On this first Friday of Lent, Pope Francis has reminded that prayer restores us.
The Holy Father stressed this in the Vatican to members of the Pro Petri Sede Association, gathered in Rome for their traditional pilgrimage, noting the Lenten season is a favorable time, for every baptized person, to refocus on the heart of the Catholic faith and on the mission of the Church.
Encouraging those present to consider the opportunities of these days, Francis told them to ask the Lord to convert our hearts.
Encouraging them to reaffirm their faith–as their pilgrimage involves praying before St. Peter’s tomb, the Pope urged those present to renew themselves in your charitable mission to others.
He reminded that in his 2018 Message for Lent, he asked: ‘Has charity been extinguished in our hearts? It is worth facing the truth directly! And to use the remedies that God Himself gives us in the Church.’
“Prayer,” the Holy Father reminded, “restores us to the path of truth about ourselves and God; fasting makes us share the situation of many people who face the torment of hunger and makes us more attentive to others; almsgiving is a blessed opportunity to collaborate with God’s Providence for the benefit of His children.”
Pope Francis invited those before him to make almsgiving a way of life and to persevere in concrete help to those in need.
“I reiterate my appreciation and my encouragement for your mission, inviting you to carry it forth daily in personal and community prayer, remembering the people you support. Also entrusting them to the Lord is part of your mission,” he prayed, “let us ask the Lord to convert our hearts so that charity may grow on earth and that there may finally be an end to conflicts, the cause of countless evils.”
“May this pilgrimage increase charity within you, as well as the desire to confess your faith every day and to witness it where you live!”
Before concluding imparting his blessing and requesting their prayers, Pope Francis invited the association members to pray for the young, “so that the next Synod dedicated to them may enable in particular a revival of priestly and religious vocations in your countries.”