- Apr 7, 2020
Seeing and growing closer to God require purifying one’s heart from the sins and prejudices that distort reality and blind people to God’s active and real presence, Pope Francis said.
Mercy, which is at the heart of the Christian life, is not a one-dimensional virtue but instead is the acceptance of God’s love and the giving of that love to others, Pope Francis said.
Lent is a time to remove all distractions and bitterness from one’s life in order to better hear God and those who suffer silently and need help, Pope Francis said.
The Vatican was going ahead with plans for Pope Francis to celebrate the Ash Wednesday ritual kicking off the Catholic Church’s Lenten season, but elsewhere in Italy Masses were canceled over fears of the coronavirus and other Catholic countries took precautions.
On Wednesday, Francis seemed to thoroughly enjoy a surprise expression of affection: A long, tender kiss planted on his forehead by a man in one of the front-row seats reserved for ailing or disabled people at the end of his audience.
Those who are meek are patient, gentle and merciful, drawing people together and salvaging relationships, Pope Francis said.