Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A small pocket book entitled "Guard your heart" as an aid to the "journey of conversion" during Lent, "which is centered on the heart". Pope Francis gifted the booklet to all present in St Peter's Square today after the Angelus. It was distributed by many volunteers including several homeless people .
"This booklet - said the pope - contains teachings of Jesus and the essentials of our faith, such as the seven sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Ten Commandments, the virtues, the works of mercy ... Now they will be distributed by volunteers, among whom there are many homeless people, who have come on pilgrimage. Those who are in need are also the ones who give us this great wealth: the wealth of our doctrine. Take a booklet each and bring it with you, as an aid to conversion and spiritual growth, which always starts from the heart: there where the daily choices between good and evil are played out, between worldliness and the Gospel, between indifference and sharing. Humanity needs justice, peace, and only by returning with all our heart to God, who is the source, we will have them. Take the book and read it, everyone".
Previously Francis commented on the Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent (Mark 1,12-15), which tells the 40 days of Jesus in the desert, "led by the Spirit." "The desert - explained the pope - is the place where you can hear the voice of God and the voice of the tempter. In the noise and confusion this cannot be done; we can only hear superficial rumors. Instead in the desert we can go deeper, where our destiny, life or death, is really played out. And how do we hear the voice of God? We hear it in His Word. It is therefore important to know the scriptures, because otherwise we do not know to respond to the attacks of the evil one. The Lenten desert helps us to say no to worldliness, to 'idols', it helps us to make courageous choices in accordance with the Gospel and our strengthen solidarity with our brothers and sisters".
urged the Pope - we enter the desert without fear, because we are not alone, we
are with Jesus, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In fact, as it was for
Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit who guides us in the Lenten journey , that same
Spirit descended on Jesus and that was given to us in Baptism. Lent, therefore,
is a time that should lead us to be ever more aware of what the Holy Spirit,
received in Baptism, has worked and can work in us . And at the end of the
Lenten journey, at the Easter Vigil, we renew with greater awareness the
baptismal covenant and the commitments that follow from it".
Lent, he continued, "is a time of spiritual battle against the spirit of evil (cf. Opening Prayer Ash Wednesday). And while we cross the Lenten 'desert', we keep one eye fixed on the Passover, which is the final victory of Jesus against evil, against sin and against death. Here then is the significance of this first Sunday of Lent: setting out on a clear path of Jesus, the road that leads to life".
"May the Holy Virgin, model of docility to the Spirit, help us to be led
by Him, who desires to make each of us a" new creature. To her I entrust
in particular the week of Spiritual Exercises that will begin this afternoon,
and in which I will participate along with my collaborators of the Roman Curia.
I ask you to accompany us with your prayers". And speaking off the cuff he
added:" Pray in this desert we can hear the voice of Jesus and correct our
many defects and face the temptations that attack us every day. I therefore ask
you to accompany us with your prayers. "
It should be noted that for the first time the exercises will not be held in the Vatican, but at the Casa Divin Maestro residence in Ariccia, preached by Carmelite Fr. Secondin. In the week of the Spiritual Exercises all audiences including the Wednesday general audience, are suspended.