Ash Wednesday

Christian life during Lent should be characterized by “more intense prayer, by an austere and penitential style of life,” Pope Benedict XVI said during an Ash Wednesday service at the Roman basilica of St. Sabina. “It should be an encouragement to conversion and sincere love for our brothers, especially those who are most poor and in need,” he added. The Holy Father led the traditional Ash Wednesday procession from St. Anselmo to St. Sabina, then presided at the distribution of ashes there. In his meditation the Pope suggested that the faithful imitate the example of St. Paul, and follow the Apostle’s advice in making a wholehearted effort to dedicate one’s life to Christ. “We are urged not to give our members up to sin,” the Pope remarked, “meaning not to concede, so to speak, room for sin to make a comeback.” In order to live intimately with God, the Pontiff added, “it is indispensable to nourish oneself with the Word of God.”

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