Pope Francis is particularly fond of young people and precisely to them, this morning, he addressed an audio message, meant for the boys of the Prelature of Pompeii. Francis opened n the day of Ash Wednesday, the “KeepLent” initiative, promoted and organized by the Service for Youth Ministry of Pompeii to announce the Lenten Gospel through social networks. The audio message was then spread via an instant messenger.
“Dear children, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of other people to be admired by them’… ‘When you give alms, do not sound a trumpet’ … ‘Your Father who secretly sees you, will reward you’. God’s word gives us the right orientation to experience Lent positively. When we do something good, sometimes we are tempted to get appreciation and have a reward: human glory. But it is a false reward because it pushes us towards what the others think of us.”
The Pope reminds us that Christ himself asks us “to do good deeds because it is good. He asks us to feel always under the gaze of our heavenly Father and to live in union with Him, not in relation to the judgment of others. Living in the presence of the Father is a much deeper joy than worldly glory. Let our approach to this Lent be living in secret where the Father sees us, loves us, and is waiting for us. Of course, also external things are important, but we must always choose and live in the presence of God.”
Then, in conclusion, some advice for the time of Lent: “Let us do in prayer, mortification, and in fraternal charity what we can, humbly, in front of God. Thus, we will be worthy of the reward of God the Father. Happy Lent and may Our Lady of Pompeii accompany you. Please, pray for me.”