In his message for Lent 2022, Pope Francis invites the faithful to sow seeds of goodness, so that we might reap a harvest of salvation for ourselves and others.
By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis based his Message for Lent 2022 on a passage from St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (6:9-10).
Beginning with the image of sowing and reaping, the Holy Father points out that “Lent invites us to conversion, to a change in mindset, so that life’s truth and beauty may be found not so much in possessing as in giving, not so much in accumulating as in sowing and sharing goodness.”
God, he explains, is the first to sow, sowing “abundant seeds of goodness in our human family.” During the period of Lent, “we are called to respond to God’s gift” by listening to His Word, so that it might “bear fruit in our lives.” In this way, we become “God’s co-workers,” which is a grace of sharing in God’s own “bountiful goodness.”
Reaping the harvest
This, in turn, leads to a harvest. When we sow seeds of goodness and kindness, “no matter how small,” in our own lives, we radiate light and carry “the fragrance of Christ to the world.” Recalling the Gospel proverb, “one sows, while another reaps,” Pope Francis reminds us that “we see only a small portion of the fruits we sow.” The Pope explains that “sowing goodness for the benefit of others frees us from narrow self-interest, infuses us our actions with gratuitousness, and makes us part of the magnificent horizon of God’s benevolent plan.”
Prayer, fasting, and charitable giving
The Holy Father goes on to connect Paul’s words to the Galatians to the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. “Let us not grow tired of praying,” he says, realizing that we need God and others. “Let us not grow tired of uprooting evil from our lives,” embracing fasting in order “to fortify our spirit for the battle against sin,” especially through the sacrament of Confession and by fighting against concupiscence. “Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity towards our neighbour,” giving joyfully and generously to others, especially those in most need.
Pope Francis says that each year during Lent “we are reminded that ‘goodness, together with love, justice, and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day.’”
Do not grow tired of doing good
He concludes his message by reminding us that “the soil is prepared by fasting, watered by prayer, and enriched by charity.” He invites us, once again, not to grow tired of doing good, and calls us to “believe firmly that ‘if we do not give up, we shall reap our harvest in due time,’ and that, with the gift of perseverance, we shall obtain what was promised, for our salvation and the salvation of others.”