Sacrifice is focus of Pope's Lenten message

Confront materialism

Courageously follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners, and in making difficult sacrifices in order to help and heal others, Pope Francis said in his first message for Lent, reports the Catholic News Service.

Christians are called to confront the material, spiritual and moral destitution of 'our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it,' the Pope said in his first message for Lent, which begins March 5 for Latin-rite Catholics.

Saving the world will not come about 'with the right kind of human resources' and token alms, but only 'through the poverty of Christ,' who emptied himself of the worldly and made the world rich with God's love and mercy,' he said.

Released by the Vatican on Tuesday, the text of the Pope's message focused on the theme of Christ's poverty, with the title: 'He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,' which is from a verse from St Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians.

Pope Francis said he chose the passage to explore what St Paul's references to poverty and charity mean for Christians today. There are many forms of poverty, he said, like the material destitution that disfigures the face of humanity and the moral destitution of being a slave to vice and sin.

But 'there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ,' he said. People experiencing the spiritual destitution of believing they don't need God and can make it on their own 'are headed for a fall,' the Pope wrote. 'God alone can truly save and free us.'

FULL STORY Pope: Sacrifice key to reaping wealth of God's love, fighting misery (CNS)

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