RMG – Pope Francis' invitation for Lent 2020: "Let yourself be reconciled with God"

26 February 2020

(ANS - Rome) - It is said that a woman once started asking people: "What is the most important thing in life for you?" The answers she obtained were predictable: health, love, money ... But when she asked the question to an elderly man, the answer was so simple and spontaneous that it did not require any comment: "To forgive." For this Lent, Pope Francis invites us not only to "forgive", but to allow ourselves to be reconciled with God. Even more, he invites us to "draw close to confessing our sins, to firmly believe in His mercy that frees us from our guilt."

Going back to the elderly man's answer, one could ask oneself: forgive what? Forgive who? And forgive why? "I got to see - the interviewer said - photos of this old man's family. I was struck by the photo of a little girl, who was no longer there, she was dead. He was an elder who had lost all his family, exterminated in the Holocaust. He had been left alone in the world."

Those who read this story ask themselves: "Can a man forgive?" The answer, even if it seems illogical, is that the old man "was able to forgive." Not only was he capable, but he could say that forgiveness is the most important value. And thanks to the victory of forgiveness that life continues. This is what Pope Francis asks again today: "let yourselves be forgiven", "let yourself be reconciled with God."

The Pope asks for two concrete things for this time of Lent.

The urgency of conversion. Pope Francis underlines the importance of prayer in Lent, since contemplating "the experience of mercy" is possible only in this practice, "in a 'face to face' with the crucified and risen Lord 'who loved me and gave himself for me' (Gal 2,20)", in the "heart-to-heart dialogue, from friend-to-friend." Praying, "more than a duty, shows us the need to correspond to the love of God, who always precedes and supports us." What really matters in God's eyes when we pray "is that you dig inside us, even touching the hardness of our heart, to convert it more and more to the Lord and His will."

The need to dialogue with God. For the Pope, this new opportunity for conversion should awaken "a sense of gratitude and shake us from our torpor" because, despite the presence of evil in our reality, "this space offered to change course expresses the tenacious will of God not to interrupt the dialogue of salvation with us."

It is possible that the elderly man has forgiven the tragedy that he experienced, but one step was still missing: making room for the forgiveness of God. "To be reconciled with God" is the goal of every Christian.


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