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From 2/4/2014 Catholic News Service Blog. Included are links to the original CNS story and the 2014 Lenten message from Pope Francis.

CNS Blog

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis released his first Lenten message today to help people prepare for this period of prayer, penance, sacrifice and charity.

Be sure to read his message, which addresses the common confusion over upholding Christ’s poverty as “the greatest treasure of all” vs. the fight against the debilitating and “disfiguring” poverty of material, spiritual and moral neglect.

Christians are called to empty themselves like Christ and be filled with God’s love and mercy, the pope said, and then share those gifts with everyone, addressing their physical, moral and spiritual hunger.

“In imitation of our master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it,” the pope said.

One of the more challenging parts of the papal message was the pope’s call for a “self-denial” that is…

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