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Pope dwells on humankind's beauty, fragility on Lent retreat

'Like a pomegranate, but deformed without God' says priest

11 March, 18:02
Pope dwells on humankind's beauty, fragility on Lent retreat (ANSA) - Rome, March 11 - Pope Francis continued his week-long Lenten retreat Tuesday, as spiritual exercises opened with a priest's sermon on the beauty and fragility of humankind, always in need of God's love, according to Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano. Francis has been in the medieval hill town of Ariccia just south of Rome with members of the Curia since leaving the Vatican Sunday afternoon by bus. He broke with the tradition of holding the Lenten retreat inside the Vatican, to ensure he and Curia members could get away from work and experience five days of silence and meditation.

Held at a Pauline Fathers' conference centre, the retreat is expected to include outdoor Way of the Cross and Rosary trails set out through the woods for quiet meditation and prayer. According to Vatican Radio, Francis and senior aides begin their day with Mass, breakfast and a meditation before lunch followed by late afternoon meditations, vespers and prayers before dinner.

Retreat leader Monsignor Angelo De Donatis, a popular spiritual director and pastor of a parish in the center of Rome, opened sessions Tuesday by comparing humans to the beauty of a pomegranate, but a beauty that risked being deformed if man tried to look for artificial substitutes for God. He closed by saying that the Church, clergy, and Christians at large were not tasked with showing the world what they are doing, but to show what God is doing "through us".