Pope Francis 2015 Jan to Aug
Pope Francis 2015
Jan to Aug
Pope Francis 26.08.15: Prayer
Families often experience difficulty in devoting time for prayer. But a heart filled with the love of God can make even a silent thought or small gesture of devotion into a moment of prayer.
It’s good to believe in God with all our heart, it’s good to hope that he will help us in difficulty, it’s good to feel obliged to give him thanks.
Let us think of the wording of that great Commandment, which is the basis of all others: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:5; cf. Mt 22:37).
The formula uses the intense language of love, addressing it to God. He could have simply revealed himself as the Supreme Being, given his commandments and waited for the results. Instead, God did and does
infinitely more than this. He accompanies us on life’s journey, he protects us, he loves us.
The spirit of prayer gives time back to God, it steps away from the obsession of a life that is always lacking time, it rediscovers the peace of necessary things.
Prayer flows from listening to Jesus, from reading the Gospel. Do not forget to read a passage of the Gospel every day. Prayer flows from closeness with the Word of God.
Pope Francis 19.08.15: Work
Through work, the family is cared for and children are provided with a dignified life.
And indeed work, in its many forms, beginning with that in the home, is also concerned with the common good. Where does one learn this hard-working lifestyle? First of all, one learns it in the family. The family teaches work through the example of the parents: the father and the mother who work for the good of the family and of society.
In the Gospel, the Holy Family of Nazareth appears as a family of workers, and Jesus himself is called “son of a carpenter” (Mt 13:55) or even “the carpenter” (Mk 6:3). And St Paul will not fail to warn Christians:“If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thess 3:10) — that’s a good recipe for losing weight, you don’t work, you don’t eat! The Apostle explicitly refers to the false spiritualism of some who indeed live off their brothers and sisters “without doing any work” (2 Thess 3:11). The commitment of work and the life of the spirit, in the Christian conception, are not at all at odds with one another. It is important to understand this properly! Prayer and work can and must be in harmony, as St Benedict teaches. The absence of work damages the spirit, just as the absence of prayer damages practical activity.
Work— I repeat, in its many forms — is proper to the human person. It expresses the dignity of being created in the image of God. Thus, it is said that work is sacred. And thus, managing one’s occupation is a great human and social responsibility, which cannot be left in the hands of the few or unladen onto some divinized “market”. Causing the loss of jobs means causing serious harm to society.
It makes me sad to see people without work, who don’t find work and don’t have the dignity of bringing bread home. And I rejoice greatly when I see governments make great efforts to find jobs and seek that everyone has work. Work is sacred, work gives dignity to a family. We have to pray that no family is left without work.
Therefore, work too, like celebration, is part of the God’s creative plan.
The Encyclical Laudato Si’, which proposes an integral ecology, also contains this message: the beauty of the earth and the dignity of work were made to be united. The two go together: the earth becomes beautiful when it is worked by man.
When work is detached from God’s covenant with man and woman, and it is separated from its spiritual qualities, when work is held hostage by the logic of profit alone and human life is disregarded, the poisoning of the soul contaminates everything: even the air, water, grass, food ... the life of society is corrupted and habitat breaks down. And the consequences fall most of all on the poor and on poor families. The modern organization of work sometimes shows a dangerous tendency to consider the family a burden, a weight, a liability for the productivity of labour.
At times those in charge are interested in managing individuals as a workforce, assembling and utilizing them or throwing them away on the basis of economic benefit. The family is a great workbench. When the organization of work holds it hostage, or even blocks its path, then we can be certain that human society has begun to work against itself!
God has given Christian families the challenge and mission to make present the foundations of his creation: a true understanding of the identity of man and woman and the bond they share, their call to bring children into the world, and the gift of work in making the world ever more fruitful and hospitable.
The loss of these foundations is a very serious matter and there are already too many cracks in the common home! It is not an easy task. Sometimes it may seem to family associations as though they are like David facing Goliath ... but we know how that challenge turned out! It takes faith and shrewdness. May God grant us the ability to accept with joy and hope his call, in this difficult moment of our history, the call to work to give dignity to ourselves and to our families.
