Rome (Italy). On 24 February 2022, live streaming from the Press Office of the Holy See, the Press Conference was held to present the Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2022 entitled:

“Let us not tire of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal 6: 9-10a).

In the Message, Pope Francis defines Lent a “favorable time of personal and community renewal” which leads to Easter and, starting from the exhortation of St. Paul to the Galatians, evokes the image of sowing and reaping, “St. Paul speaks to us of a Kairos, a propitious time to sow good with view to a harvest. What is this favorable time for us?”

Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, Interim Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, comments in her intervention at the Press Conference:

“In the sometimes slow, sometimes rhythmic, sometimes frenetic flow of our days, the time of Lent is offered to us as a propitious moment to get back on the journey in the right direction, that of love for God and neighbor, which characterizes us as Christians. (…) This journey requires perseverance and a lot of patience, due to disappointments, failures, the temptation to close in on ourselves.  In his Message, Pope Francis thus invites us not to tire of doing good and to do good towards everyone. The quotation from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians, which opens the text, reminds us how demanding the invitation is, but also and immediately how rich it is in promise, ‘In fact, if we do not give up in due time we will reap’. (…)

The Holy Father invites us to enter Lent by interiorizing more radically what it means to look at each person we meet with the eyes of Christ and recognizing the eyes of Christ. To strip ourselves of the superfluous, to lighten ourselves, to take seriously the call to conversion means in the Church at this historical moment, to express more clearly in our life and with our relationships the love that is poured out from the intimate life of God, which binds the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. (…)

Pope Francis lingers on the image of sowing and farming, evoked by St. Paul, suggesting the question regarding the time that is ours. Winds of war, after decades of reckless rearmament, with a growing increase in spending on armaments, and a pandemic that has claimed victims, exasperated inequalities, highlighted what is not working in our economic and social fields, imposed new questions, but cannot make us lose hope. God believes in the earth and cares for it as a farmer who does not abandon his field. What time is this in God’s field? (…)

The Message concludes, as traditionally, with a reference to the Virgin. In her, Pope Francis writes, insisting on the guiding image of the Message, the Son sprouted. In a world changed into a desert by so many and by unscrupulous power games, in Mary the Church recognizes the fruitfulness that the journey of conversion can give to each of her daughters and to each of her sons. We believe in sprouts.”

In addition to exhorting us not to tire of doing good, Pope Francis says in the Message, “Let us not tire of eradicating evil from our life. May the corporal fasting to which Lent calls us strengthen our spirit for the fight against sin.” At the end of the General Audience of 23 February, expressing his sorrow for the situation in Ukraine, he made an appeal to all, believers and non-believers, to live Ash Wednesday, 2 March 2022, as a day of fasting for peace:

“Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with the weapons of God, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next March 2nd, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace. I especially encourage believers to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

Message for Lent 2022


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