Lenten Message of Benedict XVI
On February 7, Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Council Cor Unum, presented the pope’s Lenten Message. “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24). This document, he announced, is intended to draw the attention of the faithful to their neighbor’s good, to communion, attention, compassion and sharing with our brethren who suffer or who are in need. Then he underscored one aspect of the Christian life that is pointed out in the message: fraternal correction. “Charity teaches us that we have not only a material responsibility towards others, but also moral and spiritual responsibility.”
“Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation,” the pope emphasized in his message. He explained: “The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness.” A Christian reproach, however, is always animated by love and mercy and is born of a genuine concern for the good of one’s brother.
In our world that is saturated with individualism, it is necessary to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so as to walk together toward holiness. And if even “the just man falls seven times a day,” we who are all weak and imperfect always need “a gaze which loves and admonishes, which knows and understands, which discerns and forgives,” the Holy Father insists, “as God has done and continues to do with each of us.”
Lent offers us the occasion to reflect on what is at the heart of the Christian life: charity. And it is a favorable time to renew ourselves, with the help of the Word of God and the sacraments, by prayer and sharing, by silence and fasting, in the expectation of experiencing Easter joy, the pope explained. (Sources : VIS/vatican – DICI no.250 dated February 17, 2012)