Pope Francis 12.08.15: Celebration
Celebration is an invention of God.
Let us recall the conclusion of the story of Creation, in the Book of Genesis, “And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation” (2:2-3).
God himself teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplate and enjoy what has been done well in work. I speak of work, naturally, not only in the sense of employment and profession, but in the broader sense: each action in which we men and women can cooperate in the creative work of God.
Thus celebration is not the laziness of lounging in an armchair, or the euphoria of foolish escape. No, celebration is first and foremost a loving and grateful look at work well done; we celebrate work.
Newlyweds, are celebrating the work of a good period of engagement: and this is beautiful! It is the time to look at your children, or grandchildren, who are growing up, and to think: how beautiful! It’s the time to look at our home, the friends we host, the community that surrounds us, and to think: what good things! God did this when he created the world. And he does so again and again, because God is always creating, even at this moment!
It may happen that a celebration occurs in difficult or sorrowful circumstances, and perhaps we celebrate “with a lump in our throat”. Yet, even in these cases, we ask God for the strength not to empty it completely.
In the workplace too, at times — without neglecting our duties — we know how to“infiltrate” a glint of celebration: a birthday, a wedding, a birth, just as a farewell or a new arrival..., it’s important. It’s important to celebrate. These are family moments in the inner workings of the productive machinery: it does us good!
A true moment of celebration brings work to a pause, and it is sacred, because it reminds men and women that they are made in the image of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work, and thus we too must never be slaves to work, but“lords”.
There is a commandment about this, a commandment which concerns everyone, excluding no one! Yet we know that there are millions of men and women and even children who are slaves to labour! In this time there are slaves, they are exploited, slaves to labour and this is against God and against the dignity of the human person!
The obsession with economic profit and technical efficiency puts the human rhythms of life at risk.
The time for rest, especially on Sunday, is ordained for us so that we can enjoy what is not produced and not consumed, not bought and not sold.
Instead we see that the ideology of profit and consumerism even wants to feed on celebration: it too is sometimes reduced to a “business”, to a way of making and spending money. But is this what we are working for? The greed of consumerism, that leads to waste, is an ugly virus which, among other things, makes us end up even more tired than before. It harms true labour and consumes life. The irregular rhythms of celebration often make victims of the young.
Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God. Sunday Eucharist brings to the celebration every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love, his sacrifice, his forming us into a community, his way of being with us.Everything is transfigured by his grace: work, family, the joys and trials of each day, even our sufferings and death.
The family is endowed with an extraordinary ability to understand, guide and sustain the authentic value of the time for celebration. How beautiful family celebrations are, they are beautiful! Sunday celebrations in particular. It is surely no coincidence that celebrations which have room for the whole family are those that turn out the best!
The same family life, regarded through the eyes of faith, looks better to us than the toils that cost us. It looks to us like a masterpiece of simplicity, beautiful precisely because it is not artificial, not phony, but able to incorporate within itself all aspects of real life. It looks to us like something “very good”, as God says of the creation of man and woman was finished (cf. Gen 1:31). Thus, celebration is a precious gift of God; a precious gift that God gave to the human family: let’s not spoil it!
Pope Francis 05.08.15 : Divorced and remarried people are not excommunicated
Reflecting on the situation of our brothers and sisters who have divorced and entered a second union.
Though their unions are contrary to the Sacrament of marriage, the Church, as a Mother, seeks the good and salvation of all her children. As these situations especially affect children, we are aware of a greater urgency to foster a true welcome for these families in our communities.
For how can we encourage these parents to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of Christian faith, if we keep them at arm’s length?
I am especially grateful to the many pastors, guided by my Predecessors, who have worked diligently to let these families know they are still a part of the Church.
They are not excommunicated, and should not be treated as such, but rather must be encouraged, with their families, to participate in the Church’s life: through prayer, listening to the Word of God, the Christian education of their children, and service to the poor.
