Pope opens Lent with call to avoid ‘clutches of consumerism’

Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has urged Roman Catholic faithful to free themselves from the “clutches of consumerism and the snares of selfishness” as he marked the start of Lent, the period of prayer and fasting before Easter.

Francis led a procession and then celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass at the basilica of Santa Sabina, one of Rome’s most beautiful.

In his homily, Francis said the 40-day period of Lent is a “wakeup call for the soul” to rediscover the direction of life.

He said: “We need to free ourselves from the clutches of consumerism and the snares of selfishness, from always wanting more, from never being satisfied, and from a heart closed to the needs of the poor.”

At the end of Lent, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

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  • Good advice from the pope. Selfishness, I think, is at the root of most other sins and consumerism is just another form of idolatry that ultimately wastes our time with trivial pursuits rather than on spiritual growth. As for never being satisfied, I once heard it said that original sin was humanity believing that the grass is always greener somewhere else. If nothing this world can provide is enough then what is left? Maybe that yearning inside us is a yearning for….God?

  • “….. He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities (the thiefdom) , He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

    Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” (Colossians 2)