lent

POPE"S MESSAGE | Lent is time to relive Christ’s exodus from slavery to freedom

VATICAN CITY — Like the people of Israel freed from the bondage of slavery, Christians are called to experience the path toward hope and new life in the Lenten season, Pope Francis said.

Through His passion, death and resurrection, Jesus "has opened up for us a way that leads to a full, eternal and blessed life," the pope said at his weekly general audience March 1, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for Latin-rite Catholics.

"Lent lives within this dynamic: Christ precedes us with His exodus and we cross the desert, thanks to Him and behind Him," he said.

EDITORIAL | Finding joy of Lent is possible, when viewing through the right lens

It can be difficult to imagine how it's even possible to exude joy during Lent.

Those of us who give up the regular indulgences of ordinary time — chocolate, caffeine, fast food — often find ourselves feeling melancholy, maybe even downright cranky.

We're geared to focus on the penitential nature of Lent. Focusing on our sins isn't particularly pleasant. But as Pope Francis noted in his World Communications Day message for 2017, it's all in how we look at things.

Editorial | Lent is a journey — get moving

It's called a Lenten journey for a reason.

The journey includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Lent is a time for prayer, interior conversion

As Pope Francis described in his 2017 Lenten message, "Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ's victory over death.

"This season urgently calls us to conversion," he wrote. "Christians are asked to return to God 'with all their hearts' (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord."

As we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1, how do we prepare our hearts for conversion and the path to Easter? Turning toward prayer, through the Scriptures, is one solid suggestion.

DEAR FATHER | Stewing over whether a parish is burned by a big fish fry

You raise a valid point, to wit, that the penitential nature of these two days ought not to be compromised.

However, there are a couple of points:

• Church law does define Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days on which Catholics must fast, but not all Catholics. Only those aged 18-59 are obligated to fast, and even then, those whose health would be seriously injured by a strict fast are allowed to consume as much food as necessary.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Lent and the culture of greed

Once again, Pope Francis doesn't mince words.

In his 2017 Lenten message, our refreshingly candid pontiff takes on the subject of money in our lives and pulls no punches.

The love of money can become a "tyrannical idol," said Pope Francis, who reminds us that St. Paul stated "the love of money is the root of all evils."

Although society is saturated with consumerism and we obsess about money, the discussion of it remains a social taboo. It's rude to ask someone to divulge his or her salary, and we wouldn't ask someone what they paid for their new sofa.

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