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God puts us back together again, says Pope before hearing confessions (Photos)

Pope Francis presides over the opening of the upcoming 24 hours for the Lord

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/08/24

God wants us renewed, free, light inside, happy and on the way, not parked on the roads of life, Pope assured at beginning of annual 24 Hours for the Lord event.

Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of St. Pius V this March 8, to begin the annual “24 Hours for the Lord,” a Lenten initiative he established with the aim of keeping churches open for a full day so the faithful can find the sacrament of confession, regardless of their schedules.

The Holy Father spoke of “new life,” which is the theme for this year’s event.

“Brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said, “what is the way to resume the path of new life? It is the way of God’s forgiveness.”

God’s forgiveness “puts us back together again … cleanses us within, returning us to the condition of our baptismal rebirth.”

But, the Pope said, while it is necessary for us to have open and contrite hearts – like the leper who cried out to Jesus, “If you will, You can make me clean” – our own efforts are not enough. “Only God knows and heals the heart; only He can deliver it from evil.”

The Holy Father noted that the Christian life is a journey, and that we can get distracted from the real purpose of our pilgrimage by too many mundane things.

We have heard that St. Paul associates new life with a verb: to walk. So the new life, begun in Baptism, is a walk. And there is no retirement in that! No one in this journey retires; one always goes forward

The Lord wants to help us, the Pope assured. “He wants us renewed, free, light inside, happy and on the way, not parked on the roads of life. He knows how easy it is for us to stumble, fall and stay down, and He wants to get us back up.”

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