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During Lent, swim against the current, Pope tells faithful

February 17, 2010

At his regular weekly public audience on February 17-- Ash Wednesday-- Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Lenten call to conversion. Conversion, he told the audience in the Paul VI auditorium, means changing the direction of our lives. He continued: "It means going against the current, when that current is a superficial, incoherent, and illusory way of life that often drags us down, making us slaves of evil or prisoners of moral mediocrity."

Against that superficial approach, the Pope said, the Church offers the stern reality of Ash Wednesday, with the reminder that we all face the same inevitable end: death and decay. The Church insists that we face that reality, he observed, realizing that we tend to shrink from it because of "the innate fear of our end." That reluctance to confront death is heightened, he said, by "a culture that tends in many ways to censor reality."

However, the Pope reminded his audience, although Ash Wednesday brings a reminder that man is dust, the faith tells us that it is "dust that is precious in God's eyes." During the 40 days of Lent, the Holy Father said, the faithful should "renew our commitment to follow Jesus, letting ourselves be transformed by his paschal mystery," to realize our true identity with and in Christ.


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  • Posted by: greg8105 - Feb. 17, 2010 4:46 PM ET USA

    Last Sunday, my Parish bulletin included a link to a "Lenten Carbon Fast" calendar prepared by the "Environmental Outreach Committee" of the Archdiocese of Washington! A Carbon Fast??? I don't think the Archdiocese got the same message of conversion that the Pope is promoting. Here's the link to the calendar: lent calendar 2010. Forget about authentic conversion. Instead, let's change our incandescent light bulbs to CFLs!!!