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    » 02/21/2007, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: Lent, a time to become Christian again



    Ash Wednesday was at the heart of the reflections of Benedict XVI who made a call for the “rediscovery of Baptism”, to live Lent as a “renewed catechumenate” to learn to “seek God” as Mother Teresa did, who used to say “my all in all”.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Lent, which starts today, Ash Wednesday, is an “opportunity to become Christian again”, to “rediscover our baptism”, which “often is not very efficient in our daily life”. Ash Wednesday, “a particular day, characterized by an intense spirit of meditation and reflection” was the theme tackled by Benedict XVI today when he addressed the faithful who took part in the general audience. The event was once again held in two parts, first in the Basilica of St Peter and then in Paul VI Hall to accommodate the number of people present: around 7,000 in the hall and 3,000 in the basilica.

    Speaking during the general audience, Benedict XVI said that Ash Wednesday, which he will celebrate this afternoon in the Roman basilica of Santa Sabina, introduces the period of the 40 days separating it from Easter “a time of listening to the Word, prayer and penitence: days in which to revive the stages of salvation”.

    The pope recalled that in the early Church, Lent was a “time of immediate preparation for Baptism, to be administered during the Easter vigil” as an invitation to “rediscover” and to give new strength to baptism. Today it has become a “renewed catechumenate to renew our baptism in depth”, “an occasion to become Christians again”.

    A time of conversion, then, because “conversion is never made forever”, rather it is a “journey” which “cannot be limited to a particular time, it must embrace the entire span of our existence, every day of our life.” Converting, in the words of the pope, means “seeking God”, “going with God”, “humbly following the teachings of his son Jesus”: “It is not an effort to realize ourselves”, because “the human being is not architect of himself, we did make ourselves.” “Conversion consists precisely in not thinking that we are our own creators, and thus discovering the truth, accepting with love to depend in everything on love from God” because “depending on this love is not dependence but freedom”. “It is no use pursing our personal success, which is something that passes”. Rather, for the Christian, Christ must become “my all in all”, said the pope, citing as phrase of Mother Teresa.

    In Lent, then, we are ever more stimulated to “tear out” the roots of vanity, to “educate our heart to love God”. The sincere desire for God “leads us to reject evil and to do good, which is above all a free gift of God”, “our true happiness”. This is why Lent, “while inviting us to reflect and to pray, also urges us to emphasize penitence, prayer and fasting” and works of charity towards our brothers, “spiritual paths to follow to return to God in response to the continued calls of conversion in today’s liturgy.”

    May the Lenten period, added Benedict XVI, “be for all a renewed experience of the merciful love of God, who on the cross poured out his blood for us. Let us submit ourselves humbly to his teaching to learn how to give, once again, our love to our neighbours in our turn, especially those who are in difficulties.”

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    See also

    25/01/2006 Vatican
    Pope: "Deus caritas est", all love comes from God and leads to him

    Benedict XVI's first encyclical stresses that it was God to love first.  When eros is concerned first for the other before oneself it becomes agape.  The service of charity is intrinsic to the nature of the Church, but must be "for all", be able to come "from the heart", be independent of ideologies and not have ulterior motives.  The example of Mother Teresa.



    25/01/2006 VATICAN
    "Deus caritas est": God's eros and agape, medicine for the world


    26/08/2010 VATICAN - INDIA
    Message from Pope: Mother Teresa, an "inestimable gift" for the Church and the world
    The message from Benedict XVI for the centenary of the birth of the Blessed was read this morning by Mgr. Lucas Sirkar during mass celebrated in the chapel of the Motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.

    25/09/2005 VATICAN
    The Pope's Angelus address: "Imitate Mother Teresa, an example of active and often heroic charity".


    04/01/2008 VATICAN
    Pope visits the ‘Dono di Maria’ shelter run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa
    The shelter, which opened almost 20 years ago not far from the Pope’s old place of work, was the idea of John Paul II and the Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. The Pontiff urges the missionary sisters and brothers to bring “God’s smile” to the world.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA – VATICAN
    Global Times: the pope should accept the independence of the Chinese Church



    After 24 hours of silence, China’s media today published excerpts, comments and editorials about Pope Francis’ interview with Asia Times. Although the pope did not address religious issues or Church problems, many saw the interview as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican, and advised Francis to accept Mao Zedong’s "three principles of independence" (theology, administration, jurisdiction), which would leave the power to appoint bishops in the hands of the Party. The People's Daily’s Global Times publishes an editorial on the issue.


    INDIA – PHILIPPINES
    Archbishop of Guwahati: In Asia religion is not dying, the faithful take strength from the Eucharist



    Mgr Menamparampil is among the speakers at the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines. He was also a conflict mediator between various ethnic groups. He told AsiaNews about the value of the Congress for the Catholic Church in Asia and how people can bear witness the Gospel today, even amid tensions and violence of those who "hate us." "with the same pain in our hearts that we descend to our depths during a Eucharistic adoration."


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