Text to Accompany “A Liturgy for Lent”
A Meditation on Lent: FASTING FROM INDIFFERENCE
Sometimes I wonder if Pope Francis is my pastor.
Although I am not Catholic and am a part of a local faith community in Cape Town, I have both warm admiration and multiple moments of personal conviction due to Francis’ grace and humility towards others as Pope, having followed his humble ascension to the Papacy with increasing interest over the past few years. From afar, he seems to understand with unusual clarity – and to live from a sincere heart with great simplicity and equal conviction what walking with Jesus and serving others in His Name looks like, regardless of power or title. And thus, while brainstorming ideas for our Lenten liturgy this year, a 2015 Time magazine article written by Christopher Hale entitled “Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This Year” began popping up in my Facebook feed again, shared by a few friends whose spiritual maturity and sensitivity to the Spirit’s Voice I trust almost implicitly. Curiosity peaked, here’s what stopped me dead in my tracks, laying the rails for our Lenten journey this year:
“So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.
In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, ‘Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.’