In a bulletin sent out on February 12 in preparation for the upcoming liturgical season, Pope Francis invites us all to a time of renewal this Lent. In his 2021 Lenten Message, entitled “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem” (Mt 20:18), the Holy Father calls Lent “a time for renewing faith, hope, and love.”
Drawing from Scripture and Church teaching, Pope Frances ties each of these three theological virtues to one of the three pillars of Lenten sacrifice: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.
He equates fasting with faith, in that when we sacrifice, we become freer to “open the doors of our hearts to the One who comes to us, poor in all things, the Son of God our Saviour.” Hope leads us to turn back to God in prayer, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation and then offering it to others. Francis explains “through recollection and silent prayer, hope is given to us as an inspiration and interior light, illuminating the challenges and choices we face in our mission.” Finally, in giving alms, we imitate Christ’s love for others and serve those most in need among us. Even the smallest of alms, “if given with love, never ends, but becomes a source of life and happiness.”
The message concludes:
The call to experience Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our goods, helps us – as communities and as individuals – to revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father.
To read the message in full, please click here.