"I hope that this year’s Lenten journey will predispose hearts to the new life offered to us by Christ."
This is the wish Pope Francis expressed in a message he sent to the Brazilian faithful, on the occasion of the 52nd Lenten Brotherhood Campaign, promoted by the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, whose theme this year is: “Brotherhood: Church and Society,” with the slogan “I Came to Serve” (Mark 10:45).
“Lent is approaching, a time of preparation for Easter: time of penance, prayer and charity, time to renew our life, identifying ourselves with Jesus through His generous donation to brothers, especially the neediest," he said.
The Church, the Pope stressed, cannot be indifferent to the needs of those around her, because “the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguishes of the men of today, especially of the poor and suffering, are also the joys and hopes, sadness and anguishes of the disciples of Christ.”
"But, what can we do about it?" the 78-year-old Pontiff asked.
During the forty days in which God calls his people to conversion, the fact that the Brotherhood Campaign "intends to help and deepen, in the light of the Gospel, the dialogue and collaboration between the Church and Society," is an worthwhile step, he noted.
“The contribution of the Church, in respect to the lay State and without forgetting the autonomy of the earthly realities,” the Pope continued, “finds concrete form in her Social Doctrine."
With this Doctrine, the Argentine Pope reaffirmed, the Church wishes "to assume evangelically and, from the perspective of the Kingdom, priority tasks that contribute to the dignifying of the human being" and "to work together with the other citizens and institutions for the good of the human being.’’
“This is not an exclusive task of institutions,” Francis underscored, “everyone must do his part, beginning from my home, in my work, with persons with whom I relate.” Concretely, he added, we must help the poorest and the neediest.
“When Jesus says to us: ‘I came to serve’,” Francis reminded the Brazilians, "he teaches us the synthesis of the Christian’s identity: to love by serving."
“Therefore, I hope that this year’s Lenten journey will predispose hearts to the new life offered to us by Christ," and that "the transforming strength that flows from his Resurrection reaches all in their personal, family, social and cultural dimensions and reinforces in every heart sentiments of brotherhood, and earnest collaboration.”
The Holy Father concluded, entrusting the Brazilian faithful to Mary’s care, imparting his Apostolic Blessing, and telling them to "never stop praying for him."
On ZENIT’S Web page:
To read the Holy Father's message, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-message-to-the-brotherhood-campaign-in-brazil