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Praying with Pope Francis this Lent 2022

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For the third straight year
since 2020, we enter the season
of Lent, O Lord, in the most realistic
or surreal manner as our lives were thrown 
off-balance, altered in so many ways,
and some ruined by this COVID-19 
pandemic made worst recently by
Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
As we begin our 40-day journey
back to you, loving God our Father,
we pray to you on this Ash Wednesday
to raise us up "from the ash heap, 
to make us sit with princes and 
inherit a seat of honor" (Ps.113:7-8) because
"now is the acceptable time" (2 Cor. 6:2)
of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Together with Pope Francis,
help us "not to grow tired of 
doing good, while we have the
opportunity to do good to all"
(Galatians 6:9-10) despite the
great difficulties especially 
in this time of the pandemic, 
elections fever, and war in Ukraine.
Let us not grow tired of praying
because in these times of trials,
the more we need you, dear God;
help us remember the lesson of this
pandemic that we are fragile
as individuals and as a society,
that without you, O Lord, we cannot
stand firm and make it to this Lent again.
Let us not grow tired of uprooting
evil in our lives through our lenten practice
of fasting to fortify our spirit in the fight
against sin; let us not grow tired of
fighting against all forms of addictions
that drive us to selfishness and all
kinds of evil like too much social media that
has made us forget to cultivate authentic
human communications based in
"authentic encounters", face-to-face,
and personal.
Let us not grow tired of doing good
in active charity towards our neighbors
especially the poor and needy,
the marginalized and abandoned
in whom Jesus is most present.
Give us the patient perseverance
of a farmer who awaits the fruits
of the earth (James 5:7), always
persevering in doing good, 
one step at a time; may we realize
that in cultivating fraternal love to
one another, we become united to Christ
who gave his life for our sake and enabled us
to have a foretaste of the joy of heaven
when you, O God, 
will be "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).
Amen.

*For the full text of Pope Francis’ Lenten Message 2022, see https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/documents/20211111-messaggio-quaresima2022.html

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Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

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