The Holy Father, Pope Francis, invites us to embrace the call to poverty so that we “might become rich” in his first Lenten message.
As the 265th successor of St Peter, the Pope preaches on the path to conversion challenging us to consider the Apostle’s teaching that we were “set free not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty.”
“By making himself poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own sake but, as Saint Paul says ‘that by his poverty you might become rich’. This is no mere play on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross. God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different! When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery.”
Pope Francis also challenges Christians to “confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.”
He then highlights three types of destitution – material, spiritual and moral – and highlights the key difference between poverty and destitution.
The Holy Father concludes:
“May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are ‘as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything’ (2 Cor 6:10), sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy.”
You can download Pope Francis’ Lenten message for 2014 by using the link in the top right-hand corner of this article.