Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Cdl. Bergoglio's Ash Wednesday 2011 Homily

As you may recall, Cdl. Bergoglio scores pretty big with me. Here is his Ash Wednesday 2011 homily.

(As usual, the translation is mine.)

It captures our attention, the kindness with which He touches our hearts today. It is a maternal tenderness: Return to God, allow yourself to be reconciled to God, harden not your heart, listen to the voice of the Lord. Show yourself, as you are, to the presence of God: as a sinner…and empty out your heart, make room for the Lord to enter. The Church speaks to us as a mother and she wants us to start this Lenten time with this goal, to walk towards the Lord. Towards an encounter with the Lord. That encounter that takes place within our heart. For this purpose: to cleanse our hearts of all those things which distract us from this encounter, or disturbe us from this encounter. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us: "Look, this is not about dressing up your soul, but, rather, about changing it…with almsgiving…with fasting…that is, thinking with attitudes of service and dethachment…and with prayer, which is a petition to God. Alms, fasting or penance and prayer. To make room in your soul and to bring forth an encounter with the Lord.

But watch out! Do not do this for the sake of appearances because the enemy of the Christian is hypocrisy; Jesus wants us with an open heart, He ought not find us with hypocritical attitudes and thus He tells us:

“Look, cleanse your heart of weeds.”
"But how, Lord?"
“With prayer, penance and almsgiving.”
"Ah…but that's hard!"

Yes it is, like pulling weeds. That way your heart prepares for that encounter with the Lord. Return to God, allow yourself to be reconciled to God, harden not your heart, listen to the voice of the Lord. Make a place for Him in your heart, by means of prayer, penancand almsgiving, that He may come to you.

That's the invitation extended to you by the Church today, at the start of Lent; and the ashes imposed on us by the Church reminds us what a vanity is anything else that is not Jesus, the Lord. And we approach to receive teh ashes with that great desire to return to the Lord, to convert ourselves for Him, to harden not our heart, to listen to the voice of the Lord, to make a place in our heart where we might encounter the Lord.


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