"Come back to me with all your heart"
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
General Audience of 16/02/1983
"Come back to me with all your heart" (Jl 2,12)
This important time in the liturgical year is characterized by the biblical message that can be summed up in a word… : “Repent”… The evocative ceremony of the ashes raises our minds to the eternal reality that will never pass away, to God who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega of our existence (Rv 21,6). For conversion is indeed nothing other than a return to God, a putting earthly realities into perspective against the unfailing light of his truth. It is an evaluation that leads us to have an ever greater consciousness of the fact that we are only passing through the midst of this world’s toilsome vicissitudes and that prompts and encourages us to make every possible effort so that God’s Kingdom may be established within ourselves and his justice triumph.
The word « repentance » is equally synonymous with « conversion ». Lent calls upon us to put the spirit of repentance into practice, not according to its negative meaning of sadness and frustration but according to that of the uplifting of our minds, of freedom from evil, detachment from sin and all those influences that may hinder our progress towards fullness of life. Repentance as cure, reparation, change of mind, which disposes us for faith and grace but which presupposes will, effort and perseverance. It is repentance as an expression of our free and generous engagement in the following of Christ.