Lent, Popes and Plain Speaking

Depending on your preferred online reading, you could be forgiven for thinking that Lent had been forgotten amidst all the riot of discordant opinion about Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI.* To say that is a pity is an understatement. We are approaching the holiest time of the Christian year and we need to focus. Inevitably, there is a lot of interest in both Francis and Benedict, but if we are busier scooping up fascinating details about them or speculating about their intentions than living Lent, we may forget what really matters: preparing heart and mind for the solemn feast of Easter.

So, instead of getting into a fret about what may or may not be happening in the Vatican, why not ask yourself some hard questions to which you, and only you, know the answers. How is your prayer, fasting and almsgiving going? Does your Lent still have the purity of intention with which you began? Are you more aware of your own sin and the immense forgiveness of God? The next questions are trickier, and only those around you will be able to judge, if at all, the progress you have made. Have you become more charitable, more patient, in a word, more like our crucified Lord? Or have you been blessed with a grace so glorious and overwhelming that you have forgotten self entirely in your wonder and awe at the infinite goodness of God?

Sometimes a little plain speaking at this point of Lent is all we need to get us back on track. I would not dare to ask these questions had I not already asked them of myself and blushed at the answers I gave.

* I myself find attempts to exalt either pope at the expense of the other profoundly distasteful. I believe the papacy of both men to be important for the Church, but we lack perspective at present. I’d be grateful if readers would not use this blog to air derogatory opinions/engage in an argument which, by its very nature, can have no resolution. Prayer would be much more to the point.

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11 thoughts on “Lent, Popes and Plain Speaking”

  1. Your so right -let’s pray this week for all taking on the mantle for the building of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, let’s believe that God really is working His purpose out as year succeeds on year. Let’s stop competing and start walking with each other. Thanks for all your thoughts,
    In Christ,
    Andrew

  2. I have to admit that I get the emails from the Vatican Information Service, which have been providing what I have read about Pope Francis.

    I have avoided the media coverage because it’s just too speculative and I despise that sort of coverage.

    And, so far, I and many Anglicans and those from other denominations are expressing delight with Pope Francis and I’ve great hope for his ministry.

  3. How often we find ourselves needing to re-turn to God. Plain talking is a graceful gift. It is something that I admire in Paul. This morning, I take your plain questions to heart, with gratitude, and shades of blush!

  4. Although I am very excited about Pope Francis, it is easy to become busy talking/reading about a man when I should be praying (Including for Francis I) and working at being more charitable. Blushes aside, I will redouble my efforts and hope I keep them up, knowing I may still have time to drift again before Easter!

    Thanks for the plain speaking.

  5. Amen to all that, Sister! Much prayer for you continues… I regularly ask myself similar questions and also ask those to whom I am accountable how they think I am doing…

    Love, peace, blessings and jellybeans…

  6. Thank you for bringing me back onto the Lenten track.

    Going back to the Mothering Sunday post; tomorrow is the inauguration of our Holy Father,Pope Francis. The Holy Father is head of the Church that is our mother. He, like every one of us, and like the Church herself is always feminine in relation to God.
    Is this correct? Can’t tug away at it unless I have it right.

  7. My lent must be going well; I am having a very difficult day. I gave myself a dispensation and had a cocktail before dinner tonight. Yes, I broke lent! It isn’t sweets, it isn’t dessert, but it is alcohol.
    I am crawling towards Easter Sunday. I suppose that is what is supposed to happen, and yes, I am fully aware of all my sins these days!

  8. Thank you for all your comments. It’s good to know, isn’t it, that we all share the same sense of falling short but can support one another with our prayer.

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