O Lord Jesus, you who at the beginning of your public life withdrew into the desert, we beg you to teach all men that recollection of mind is the beginning of conversion and salvation.
Leaving your home at Nazareth and your sweet mother, you wished to experience solitude, weariness, and hunger. To the tempter who proposed to you the trial of miracles, you replied with the strength of eternal wisdom, in itself a miracle of Heavenly grace.
It is Lent.
O Lord, do not let us turn to “broken cisterns,” which can hold no water, nor imitate the unfaithful servant or the foolish virgins; do not let us be so blinded by the enjoyment of the good things of Earth that our hearts become insensible to the cry of the poor, of the sick, of orphan children, and of those innumerable brothers of ours who still lack the necessary minimum to eat, to clothe their nakedness, and to gather their family together under one roof.
You also, O Jesus, were immersed in the river of Jordan, under the eyes of the crowd, although very few then were able to recognize you; and this mystery of tardy faith, or of indifference, prolonged through the centuries, is a source of grief for those who love you and have received the mission of making you known in the world.
O grant to the successors of your apostles and disciples and to all who call themselves after your name and your cross, to press on with the work of spreading the Gospel and bear witness to it in prayer, suffering, and loving obedience to your will!
And since you, an innocent lamb, came before John in the attitude of a sinner, so draw us also to the waters of the Jordan. To the Jordan will we go to confess our sins and cleanse our souls. And as the skies opened to announce the voice of your father, expressing his pleasure in you, so, having successfully overcome our trial and lived austerely through the forty days of our Lent, may we, O Jesus, when the day of your resurrection dawns, hear once more in our innermost hearts the same Heavenly Father’s voice, recognizing us as his children.
O holy Lent of this mystic year of the Ecumenical Council! May this prayer rise, on this evening of serene religious recollection, from every house where people work, love, and suffer. May the angels of Heaven gather the prayers of all the souls of little children, of generous-hearted young men and women, of hard-working and self-sacrificing parents, and of all who suffer in body and mind, and present their prayers to God. From him will flow down in abundance the gifts of his Heavenly joys, of which our Apostolic Benediction is a pledge and a reflection.