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VATICAN CITY — On Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis sent a special audio-message to young people, inviting them to live for their heavenly Father and not for what others think of them.
The pope’s message was the first contribution of the “Keep Lent” initiative sponsored by the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii youth ministry office.
The “Keep Lent” App will provide a daily Gospel reading and commentary from leading clergy and lay catechists via social media throughout the Lenten season.
Here’s how to use the app:
- Download the Telegram Messenger app from the iTunes App Store.
- Find @Pgpompei and open Keep Lent.
- Click on the button at the bottom “join”.
In his message to young people, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading from the Mass of Ash Wednesday (Matt. 6:1-6,16-18), in which Jesus warns against practicing good works so others may see them.
Here below is Pope Francis’ special message to young people for Lent.
Dear young people,
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them” … “when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you” … “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
The Word of God gives us the proper orientation for living Lent well.
When we do something good, sometimes we are tempted to be appreciated and to have a reward: [to do it for] human glory. But this is a false recompense because it makes us look to what others think of us.
Jesus asks us to do good because it is good. He asks us to feel that we are always under the gaze of the heavenly Father and to live in relation to him, not in relation to the judgement of others.
To live in the presence of the Father is a much deeper joy than worldly glory.
May our attitude this Lent therefore be to live in secret where the Father sees us, loves us, awaits us. Of course, exterior things are also important, but we should always choose to live in the presence of God.
In prayer, in mortification and in fraternal charity, let us do what we can, humbly, before God. Thus will we be worthy of God the Father’s reward.
Have a blessed Lent. May Our Lady of Pompeii accompany you, and please, pray for me.
[See also: A Millennials Guide to Lent – Ed]
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.