As the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep, so the Church as a Mother gives her life for all her children, by being always the “house of the Father, with doors wide open”. May everyone, especially Christian families, imitate the Good Shepherd, who knows all his sheep and excludes no one from his infinite love.
Pope Francis 02.08.15: Confession
Today we recall the “Forgiveness of Assisi”.
It is a powerful summons to draw close to the Lord in the Sacrament of Mercy and also in receiving Communion.
There are people who are afraid to go to Confession, forgetting that there we do not meet a strict judge, but the immensely merciful Father.
It is true that when we enter the confessional we feel a little shame. This happens to everyone, to all of us, but we must remember that even this shame is a grace which prepares us for the embrace of the Father, who always forgives and always forgives everything.
Pope Francis 02.08.15: Jesus is the bread of life
Jesus invites us to be open to a perspective which is not only that of daily preoccupation and material needs; Jesus speaks to us of a different kind of food, food which is not corruptible and that we must search for and welcome into our lives.
He exhorts us not to work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give us.
He wants us to understand that beyond a physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger – “we all have this hunger” – a more important kind of hunger that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food.
It is the hunger for life - the hunger for eternity - that only He can satisfy because He is the bread of life.
Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. This refers to the Eucharist, the greatest gift that fulfills body and soul.
To meet and to welcome Jesus, “the bread of life” gives meaning and hope to our lives that are sometimes tortuous; but this “bread of life” also gives us the duty to satisfy the spiritual and material needs of our brothers.
To do this we must announce the Gospel everywhere, and with the witness of a fraternal attitude of solidarity towards our neighbor, we can make Christ and his love present amongst men.
Pope Francis 26.07.15 Multiply good works like loaves and fishes
Jesus satisfies not only material hunger, but the most profound of hungers, the hunger for meaning in life, the hunger for God.
In the face of suffering, loneliness, poverty and difficulties of so many people, what can we do?
Complaining, does not solve anything, but we can offer what little we have. We certainly have a few hours of time, some talent, some expertise. Who among us does not have his or her "five loaves and two fish"? If we are willing to put them in the hands of the Lord, we will bring a little more love into the world a bit 'more love, peace, justice and joy. God is able to multiply our small gestures of solidarity and make us partakers of his gift.
Pope Francis 21.07.15 Laudato Si is a social encyclical
Caring for the environment means an attitude of human ecology. In other words, we cannot say: the person and Creation, the environment, are two separate entities. Ecology is total, it is human. This is what I wanted to express in the Encyclical 'Laudato si'': that you cannot separate humanity from the rest; there is a relationship of mutual impact, and also the rebound effect when the environment is abused.
Therefore … I say, 'no, it is not a green encyclical, it is a social encyclical'. Because we cannot separate care for the environment from the social context, the social life of mankind. Furthermore, care for the environment is a social attitude.
Pope Francis 12.07.15: a Christian is someone who has learned to welcome others, to show hospitality.
Jesus calls his disciples and sends them out, giving them clear and precise instructions. He challenges them to take on a whole range of attitudes and ways of acting.
Let us think about some of these attitudes: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money...” “When you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place”. All this might seem quite unrealistic.
Jesus as the good master, the good teacher, sends them out to be welcomed, to experience hospitality. He says to them: “Where you enter a house, stay there”. He sends them out to learn one of the hallmarks of the community of believers. We might say that a Christian is someone who has learned to welcome others, to show hospitality.
Jesus does not send them out as men of influence, landlords, officials armed with rules and regulations. Instead, he makes them see that the Christian journey is about changing hearts. It is about learning to live differently, under a different law, with different rules. It is about turning from the path of selfishness, conflict, division and superiority, and taking instead the path of life, generosity and love. It is about passing from a mentality which domineers, stifles and manipulates to a mentality which welcomes, accepts and cares.
These are two contrasting mentalities, two ways of approaching our life and our mission.
