Pope Francis celebrates the beginning of Lent with Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina, and calls on the faithful to take up Jesus’ invitation to “return to the heart.”
By Christopher Wells

At the beginning of Lent, Jesus invites each one of us to “go into our inner room,” Pope Francis said in his homily for Mass on Ash Wednesday.
“Going into your inner room,” explained the Pope, “means returning to the heart… going from without to within, so that our whole life, including our relationship with God,” reflects the reality of our inner being.
The Pope said that Lent offers us the opportunity to “go back” to our authentic selves, removing all the masks and illusions that we too often wear.
This, he said, is why “in a spirit of prayer and humility, we receive ashes on our head”—the ashes remind us we are dust, but dust that is loved and preserved by God: “The ashes placed on our head invite us to rediscover the secret of life” and allow us to feel ourselves to be loved by God “with an eternal love.”

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