Cardinal: Pope Wants Us to Personally Encounter Christ

Cor Unum President Presents Lenten Message

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2011 ( Benedict XVI’s message for Lent shows the Holy Father’s desire for us to personally encounter Christ, the answer to our deepest longings, says Cardinal Robert Sarah.

The president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum affirmed this today when he presented the Pope’s annual message, this year focused on the theme of baptism.

The cardinal called the message a “‘road map’ to rekindle the supernatural life that was given to us in baptism.”

Cardinal Sarah noted how the Pope offers reflections for each of the five Sundays of Lent, saying he “fixes for us concrete appointments with specific persons and events [… putting] before us the Word of God proclaimed on those Sundays.”

“By doing so, he wishes for us to experience a personal encounter with Christ, the answer to the deepest longings of the human person and the world,” the cardinal stated.

Moving hearts

Benedict XVI’s exhortation to encounter Christ in his Word and sacraments will lead to concrete works of mercy, the cardinal continued. In this regard, each of us during Lent has the opportunity to “move our hearts from living for ourselves to loving our neighbor in need.”

Finally, Cardinal Sarah characterized the Pontiff’s reflection as putting “the season of Lent before us as a ‘path’ or ‘journey,’ a span of time to bring to fruition the seed planted at baptism. This, he indicates, mirrors the entire existence of every human being, lived in between Christ’s resurrection and our own; this ultimate offer of communion with God in eternity shapes life, both social and individual, today.”

Cardinal Sarah noted that the Pontifical Council Cor Unum is entrusted with presenting the annual message. This is the cardinal’s first time doing so, following his appointment last October.

Since the council’s main task is “to diffuse the Church’s catechesis on charity and the concrete charitable initiatives of our Holy Father,” he reflected that the Pope’s message underlines an “evident link” between baptism and charity.

“Dear friends: God has created us for love,” the cardinal affirmed. “For this, the power of the gift of God’s life within us, bestowed upon us at baptism, needs to be nurtured. It is there for the taking! This is the adventure Pope Benedict invites us to this Lent.

“At Easter, when we shall reap what we sow, the ‘old man’ within us can be drowned and we can arise, through God’s grace, a new creation. The Holy Father’s invitation is not a utopia.”

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