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Pope: Lenten Journey is synodal

Pope Francis (archive photo) (Photo credit: Vatican Media/Vatican News)

Pope Francis has described the Lenten journey as synodal, walking together with the Lord, in his message for Lent 2023 published on Friday.

The Pope said, “Our Lenten journey is ‘synodal’ since we make it together along the same path, as disciples of the one Master.”

Pope Francis compared the Lenten and synodal journey to Jesus' Transfiguration, which are both rooted in tradition and open to newness.

Referring to Moses and Elijah's appearance at the Transfiguration, Pope Francis said, “In a similar way, the synodal journey is rooted in the Church’s tradition and at the same time open to newness.”

He added that tradition is a source of inspiration for seeking new paths and for avoiding the opposed temptations of immobility and improvised experimentation.

“Lenten penance is a commitment, sustained by grace, to overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross,” the Pope wrote.

Pope Francis proposed two important suggestions in his Lenten message.

The first is recalling the voice from the cloud ‘Listen to him’ at Jesus’ transfiguration, the Pope encouraged, “we need to listen to Jesus. Lent is a time of grace to the extent that we listen to him as he speaks to us.”

Pope Francis' second recommendation was to face life's challenges by realizing that Lent leads to Easter.

The pope advised, “Do not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences, out of fear of facing reality and its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions.”

He insisted that lent led to Easter and the ‘retreat’ is not an end. It is a preparation to experience the Lord’s passion with faith, hope and love and to arrive at the resurrection.

“The Lenten journey of penance and the journey of the Synod alike have as their goal a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial,” Pope Francis emphasized, “A transformation that, in both cases, has its model in the Transfiguration of Jesus and is achieved by the grace of his paschal mystery.”

He remarked that during this liturgical season of Lent, the Lord guides us to a place apart. During Lent, all were urged to climb a high mountain with Jesus and to follow a particular spiritual discipline—ascesis—as God's holy people.

Pope Francis called Lent and the Synod on Synodality a "strenuous mountain trek."

The Pope stated that we must focus on the journey up the mountain, but the view at the summit is worth it.

“So too, the synodal process may often seem arduous, and at times we may become discouraged. Yet what awaits us at the end is undoubtedly something wondrous and amazing, which will help us to understand better God’s will and our mission in the service of his kingdom,” he highlighted. - With inputs from Vatican News and Catholic News Agency


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.