How many times do we see mission in terms of plans and programs. How many times do we see evangelization as involving any number of strategies, tactics, maneuvers, techniques, as if we could convert people on the basis of our own arguments. Today the Lord says to us quite clearly: in the mentality of the Gospel, you do not convince people with arguments, strategies or tactics. You convince them by learning how to welcome them.
The Church is a mother with an open heart. She knows how to welcome and accept, especially those in need of greater care, those in greater difficulty. The Church is the home of hospitality. How much good we can do, if only we try to speak the language of hospitality, of welcome! How much pain can be soothed, how much despair can be allayed in a place where we feel at home! Welcoming the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner (Mt 25:34-37), the leper and the paralytic. Welcoming those who do not think as we do, who do not have faith or who have lost it. Welcoming the persecuted, the unemployed. Welcoming the different cultures, of which our earth is so richly blessed. Welcoming sinners.
So often we forget that there is an evil underlying our sins. There is a bitter root which causes damage, great damage, and silently destroys so many lives. There is an evil which, bit by bit, finds a place in our hearts and eats away at our life: it is isolation. Isolation which can have many roots, many causes. How much it destroys our life and how much harm it does us. It makes us turn our back on others, God, the community. It makes us closed in on ourselves. That is why the real work of the Church, our mother, is not mainly to manage works and projects, but to learn how to live in fraternity with others. A welcome-filled fraternity is the best witness that God is our Father, for “by this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).
In this way, Jesus teaches us a new way of thinking. He opens before us a horizon brimming with life, beauty, truth and fulfillment.
God never closes off horizons; he is never unconcerned about the lives and sufferings of his children. God never allows himself to be outdone in generosity. So he sends us his Son, he gives him to us, he hands him over, he shares him... so that we can learn the way of fraternity, of self-giving. He opens up a new horizon; he is the new and definitive Word which sheds light on so many situations of exclusion, disintegration, loneliness and isolation. He is the Word which breaks the silence of loneliness.
And when we are weary or worn down by our efforts to evangelize, it is good to remember that the life which Jesus holds out to us responds to the deepest needs of people. “We were created for what the Gospel offers us: friendship with Jesus and love of our brothers and sisters” (Evangelii Gaudium, 265).
On thing is sure: we cannot force anyone to receive us, to welcome us; this is itself part of our poverty and freedom. But neither can anyone force us not to be welcoming, hospitable in the lives of our people. No one can tell us us not to accept and embrace the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially those who have lost hope and zest for life. How good it would be to think of our parishes, communities, chapels, wherever there are Christians, as true centers of encounter between ourselves and God.
The Church is a mother, like Mary. In her, we have a model. We too must provide a home, like Mary, who did not lord it over the word of God, but rather welcomed that word, bore it in her womb and gave it to others.
We too must provide a home, like the earth, which does not choke the seed, but receives it, nourishes it and makes it grow.
Pope Francis 11.07.15: Young people - the devils team or Christs team?
Saint Ignatius has a famous meditation on the two standards. He describes the standard of the devil and then the standard of Christ. It would be like the football jerseys of two different teams. And he asks us which team we want to play for.
Saint Ignatius says that the devil, in order to recruit players, promises that those who play on his side will receive riches, honor, glory and power. They will be famous. Everyone will worship them.
Then, Ignatius tells us the way Jesus plays. His game is not something fantastic. Jesus doesn’t tell us that we will be stars, celebrities, in this life. Instead, he tells us that playing with him is about humility, love, service to others. Jesus does not lie to us; he takes us seriously.
In the Bible, the devil is called the father of lies. What he promises, or better, what he makes you think, is that, if you do certain things, you will be happy. And later, when you think about it, you realize that you weren’t happy at all. That you were up against something which, far from giving you happiness, made you feel more empty, even sad. Friends: the devil is a con artist. He makes promises after promise, but he never delivers. He’ll never really do anything he says. He doesn’t make good on his promises. He makes you want things which he can’t give, whether you get them or not. He makes you put your hopes in things which will never make you happy. That’s his g ame, his strategy. He talks a lot, he offers a lot, but he doesn’t deliver. He is a con artist because everything he promises us is divisive, it is about comparing ourselves to others, about stepping over them in order to get what we want. He is a con artist because he tells us that we have to abandon our friends, and never to stand by anyone. Everything is based on appearances. He makes you think that your worth depends on how much you possess.
