The Holy Father’s message for Lent 2023, presented in the Vatican press room on February 17, has as its theme
Lenten Penance and the Synodal Journey
Pope Francis wanted to take inspiration from the Gospel passage of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Tabor to invite all the faithful to “ascend “a high mountain” in the company of Jesus and to live a particular experience of spiritual discipline – ascesis – as God’s holy people”. The goal of the Lenten itinerary and of the synodal journey that the whole church is making is “a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial. A transformation that, in both cases, has its model in the Transfiguration of Jesus and is achieved by the grace of his paschal mystery”.
There are two paths to reach the goal: listening to Jesus, who speaks through the Word of God, the cry of the needy neighbor and the brothers and sisters in the Church; the second path is the invitation to “do not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences, out of fear of facing reality and its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions”. Thus also in the synodal journey the invitation is to be “artisans of synodality in the ordinary life of our communities”.
To better accompany the Lenten journey, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will help us with an itinerary of seven stages. Following the Holy Father’s inspiration to experience Lenten asceticism as an excursion in the mountains, content will be proposed every week through downloadable materials on the Dicastery’s website.
“May the Holy Spirit inspire and sustain us this Lent in our ascent with Jesus, so that we may experience his divine splendour and thus, confirmed in faith, persevere in our journey together with him, glory of his people and light of the nations”. (Pope Francis)