Last Wednesday the Catholic Church started celebrating the season of Lent. The following are excerpts from Pope Francis’s message for the occasion.
Sin: the root of all evil
“The root of all evil, as we know, is sin, which from its first appearance has disrupted our communion with God, with others and with creation itself, [and] to which we are linked in a particular way by our body.
“This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18).
“Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master, and to use it not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures.”
The redemption of creation
“The celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ (cf. Rom 8:29) is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.
“When we live as children of God, redeemed, led by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:14) and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts and in nature, we also benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption.
“That is why St Paul says that creation eagerly longs for the revelation of the children of God; in other words, that all those who enjoy the grace of Jesus’s paschal mystery may experience its fulfilment in the redemption of the human body itself.”
A programme for Lent
“The ‘lenten’ period of 40 days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3).
“May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be ‘set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom 8:21).
“Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’s pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them.”
(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)
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