Then we have Jesus, who asks us to play on his team. He doesn’t con us, nor does he promise us the world. He doesn’t tell us that we will find happiness in wealth, power and pride. Just the opposite. He shows us a different way. This coach tells his players: “Blessed, happy are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake”. And he ends up by telling them: “Rejoice on account of all this!”.
Why? Because Jesus doesn’t lie to us. He shows us a path which is life and truth. He is the great proof of this. His style, his way of living, is friendship, relationship with his Father. And that is what he offers us. He makes us realize that we are sons and daughters. Beloved children.
He does not trick you. Because he knows that happiness, true happiness, the happiness which can fill our hearts, is not found in designer clothing, or expensive brand-name shoes. He knows that real happiness is found in drawing near to others, learning how to weep with those who weep, being close to those who are feeling low or in trouble, giving them a shoulder to cry on, a hug. If we don’t know how to weep, we don’t know how to laugh either, we don’t know how to live.
Jesus knows that in this world filled with competition, envy and aggressivity, true happiness comes from learning to be patient, from respecting others, from refusing to condemn or judge others. As the saying goes: “When you get angry, you lose”. Don’t let your heart give in to anger and resentment. Happy are the merciful. Happy are those who know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, those who are able to embrace, to forgive. We have all experienced this at one time or another. And how beautiful it is! It is like getting our lives back, getting a new chance. Nothing is more beautiful than to have a new chance. It is as if life can start all over again.
Happy too are those who bring new life and new opportunities. Happy those who work and sacrifice to do this. All of us have made mistakes and been caught up in misunderstandings, a thousand of them. Happy, then, are those who can help others when they make mistakes, when they experience misunderstandings. They are true friends, they do not give up on anyone. They are the pure of heart, the ones who can look beyond the little things and overcome difficulties. Happy above all are the ones who can see the good in other people.
The way of the Beatitudes is a way of fulfilment, a path we can really follow, a path which can make our hearts brim over. The saints are our friends and models. They no longer play on our field, but we continue to look to them in our efforts to play our best game. They show us that Jesus is no con artist; he offers us genuine fulfillment. But above all, he offers us friendship, true friendship, the friendship we all need.
So we need to be friends the way Jesus is. Not to be closed in on ourselves, but to join his team and play his game, to go out and make more and more friends. To bring the excitement of Jesus’ friendship to the world, wherever you find yourselves: at work, at school, on WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter. When you go out dancing, or for a drink of tereré, when you meet in the town square or play a little match on the neighborhood field. That is where Jesus’ friends can be found. Not by conning others, but by standing beside them and being patient with them. With the patience which comes from knowing that we are happy, because we have a Father who is in heaven.
Pope Francis in Bolivia 09.07.15 : No one needs to be discarded
Pope Francis 08.07.15: Priests, Religious should have gratitude
Pope Francis 07.07.15: Evangelize with the Gospel of Joy
Pope Francis: 26.06.15 include the Excluded
Closeness, is such an important word: you can’t build a community without closeness; you can’t make peace without closeness; you can’t do good without drawing near.
Jesus could have said to him [the leper]: “Be healed!”. But instead He drew close and touched him. “What’s more: at the moment that Jesus touched the unclean man, He became unclean”. And “this is the mystery of Jesus: He takes upon himself our uncleanliness, our impurities”.
So often, I think that it may be, I wouldn’t say impossible, but very difficult to do good without getting our hands dirty”. And “Jesus got dirty” with his“closeness”.
