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An illustration for Pope Francis’ Lenten message for 2024 by Mauro Pallotta (CNS/ Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development)

Lent is a time to free oneself from slavery and take action to free others suffering from the multiple forms of slavery that afflict the world, Pope Francis has said in his Lenten message for 2024. Source: CNS.

Even though baptism has begun a process of liberation, “there remains in us an inexplicable longing for slavery. A kind of attraction to the security of familiar things, to the detriment of our freedom,” the Pope said in his message for Lent, which begins on February 14 for Latin-rite Catholics.

Released by the Vatican yesterday, the text of the Pope’s Lenten message focused on God’s call to leave behind the bonds of slavery, with the title, “Through the Desert God Leads us to Freedom”, which is from the Book of Exodus (20:2).

Echoing the tragedy of the ancient Israelites, a modern-day Pharaoh “stifles dreams, blocks the view of heaven, makes it appear that this world, in which human dignity is trampled upon and authentic bonds are denied, can never change,” the Pope wrote.

God enables people to embark on a new journey and experience “a Passover from death to life”, he wrote.

“Lent is a season of conversion, a time of freedom” during which Christians seek to rediscover God’s call and promise, he wrote. “It is time to act, and in Lent, to act also means to pause. To pause in prayer, in order to receive the word of God, to pause like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister.”

Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presented the Lenten message at a Vatican news conference yesterday.

“Traditionally, Lent is a time to review our lives and to individually face the need for personal conversion,” he said. However, the Pope is challenging the faithful also to seek to change the world.

As believers and as citizens, he said, Christians should ask, “Where are we on the journey with so many siblings at home and worldwide who cry out and ask us to walk with them?”

“By embracing the gift of Lent, every Christian community can accompany its members in facing the challenges of our time,” the Cardinal said, because “the hoped-for changes in the world begin with change in me and in you”. 


Pope: Christians must rekindle hope in fighting today’s forms of slavery (By Carol Glatz, CNS via USCCB)


Pope’s 2024 Lenten message (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis: Lent is a time of conversion and freedom (Vatican News