomed and followed."

This is experienced most of all through the liturgy in which believers are drawn closer to the figure of Christ by reliving the very events that granted man his salvation, he explained.

"Participating in the liturgy means then emerging our lives in the mystery of Christ, in his permanent presence, walking a path in which we enter into his death and resurrection to have life."

Pope Benedict explained that the liturgical readings of the Sundays of Lent—which were used in ancient times to prepare Christians for baptism—offer an opportunity for the faithful to return to the foundation of Christian life in a "baptismal itinerary."

"They are the great announcement of what God carries out in this Sacrament, a stupendous baptismal catechesis directed at each of us," he said.

Pope Benedict then walked through the successive readings for the Sundays of Lent.

The first Sunday's liturgy describes the temptation of Jesus in the desert, through which all Christians are invited "to renew our definitive choice for God, and courageously to face the struggle that awaits us in remaining faithful to Him," he said.

On the second Sunday, the "Sunday of Abraham," the faithful are invited to "abandon the certainties we have constructed and place our faith in God," said the Pope.

The three following Sundays present baptism as water, light and life, he explained. The Samaritan woman serves as a reminder that "we too received the water that saves."

Jesus gives the blind man sight, which shows that through Baptism man is liberated and receives the light of Christ.

And finally, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead on the final Sunday before Easter teaches about life. "In Baptism," explained the Pope, "we pass from death to life and become capable of pleasing God, of causing the 'old man' to die so as to live in the spirit of the Risen One."

The Lenten experience is deepened through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, and the period invites "a more trusting and intense prayer" and greater meditation on Scripture, he said.

"On this Lenten journey, let us be attentive to welcoming Christ's invitation to follow him more decisively and coherently, renewing the grace and commitments of our Baptism, so as to ... clothe ourselves in Christ, thus reaching Easter renewed and being able to say with St. Paul 'it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me'."

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
21

Liturgical Calendar

December 21, 2014

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14