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Pope’s Lenten Retreat: Eliminating Indifference and Disease

March 12, 2019. Italian Benedictine Abbot, Bernardo Francesco Maria Gianni, Stresses Need to Serve Others


Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia heard a meditation March 12, 2019, on eradicating indifference and diseases from our cities and restoring beauty to them. It was part of their March 10-15 Lenten retreat, reported by Vatican News.

Retreat preacher, Italian Benedictine Abbot, Bernardo Francesco Maria Gianni, reflected on the need to uproot indifference that shields us from our responsibility towards others by seeking the beauty and balance that come from being loved by God and loving Him in return.

Preaching his 4th reflection on the theme, “Today’s infamy, disgrace, and indifference,” the abbot said that we are called to look at the wounds of cities that are complex and marked by injustices of all kinds.  To do so, we need to let reality prevail over ideas, and not vice versa, as Pope Francis says.

The preacher spoke about indifference, one of the three signs of evil that often paralyzes our hearts in a subtle way and blurs our eyes.  Indifference, he said, acts as a shield, preventing us from our responsibility of others.  It is against the evangelical passion that the Lord wants to ignite with the power of His Holy Spirit in our hearts.

The action of the Church and of men and women of good will, the abbot explained, really becomes this fruitfulness generated by the obedient and passionate listening to the Gospel of life of Jesus.  With the holiness of the present times, those embers can truly set ablaze the light of hope in the night of the cities of our world.

The temptation of indifference, that affects also churchmen, the abbot noted, can be overcome by bringing and incarnating the Word of God in our cities at every cost.

For this, the preacher proposed the medicines of beauty and proportion. One needs to seek a balance between man and himself, and between man and things.   This means renouncing our illusion of being at the center and opening our eyes to reality to see the light and listen to the true silence.

It is not we but Christ who is the center of history and space, to whom we must conform ourselves, which gives pleasure to the Father.  The result of a good Lenten journey, the abbot said, is to let the hand of God restore our beauty, which is mere clay, fragile and poor, needing God’s breath. If you entrust yourselves to God totally, Abbot Gianni said, you will become His perfect artwork.