Pope Francis Malacanang 7

There is a popular meme going around the internet as we begin Lent 2024. It purports to be from Pope Francis, speaking about the nature of fasting in Lent. In some ways, it sounds like something Pope Francis would say? But did he?

It reads:

Eat whatever you want for Lent. The sacrifice is not in the stomach, but in the heart. They refrain from eating meat, but don’t talk to their siblings or relatives, don’t visit their parents or bother to attend to them. They Don’t share food with the needy, they forbid children to see their father, forbid grandparents to see their grandchildren, criticize other people’s lives, beat their wife, etc.

A good barbeque or beef stew won’t make you a bad person, just like a fish fillet won’t turn you into a saint. Better seek to have a deeper relationship with God through better treatment of others Let’s be less arrogant and more humble at heart.”

The Gospel reading from Ash Wednesday reminds us what authentic prayer looks like. Only the hypocrites pray publicly so that others can see! One’s “inner room” is the place of authentic prayer. This quote seems to capture this sentiment; doing fasting during the season of Lent without true commitment is less than authentic.

But as it turns out, this quote is fabricated and NOT from Pope Francis.

The good news? Pope Francis did publish remarks for the Season of Lent.

Lent is the season of grace in which the desert can become once more – in the words of the prophet Hosea – the place of our first love (cf. Hos 2:16-17). God shapes his people, he enables us to leave our slavery behind and experience a Passover from death to life. Like a bridegroom, the Lord draws us once more to himself, whispering words of love to our hearts.

Read the Holy Father’s 2024 Lenten Message here.

And be sure to check out Simply Liturgical’s Year B Lenten Psalms.

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