Pope Francis: Lent is a time to react to material, spiritual misery.
In his Ash Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis emphasized that Lent is a time of conversion in which the faithful grow in awareness of Christ’s redemptive work and recall the mystery of baptism.
Gratitude for the mystery of Christ’s love, he said, leads to conversion, and baptism calls Christians not to become used to the “degradation and misery” around us. Christians, said Pope Francis, should not passively accept violence, homelessness, a lack of acceptance of refugees, or “living in a society that claims to do without God, in which parents do not teach their children to pray anymore or to make the sign of the cross.”
“Do your children know how to make the sign of the cross?” he asked. “Do your grandchildren know how to make the sign of the cross? … how to pray the Our Father … how to pray to the Madonna with the Hail Mary?”
“Lent comes to us as a providential time to change course, to recover the capacity to react in the face of the reality of evil that always challenges us,” Pope Francis added. “Thanksgiving to God for the mystery of his crucified love, authentic faith, conversion and opening of the heart to our brothers, these are the essential elements for living the time of Lent.”