Wondering what to give up for Lent? Try indifference, says pope
By Elise Harris
Catholic News Agency
Vatican City -- The “globalization of indifference” was at the heart of Pope Francis’ Lenten message, in which he urged faithful to fight individualism with merciful hearts that are more attentive to the needs of others.
“(Jesus) is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us,” the pope noted in his Jan. 27 Lenten message, saying that often times when we live a healthy and comfortable lifestyle, “we forget about others.”
“We are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure.... Our heart grows cold,” he observed, saying that today this “selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference.”
Lent, he said, is a time of grace in which we encounter the love of the Lord, who first served us through his life and the washing of the disciples’ feet before his passion, and ultimately in his sacrificial death on the cross.
“God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation,” the pontiff explained.
This “globalization of indifference” is a reality that Christians must confront by going outside of themselves, he said.
“Flooded with news reports and troubling images of human suffering, we often feel our complete inability to help,” the pope observed.
Both praying together as a community and performing small acts of charity are concrete ways that can prevent us from getting “caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness,” the pope explained.
Pope Francis concluded his message by praying that during Lent, each person receive “a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”