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Pope Francis sends first "Keep Lent" message to Pompeii

Pope Francis puts ashes on a Cardinal's forehead during Ash Wednesday Mass in 2015. - AP

Pope Francis puts ashes on a Cardinal's forehead during Ash Wednesday Mass in 2015. - AP

10/02/2016 07:30

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday morning sent an audio-message to the young people of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.

It is the first contribution in the “Keep Lent” initiative of the Shrine’s youth ministry office, which will provide a daily Gospel reading and commentary from leading clergymen and lay catechists through social media throughout the penitential season.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report:

In his message, Pope Francis reflects on the Gospel reading from the Ash Wednesday Mass, in which Jesus warns against practicing good works so others may see them.

“When we do something good, sometimes we are tempted to seek praise and to be rewarded: that’s human glory,” Pope Francis said. “But it’s a false reward because it makes us focus on what others think of us.”

The Holy Father said Jesus asks us to do good for the sake of good.

“He asks us to feel we are under the watchful gaze of our Heavenly Father at all times and to live in relationship with Him – not in relationship with the opinion of others,” the Pope said.

“Let us do what we can, in prayer, in sacrifice, and in acts of charity, humbly before God. This way we will be worthy of God the Father’s reward,” he concluded.

A Vatican Radio English translation of the full text of Pope Francis’ audio-message is below.

Dear young people,

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be careful not to practice your good works before men to be seen by them”… “When you give to the poor do not sound a trumpet before you”… “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”.

The Word of God gives us the right perspective in which to live Lent well. When we do something good, sometimes we are tempted to seek praise and to be rewarded: that’s human glory. But it’s a false reward because it makes us focus on what others think of us.

Jesus asks us to do good for the sake of good. He asks us to feel we are under the watchful gaze of our Heavenly Father at all times and to live in relationship with Him – not in relationship with the opinion of others.

Living in the presence of the Father gives us a much deeper joy than worldly glory can give us. May our attitude this Lent be one of living in secret where the Father sees us, loves us and waits for us. Naturally, exterior things are important too, but we must always choose to live in the presence of God.

Let us do what we can, in prayer, in sacrifice, and in acts of charity, humbly before God. This way we will be worthy of God the Father’s reward.

I wish you a blessed Lent.

May Our Lady of Pompeii accompany you and, please, pray for me.

10/02/2016 07:30