Essentially,“that man who is excluded from social life, Jesus includes: includes in the Church, includes in society”. He advises: “Go, so that all things shall be as they must be”. Thus, “Jesus never marginalizes anyone, ever!”. Moreover, Jesus“marginalizes himself in order to include the marginalized, to include us, sinners, marginalized people, by his life!”. And “this is beautiful."
How many people followed Jesus in that time and have followed Jesus in history because they are astonished of how he speaks”. And “how many people are watching from afar and do not understand, are not interested; how many people watch from afar but with a wicked heart, to put Jesus to the test, to criticize him, to condemn him”. And yet, “how many people watch from afar because they don’t have the courage” of that leper, “but have such longing to draw near”. And “in that case, Jesus stretched out his hand, first; not as in this case, but in his being he reached out his hand to everyone, becoming one of us, like us: sinners like us but without sin; but a sinner, soiled by our sins”. And “this is Christian closeness”.
“Closeness”is a “beautiful word, for each of us". We should ask ourselves: “Do I know how to draw near? Do I have the strength, do I have the courage to touch those who are marginalized?”. And “the Church, parishes, communities, consecrated men and women, bishops, priests, everyone” should also answer this question: “Do I have the courage to draw near or do I always keep my distance? Do I have the courage to close the distance, as Jesus did?”
Therefore, “let us ask him for this grace: Lord, may I not be afraid to draw close to the needy, to the needy who are visible or to those who have hidden wounds”. This, is “the grace of drawing near”.
Pope Francis 21 - 22 June 2015 Pastoral Visit to Turin
‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth’”. And Jesus also explains why: “where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal”.
Jesus tells us that it is dangerous to play with this attitude and store up treasures on earth”. It’s true, that perhaps “this attitude is rooted in the desire for security”. As if to say “I want to be secure and, for this reason, I have these savings”. However“riches are not like a statue, they are not stationary: riches have the tendency to grow, to move, to take their place in life and in a person’s heart”. And “this is how that person who stores up treasures so as not to become a slave to poverty, ends up a slave to treasures.
Jesus speaks of moths and rust: but what are they? They are the destruction of the heart, the corruption of the heart, and even the destruction of families”. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other”. In other words, the Lord says, “You cannot serve God and mammon”.
It’s true, if we hear people with this attitude of storing up treasures, they will ‘stockpile’ so many excuses to justify themselves, so many!”. However, “in the end, these treasures do not provide security for ever. Instead, they diminish your dignity”. And this also applies to families: so many families become divided over treasures.
Even at the root of war there is this ambition which destroys, corrupts”. In fact, “in this world, at this moment, there are so many wars out of greed for power, for wealth”. But “we can think about war in our heart: ‘Beware of all covetousness’, the Lord says”. Because “greed goes forward, it goes on, it goes on: it’s a step, it opens the door, then comes vanity — believing your are important, believing you are powerful — and, at the end, pride”. And “from there all vices, all: they are steps, but the first is greed, the desire to lay up treasures”.
The devil enters through the pockets: this is the entrance of the devil, and from there of all the vices, to these insecure securities”. And, “this is actually corruption, it is the moth and the rust that leads us on”.
Jesus’ response is clear: instead, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal”. This is truly “the daily struggle: how to manage well the treasures of the earth so they are directed to heaven and become the treasures of heaven”.
When the Lord blesses a person with treasures, He makes him the steward of those treasures for the common good and for the good of all”, and“not for his own good”. But “it isn’t easy to become an honest steward, for there is always the temptation of greed, to become important: the world teaches us this and leads us down this road”.
We must think about others and realise that what I own is for the benefit of others and nothing that I have now can be taken with me. Indeed,“if I use for the common good what the Lord has given me, as a steward, this sanctifies me, it will make me holy”. However, “it isn’t easy”. Every day you must rest in your heart by asking yourselves: where is your treasure? In wealth or in this stewardship, in this service for the common good?
This is why “when a wealthy person sees that his treasure is administered for the common good, and in his heart and in his life he lives simply, as if he were poor: that person is holy, that person is on the road of sainthood, because his treasures are for everyone”.
