BY Martin Dunlop | March 9 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Holy Father speaks of Lenten journey

Tells Catholics at general audience fasting, prayer and almsgiving mark our Lenten journey as we ‘accompany Jesus on the road to Jerusalem’

Pope Benedict XVI has used his Ash Wednesday audience at the Vatican to remind Catholics around the world that fasting, prayer and almsgiving are the practices that mark our Lenten journey as we ‘accompany Jesus on the road to Jerusalem.’

The Holy Father spoke to pilgrims this morning about why we fast, pray and give alms during the 40 days of Lent.

“Fasting means abstinence from food, but it also includes other forms of privation for a more sober life,” Pope Benedict said.

Nonetheless not even this is ‘the full reality of fasting; it is merely the external sign of an interior reality; of our commitment, with the full help of God, to abstain from evil and live the Gospel. Those who do not nourish themselves with the Word of God, are not really fasting.’

The Pope also encouraged Christians to find more time for prayer.

“The Fathers of the Church teach that these three pious exercises are closely related: indeed, St Augustine calls fasting and almsgiving the ‘wings of prayer,’ since they prepare our hearts to take flight and seek the things of heaven, where Christ has prepared a place for us,” he said.

The Holy Father concluded that as this Lent begins, ‘let us accept Christ’s invitation to follow Him more closely, renew our commitment to conversion and prayer, and look forward to celebrating the Resurrection in joy and newness of life.’

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