This 1st Sunday of Lent, Reminds Lent Is Time of Penance, Conversion, Joy & Grace, Not Mourning
This first Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis gave this powerful reminder to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his traditional Sunday Angelus at noon, as he reflected on our constant need for conversion.
The Pontiff highlighted this stressing that this season is of penance, but is not of sadness and mourning, but of joy and of returning to grace.
Have Courage to Convert & Reject All That Leads Us Astray
“In our life, we are always in need of conversion — every day! –, and the Church makes us pray for this. In fact, we are never sufficiently oriented to God and we must constantly direct our mind and heart to Him. To do this, it’s necessary to have the courage to reject all that leads us outside the way, the false values that deceive us, attracting our egoism in a sly way.”
Instead, he said, we must trust the Lord, His goodness and His plan of love for each one of us.
“Lent is a time of penance, yes, but it’s not a sad time, of mourning,” he said, noting: “It’s a joyful and serious commitment to strip ourselves of our egoism, of the old man in us, and of renewing ourselves according to the grace of our Baptism.”
“God alone can give us true happiness: it’s useless for us to waste time seeking it elsewhere, in riches, in pleasures, in power, in a career . . . The Kingdom of God is the realization of all our aspirations because it is, at the same time, salvation of man and glory of God.
Invitation 1st Sunday of Lent: Take up Jesus’ Appeal to Convert
“In this first Sunday of Lent,” the Pope said, “we are invited to listen attentively and to take up this appeal of Jesus to convert ourselves and to believe in the Gospel. We are exhorted to undertake with commitment the path to Easter, to receive ever more the grace of God, who wants to transform the world into a kingdom of justice, of peace and of fraternity.”
The Jesuit Pontiff’s aforementioned advice had been inspired by today’s Gospel according to St. Mark, which recalls the themes of temptation, of conversion and of the Good News (Mk 1:12-13), telling how Jesus goes into the desert to prepare Himself for His mission in the world.
“He has no need of conversion but, in as much as man, He must pass through this test, be it for Himself, to obey the will of the Father, be it for us, to give us the grace to overcome temptations. This preparation consists in fighting against the spirit of evil, namely, against the devil.”
Living Faithfully to the Gospel ‘Is Not Impossible’
The Holy Father concluded, praying: “May Mary Most Holy help us to live this Lent with fidelity to the Word of God and with incessant prayer, as Jesus did in the desert.
“It’s not impossible!” he said, “It’s about living the days with the ardent desire to receive the love that comes from God and who wants to transform our life and the whole world.”
In his closing remarks and greetings, the Pope encouraged young people around the world to participate along with the some 300 who will be in Rome this month for the pre-synodal convocation. He also gave words of comfort and prayer to prisoners during this Lenten Season.
Asking all those present to remember him and his collaborators in the Roman Curia in prayer, who begin a week of Spiritual Exercises, Pope Francis concluded, as usual, wishing them a happy Sunday and good lunch.