Monday, February 27, 2012

Pope Benedict teaches us about Lent

Last Wednesday, 22 February, which was Ash Wednesday, during his weekly audience, the Holy Father gave a wonderful Lenten catechesis. The complete translation comes to us by way of Sandro Magister's website Chiesa, and his faithful translator, Matthew Sherry.

In his introduction to this important catechesis, Magister observes that Lent has lost much of its dynamism in the West, noting that we tend to pay more attention to the Islamic month of Ramadan. Lent is the Christian holy time, the time during which we prepare to celebrate the Paschal mystery of our Lord's death and resurrection, which the Holy Father calls "the heart of the mystery of our salvation:"
Dear brothers and sisters, in this Catechesis I would like to dwell briefly on the season of Lent. It is a journey of forty days that will lead us to the Paschal Triduum, memorial of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, the heart of the mystery of our salvation.

In the early centuries of the Church this was the time when those who had heard and accepted the message of Christ began, step by step, their journey of faith and conversion to receive the sacrament of baptism. It was a drawing close to the living God and an initiation of the faith to be gradually accomplished, through an inner change in the catechumens, that is, those who wished to become Christians and thus be incorporated into Christ and the Church.

Subsequently, penitents, and then all the faithful were invited to experience this journey of spiritual renewal, to conform themselves and their lives to that of Christ.

The participation of the whole community in the different steps of the Lenten path emphasizes an important dimension of Christian spirituality: redemption is not available to only a few, but to all, through the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, those who follow a journey of faith as catechumens to receive baptism, those who had strayed from God and the community of faith and seek reconciliation and those who lived their faith in full communion with the Church, together knew that the period before Easter is a period of metanoia, that is, of inner change, of repentance, the period that identifies our human life and our entire history as a process of conversion that is set in motion now in order to meet the Lord at the end of time.

In an expression that has become typical in the Liturgy, the Church calls the period in which we are now entering "Quadragesima," in short a period of forty days and, with a clear reference to Sacred Scripture, it introduces us to a specific spiritual context. Read the entire catechesis

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the Holy Father's words about Quadragesima. :)

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