In today's Angelus message, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Holy Father meditated on the 40-day liturgical period of preparation for Easter, which began last Wednesday.
Lent "reminds us of a fundamental truth: we do not enter eternal life without carrying the cross in union with Christ," affirmed the Pope, who stood at the window of his apartment while Archbishop Sandri read the address.
"We do not attain to happiness and peace without facing the interior struggle with courage," he said.
"It is a struggle that is overcome with the weapons of penance: prayer, fasting, and works of mercy," he added.
"All this must be lived in a hidden way, without hypocrisy, in a spirit of sincere love of God and of our brethren," the Pope explained.
Before concluding, John Paul II prayed that the Virgin Mary, "who in the midst of her daily concerns had her mind and heart directed permanently to the mystery of her Son, guide us to make a fruitful Lenten journey."