What an incredible source of inspiration for this Lenten season!

During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI gave some timeless messages regarding the true meaning of the penitential season of Lent. He also gave us new ways to think about our Lenten journey and the true meaning of these days leading up to Easter.

Here are six thought-provoking messages from Pope Benedict XVI:

Lent reminds us, therefore, that Christian life is a never-ending combat in which the ‘weapons’ of prayer, fasting, and penance are used. Fighting against evil, against every form of selfishness and hate, and dying to oneself to live in God is the ascetic journey that every disciple of Jesus is called to make with humility and patience, with generosity and perseverance.” – 2006

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

“May Mary, our guide on the Lenten journey, lead us to ever deeper knowledge of the dead and Risen Christ, help us in the spiritual combat against sin, and sustain us as we pray with conviction: ‘Converte nos, Deus salutaris noster’ — ‘Convert us to you, O God, our salvation’. Amen!” – 2011

“The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favorable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter.” 2012

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

“If Advent is the season par excellence that invites us to hope in the God-Who-Comes, Lent renews in us the hope in the One who made us pass from death to life. Both are seasons of purification – this is also indicated by the liturgical color that they have in common – but in a special way Lent, fully oriented to the mystery of Redemption, is defined the ‘path of true conversion’” – 2008

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us begin our Lenten journey with joyful confidence. May we feel deep within us the call to conversion, to ‘return to God with all our heart’, accepting his grace which makes us new men and women, with that astonishing newness which is a share in the very life of Jesus. May none of us be deaf to this appeal, which also comes to us in the austere rite, at once so simple and so evocative, of the imposition of ashes, which we are about to celebrate.” – 2013

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

“Dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrection – in which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon history – I express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives.” – 2013

Let these Lenten messages guide you through these 40 days. Feel free to share these images with others as a source of inspiration.

Mother Mary, be our guide!

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[See also: 10 Powerful Saint Quotes to Ignite Your Lenten Journey to Holiness]

[See also: Why Catholics Practice Fasting & Abstinence During Lent, in 5 Simple Infographics]

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