In his message for Lent, Pope Francis chose the theme “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19)
He invites believers to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed, warning that “Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests… Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them”. The Pope highlights how the season before Easter must be a time to “welcome Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives”, and attract “its transforming power to all of creation”
Appealing to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Francis says that if, “the Lent of the Son of God ’was an entry into the desert of creation’ to make it become again that garden of communion with God” that it was before the original sin, Christians today are invited “to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.”
Fasting means turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity;
Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego;
Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.
If we follow this journey, it “is possible to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness”. The path to Easter, therefore, demands that “we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness” the Pope said pointing out that it is a call that involves the whole of creation.
This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, Pope Francis says, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails.
From Linda Bordoni, Vatican News www.vaticannews.va