VATICAN - Pope's Message published for Lent

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity". This is how the Holy Father Benedict XVI's Message for Lent begins, whose theme is a verse from the Letter to the Hebrews: "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works". (10:24). Divided into three parts, the Message reminds us about "the responsibility towards our brothers and sisters": "Even today echoes strongly the voice of the Lord who calls each of us to take care of others. Even today God asks us to be 'guardians' of our brothers and sisters, to establish relationships based on mutual consideration, and attentiveness to the well-being, the integral well-being of others... Concern for others entails desiring what is good for them from every point of view: physical, moral and spiritual... Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters." In the second part the Message focuses on the "gift of reciprocity". "A society like ours can become blind to physical sufferings and to the spiritual and moral demands of life. This must not be the case in the Christian community!... our existence is related to that of others, for better or for worse; both our sins and our acts of love have a social dimension. .. Christians can also express their membership in the one body which is the Church through concrete concern for the poorest of the poor ". Finally, "walking together in holiness". "Being concerned for one another should spur us to an increasingly effective love... making us live each day as an anticipation of the eternal day awaiting us in God. The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ. Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 08/02/2012)