Last Wednesday we entered Lent with fasting and the Rite of Ashes. But what does "entering Lent" mean? It means we enter a season of special commitment in the spiritual battle to oppose the evil present in the world, in each one of us and around us. It means looking evil in the face and being ready to fight its effects and especially its causes - even its primary cause, which is Satin. It means not off-loading the problem of evil onto others, onto society, or onto God, but rather recognizing one's own responsibility and assuming it with awareness.
In this regard, Jesus' invitation to teach one of us Christians to take up our "cross" and follow him with humility and trust (cf. Matthew 16:24) is particularly pressing. Although the "cross" may be heavy, it is not synonymous with misfortune, with disgrace, to be avoided on all accounts; rather, it is an opportunity to follow Jesus and thereby to acquire strength in the fight against sin and evil. Thus, "entering Lent" means renewing the personal and community decision to face evil together with Christ. The way of the cross is in fact the only way that leads to the victory of love over hatred, of sharing over selfishness, of peace over violence. Seen in this light, Lent is truly an opportunity for a strong ascetic and spiritual commitment based on Christ's grace.
- Angelus Address, First Sunday of Lent, February 10, 2008
From Lent with Pope Benedict XVI: Meditations for Every Day