Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona encouraged Catholics in Spain to seek God in the poor and needy this Lent.
“If fasting invites us to sobriety, almsgiving is a call to solidarity. This human and Christian virtue is always necessary, but it is especially urgent in these times of great economic crisis,” the cardinal said in his Lenten message.
Christ calls us to a conversion of the heart, the cardinal continued, because without it, “our works of penance would be sterile and deceiving.”
Thus, the cardinal said, Lent is an opportune time “to reflect on how we live, on the meaning of the things we possess, on the spiritual meaning of fasting, and, especially in this current economic situation, on sharing our own goods with those who are in need.”
Cardinal Martinez Sistach also said Lent should be a time to “strengthen our Christian identity,” returning to our Christian roots. “We must deepen our Christian convictions. This makes us more welcoming to other ethnicities and cultures in order to mutually enrich one another,” he said.
“If we become converted in the human and Christian virtue of solidarity, our Lent will not be a mere parenthesis” before returning to our previous way of life, the cardinal said.
The current crisis does not only require personal conversion, but also institutional changes in favor of greater justice and equity for the needy of our society and the world,” he stated.