In this year’s Lenten message, Pope Francis writes:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9)…
Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
In his Ash Wednesday homily, he preaches:
Fasting makes sense if it really affects our security, and also if a benefit to others comes from it, if it helps us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, makes the same point in his Ash Wednesday homily:
Lenten denial is about making our gratuitous lives sacrificial.
A sacrifice is an offering of something, to someone, for someone. Catholics are pretty good, I think, about the of part of Lenten sacrifices. Can you imagine, though, asking someone, “So, who are you giving something up for Lent for?”
Even the to part might give us pause, sprung on us unawares.
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