“All too many things keep us apart from each other, denying the fraternity that, from the beginning, binds us to one another,” the pope continued.
The Lenten season, according to the pope, is a time that is characterized by personal struggle as we suffer from myriad temptations, but it is the recognition of this that calls us to “pause in prayer, in order to receive the word of God, to pause like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister.”
Highlighting the three pillars of Lent — prayer, almsgiving, and fasting — the pope noted that they are not disparate acts but form a symbiotic “movement of openness and self-emptying in which we cast out the idols that weigh us down, the attachments that imprison us.”
The pope closed his Lenten message by highlighting the communal aspect of the season, noting “the contemplative dimension of life that Lent helps us to rediscover will release new energies.”
“In the presence of God, we become brothers and sisters, more sensitive to one another: in place of threats and enemies, we discover companions and fellow travelers,” he added.
In line with this communal aspect, the pontiff related it to the Church’s “synodal form,” which the Church is “rediscovering and cultivating.”
“I invite every Christian community to do just this: to offer its members moments set aside to rethink their lifestyles, times to examine their presence in society, and the contribution they make to its betterment.”