During his catechesis, Pope Francis talked about Lent. He explained that it helps resist "the pressure of a culture which thinks it can do without God,” as well as "violence, poverty and social decay.”
SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today, Ash Wednesday, begins our Lenten journey of penance, prayer and conversion in preparation for the Church’s annual celebration of the saving mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
In these days the Church asks us to ponder with joy and gratitude God’s immense love revealed in the paschal mystery and to live ever more fully the new life we have received in Baptism.
This journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ also calls us to acknowledge and respond to the growing spiritual and material poverty in our midst.
Specifically, it means consciously resisting the pressure of a culture which thinks it can do without God, where parents no longer teach their children to pray, where violence, poverty and social decay are taken for granted.
May this Lent, then, be a time when, as individuals and communities, we heed the words of the Gospel, reflect on the mysteries of our faith, practice acts of penance and charity, and open our hearts ever more fully to God’s grace and to the needs of our brothers and sisters.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Canada and the United States. May the Lenten journey we begin today bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer!