In his 2021 Lent message, Pope Francis asks Christians to ‘renew our faith, draw from the living waters of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God.’  He says that during this time we express our conversion through ‘poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) making it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope and effective charity.’

Pope Francis goes on to say that ‘Lent is a time for believing, for welcoming God into our lives and allowing him to “make his dwelling” among us (cf. Jn 14:23). Fasting involves being freed from all that weighs us down – like consumerism or an excess of information, whether true or false – in order to open the doors of our hearts to the One who comes to us, poor in all things, yet “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14): the Son of God our Saviour.’

He says that Lent is the season of hope; that the “living water” of the Holy Spirit will enable us to continue our journey.  This hope is given to us as inspiration and interior light through recollection and silent prayer.  The experience of hope during Lent ‘means receiving the hope of Christ, who gave His life on the Cross and was raised by God on the third day."

In regards to the tumult of the current time he says: ‘To experience Lent with love means caring for those who suffer or feel abandoned and fearful because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In these days of deep uncertainty about the future, let us keep in mind the Lord’s word to his Servant, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you” (Is 43:1). In our charity, may we speak words of reassurance and help others to realize that God loves them as sons and daughters.’

Read Pope Francis’ full message here