Pope Francis issued this message on 4 October 2014.
“Make your hearts firm” (Jas. 5: 8)
“Lent is a time of renewal” for all. “Above all it is a ‘time of grace’ (2 Cor. 6: 2)”.
“When we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others.” “Our heart grows cold.”
“Today this attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent we can speak of a globalization of indifference.”
“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians!”
“God is not indifferent to our world, he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.”
“God’s people, then, need this interior renewal, lest we become indifferent and withdraw into ourselves.” To further this renewal, I would like to propose for our reflection three biblical texts:
- “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12: 26). The Church. The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference.”
“The Church offers us this love of God by her teaching and especially by her witness.” “This is clearly seen in the liturgy of Holy Thursday, with its rite of the washing of the feet.” Also in the Eucharist; “there is no room for indifference.”
“The Church is the ‘communio sanctorum’ – communion of saints…and in holy things… sharing “everything with others.”
- “Where is your brother?” (Gen. 4: 9). Parishes and communities.
In each of our neighbor…we must see a brother or sister for whom Christ died and rose again – especially the “weakest, poorest and insignificant members.”
Pope Francis’ desire is for “our parishes and communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”
- “Make your hearts firm!” (James 5: 8) Individual Christians
“As individuals too, we are tempted to indifference: In the face of so much suffering we feel helpless.”
“What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness.”
“First, we can pray in communion with the Church on earth and in heaven.”
“Second, we can help by acts of clarity. Lent is a favorable time for ‘Alay Kapwa’”.
“Third, the suffering of others is a call to conversion.”
“As a way of overcoming indifference we shall engage in the “formation of the heart” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 31).
Hence, during this Lent Pope Francis exhorts us: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum” – “make our hearts like yours” (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
“In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”