Vatican: Pope Francis Lent 2022 Message

The Pontiff based his reflection on St. Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians. Francis warns against “the temptation is to close ourselves up in individualistic selfishness and to take refuge in indifference.”

Vatican City (25/02/2022 11:15 AM, Gaudium Press) On Thursday, 24, The Vatican released  Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2022. The reflection is based on a passage from St. Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians: “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal 6, 9-10a).

Lent, a time to sow

Commenting on the Apostle’s passage about sowing and reaping, the Holy Father affirms that Lent is the proper time to sow. And he goes on to say that The first to sow is God himself, who with great generosity “continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family” (Fratelli Tutti, 54). This call to sow goodness should not be seen as a burden but a grace, whereby the Creator wishes us to be actively united with his own bountiful goodness.”

The Pontiff asks: “But what kind of harvest are we talking about? A first fruit of the goodness we sow appears in ourselves and our daily lives, even in our little acts of kindness. In God, no act of love, no matter how small, and no “generous effort” will ever be lost (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 279).

And he emphasizes that we can only see a small part of the fruit of what we sow because, according to the Gospel proverb, ‘one sows, while another reaps’ (Jn 4:37) When we sow for the benefit of others, we share in God’s own benevolent love.”

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Sowing goodness for the benefit of others frees us from narrow self-interest, infuses our actions with gratuitousness, and makes us part of the magnificent horizon of God’s benevolent plan,” he emphasizes.

“Let us not grow tired of doing good”

Dealing with the second point of the Apostle’s expression, “Let us not grow tired of doing good,” the Pope warns that in face of the disillusionment of so many shattered dreams, “the temptation is to close ourselves up in individualistic selfishness and to take refuge in indifference. Yet God’ gives strength to the weary, he strengthens the powerless… Those who hope in the Lord will regain their strength’.”

For this reason, we cannot tire of praying, “We need to pray because we need God. Thinking that we need nothing other than ourselves is a dangerous illusion. If the pandemic has heightened the awareness of our own personal and social fragility, may this Lent allow us to experience the consolation provided by Faith in God, without whom we cannot stand firm (cf. Is 7:9). No one attains salvation alone, since we are all in the same boat, amid the storms of history; and certainly no one reaches salvation without God, for only the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ triumphs over the dark waters of death.”

Let us practice fasting and almsgiving

He then extends the invitation that through Lenten fasting, our spirit should be strengthened for the fight against sin. Let us not grow tired of asking for forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, knowing that God never tires of forgiving,” he urged.

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The Pontiff also invited the faithful to practice almsgiving, giving joyfully through an operative charity towards their neighbour: Lent is a favourable time to seek out – and not to avoid – those in need; to reach out – and not to ignore – those who need a sympathetic ear and a good word; to visit – and not to abandon – those who are lonely.

Fasting prepares the ground, prayer waters it, charity fertilizes it

Finally, Francis addressed the third point of St. Paul’s words, “In due time we will reap, if we have not faded away.” Here he called for perseverance and Faith, pointing out that Lent reminds us that goodness, love, justice and solidarity must be conquered daily.

In this season of conversion, sustained by God’s grace and by the communion of the Church, let us not grow tired of doing good. The soil is prepared by fasting, watered by prayer and enriched by charity. Let us believe firmly that “if we do not give up, we shall reap our harvest in due time” and that, with the gift of perseverance, we shall obtain what was promised (cf. Heb 10:36), for our salvation and the salvation of others (cf. 1 Tim 4:16),” he concluded. (EPC)

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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