During Ash Wednesday Mass held at the historic Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome, Pope Francis gave a poignant Lenten message urging the faithful to embrace humility and introspection.

The Pope emphasized the importance of setting aside the superficial trappings of the world to reconnect with God on a personal level, especially in a society obsessed with social media and outward appearances.

“Lent invites us to come down from the stage and return to the heart, to the reality of who we are,” Pope Francis said, highlighting the journey from external validation to internal reflection. He encouraged the faithful to acknowledge their true selves, “dust loved by God,” and to consider Lent a time for purification, self-examination, and the renewal of faith.

Pope Francis did not participate in the traditional procession due to mobility issues but led the Mass and was the first to receive ashes from Italian Cardinal Piacenza.

Pope Francis also touched upon the practice of silent adoration and the significance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent, not as mere rituals but as pathways to a deeper understanding and connection with God. “Let us not be afraid to strip ourselves of worldly trappings and return to the heart, to what is essential,” he implored.

Concluding his Lenten message, he explained Lent’s purpose: a time for believers to reflect, repent, and prepare their hearts for the joy of Easter, all while remembering the foundational Christian principle of love and compassion towards others.

Editorial credit: Riccardo De Luca - Update / Shutterstock.com
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