Pope says Lenten fasting an expression of faith

Lenten practices like fasting should be experienced as an expression of faith, not as a difficult burden, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Catholic News Service reports that the Holy Father made his remarks at the Vatican on Sunday, three days before he is scheduled to open the Lenten season with an Ash Wednesday liturgy in Rome tomorrow.

"During this period, one abstains from singing 'Alleluia,' and people are invited to practice appropriate forms of penitential sacrifice," he said.

"The time of Lent should not be faced with an old spirit, as if it were a heavy and bothersome burden, but with the new spirit of one who has found in Jesus and in his mystery the meaning of life and understands that everything now refers to him," he said.

The pope was preparing for his own Lenten retreat, which commences on Sunday. During that time, papal appointments are cancelled and the pontiff joins Roman Curia officials twice a day to pray and listen to Lenten sermons.

Preaching the pope's retreat this year will be Cardinal Marco Ce, a theologian and biblicist and the retired patriarch of Venice, Italy. Cardinal Ce has used his free time in recent years to conduct many spiritual retreats for bishops, priests, religious orders and lay groups.

The theme of this year's papal retreat is "Walking With Jesus Toward Easter, Guided by the Evangelist Mark."

Pope says Lenten practices like fasting express faith, not burden (Catholic News Service 27/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
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28 Feb 2006