Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Sunday 27 November |
Saint of the Day: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Aleteia logo
Spirituality
separateurCreated with Sketch.

St. John Paul II’s key to a successful Lent

POPE JOHN PAUL II

GERARD JULIEN | AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/27/19

It's an important one that we don't always remember or give priority to.

Lent is a beautiful time for spiritual renewal. For many centuries it has been the custom to “give up” something for the 40 days of preparation for Easter. This often consists of abstaining from such things as chocolate or TV, but St. John Paul II had a different idea of things we should give up.

In his first Lenten message as pope in 1979, John Paul II wrote, “Going without things does not consist only of giving away what we do not need; sometimes it also consists of giving away what we do need, like the widow in the Gospel who knew that what she was giving away was already a gift to her from God.”

In other words, while it’s noble to sacrifice those things in our lives that are non-essential, it’s also important to give away things that we do need, giving them to those who are in a more desperate situation.

The Polish pope expanded on this concept in 1980, explaining that “True sharing, which is a meeting with others, helps us to free ourselves from those bonds that enslave us. And, because it makes us see others as brothers and sisters, it enables us to rediscover that we are children of the same Father, ‘heirs of God and coheirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:17), from whom we have incorruptible riches.”

John Paul II saw Lent as an opportunity to empty ourselves in Christian charity, doing good to the most vulnerable of society.


GIVING TO THE HOMELESS

Read more:
Why giving to the poor is NOT actually charity

In 1981 he reinforced this message, “Lent is a time of truth, which, as in the case of the Good Samaritan, makes us pause, recognize our brothers and sisters, and put our time and possessions at their service in daily sharing. The Good Samaritan is the Church! The Good Samaritan is every man and woman! By calling! By duty! The Good Samaritan lives charity … Let us examine ourselves sincerely, honestly and simply. Our brothers and sisters are there among the poor, the sick, the outcast, the aged. What sort of love do we have? What sort of truth?”

As you prepare for Lent, consider how you can be of service to your neighbor and give things up, not only the non-essentials, but also the essentials of life, recognizing the plight of those suffering among us.




Read more:
Why We Need to Stop Giving Our Junk to the Poor




Read more:
Pope Francis offers a “worksheet” for Lent: Check it out!

Tags:
LentPope John Paul II
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here. It's Free!