Pope Francis exhorted that imposing ashes means returning to the truth about ourselves, God, and our brothers and sisters, during the Ash Wednesday Mass.
The Pope said that the ashes reminds us of who we are, recalling the “essential truth of our lives: that the Lord alone is God and we are the work of His hands.”
The Catholic Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday.
He invited all to drop every presumption of self-sufficiency and all forms of idolatry of self.
Lent is a time to remember that we rely on God and “to drop the pretence of being self-sufficient.”
The Pope highlighted the journey back to God, returning to God and our brothers and sisters.
He proposed to learn that “life is a relationship we receive from God and our parents,” and that we can always revive and renew our relationships.
“Lent, then, is a season of grace when we can rebuild our relationship with God and with others, opening our hearts in the silence of prayer and emerging from the fortress of our self-sufficiency,” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis called to action the traditional Catholic Lenten practice of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
“Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting will not simply remain outward displays, but will express what we truly are: children of God, and brothers and sisters to one another,” the Pope insisted.
By fixing the gaze on the Cross and responding to the powerful promptings of Lent with a generous heart, he encouraged, “At the end of the journey, we will encounter with greater joy the Lord of life, who alone can raise us up from our ashes.” - With inputs from Vatican News
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