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February 17, 2021 A slightly different but no less intense ritual.

Pope Francis, in the Mass that opens the time of Lent, received the ashes on his head from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica.

Then it was he who imposed them on the head of the cardinals present in St. Peter's Basilica.

Where our heart goes

In his homily, Francis stressed that Lent is not a collection of little flowers, but is a clear understanding of where our heart is oriented.

"Let's try to ask ourselves: where does the navigator of my life take me, to God or to my ego? - Pope Francis asked about a hundred faithful present at the Mass - I live to please the Lord, or to be noticed, praised, preferred , in the first place, and so on? Do I have a 'dancing' heart, which takes one step forward and one backward, loves the Lord a little and the world a little, or a heart steadfast in God? hypocrisy, or do I struggle to free the heart from the duplicity and falsehoods that bind it? ".  

Forgiveness puts us back on our feet

“We are children who fall all the time, we are like small children who try to walk but go to the ground, and they need to be lifted every time by their father.

It is the Father's forgiveness that always puts us back on our feet: God's forgiveness, Confession, is the first step on our return journey. "Then, off the cuff, he pointed out to the confessors:" I said Confession, I recommend to confessors, be like the Father, not with the whip, with the embrace ".

Lent is making us small

. Lent, Pope Francis explained," is a humble descent into ourselves and towards others "." It is understanding that the salvation that it is not a climb for glory, but a lowering for love.

It is making ourselves small "." Today we lower our heads to receive the ashes.

At the end of Lent we will lower ourselves even more to wash the feet of the brothers ", concluded the Pontiff who invited" on this journey, so as not to lose the route "to stand" before the cross of Jesus: it is the silent chair of God. We look at his wounds every day ".