But “it’s difficult, its like playing with fire”. This is the reason that “so many appease their conscience with charity and they give what they have left over. This is not an administrator: the administrator's job is to take what is needed for himself or herself and whatever is left over is given to others, all of it. Indeed, “administering riches is a continuous divesting of our own interests and not thinking that these riches will give us salvation”. Therefore, “store up: yes, okay, treasures: yes, okay, but those that have value — so to speak — in ‘heaven’s stock exchange’: there, store up there!”.
The Lord in his life lived as a poor man, but such treasures!”. Paul himself, (2 Cor 11:18, 21-30), “lived as a poor man and what did he boast of? Of his weakness”. And “he had opportunities, he had power, but always in service, always in service”. Thus, “in service” is really the key phrase, adding: “Baptism makes us brothers of one another through serving, through stripping ourselves: not stripping each other, but stripping myself and giving to the other”.
Let us think, “how is our heart, how is the light of our heart, how is the vision of our heart: is it simple?”. The Lord says, again in the Gospel according to Matthew, that “the whole body shall be luminous”.However, if “one is bad, if one is attached to his own interests and not to others, this will darken the heart”. This person “makes treasures through vices and corruption: it darkens the heart when a person is attached to them”.
The Lord who is so rich — so rich! — made himself poor to enrich us”. Precisely “with his poverty he teaches us this way of not laying up treasures on the earth, for they corrupt”. And, “when we have them, to use them, as stewards, in service to others”.
This encyclical is aimed at everyone.
Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us.
Our ‘house’ is being ruined, and that hurts everyone, especially the poorest among us.”
My appeal is, therefore, to responsibility, based on the task that God has given to man in creation: ‘to till and tend’ the ‘garden’ in which humanity has been placed (cf. Gen 2:15). I invite everyone to accept with open hearts this document, which places itself in the line of the Church's social doctrine.
Only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today.
Science, is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”.
At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”. The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles. Politicians, business people, church leaders and individuals now have an important tool to help answer that question and respond to the pressing challenges facing our common home.
Chapter 1 sets out six of the most serious challenges facing “our common home:-
Pollution, waste and our throwaway mentality "the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”
Climate change: “one of the principle challenges facing humanity in our day” but “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”
Water: “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right” yet entire populations, and especially children get sick and die because of contaminated water
Biodiversity: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species and the consequences cannot be predicted as “all of us, as living creatures, are dependent on one another”. Often transnational economic interests obstruct this protection
Breakdown of society: Current models of development adversely affect the quality of life of most of humanity and “many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water
Global inequality: Environmental problems affect the most vulnerable people, the greater part of the world’s population and the solution is not reducing the birth rate but counteracting “an extreme and selective consumerism”.
Chapter 3 explores six of the deep root causes of these growing crises
Technology: While it can bring progress towards sustainable development, without “a sound ethics”, it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources… an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity.
The technocratic mentality: “the economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit……yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion”
Anthropocentrism: we fail to understand our place in the world and our relationship with nature. Interpersonal relations and protection of human life must be set above technical reasoning so environmental concern “is also incompatible with the justification of abortion”
Practical relativism: environmental degradation and social decay is the result of seeing “everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests”
Employment: Integral ecology needs to take account of the value of labour so everyone must be able to have work and it’s “bad business for society” to stop investing in people to achieve short-term financial gains
Biological technologies: GMOs are a “complex environmental issue” which have helped to resolve problems but bring difficulties such as concentrating land “in the hands of a few owners”, threatening small producers, biodiversity and ecosystems
So where do the solutions lie? Here are six of the best
In “The Gospel of Creation”: Chapter 2 examines the Old and New Testaments to show how human life is grounded in our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the created world. We must acknowledge our sins when we break these relationships and realize our “tremendous responsibility” towards all of God’s creation.
In Integral Ecology: Chapter 4 explores this new paradigm of justice which means “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts”, while solutions must be based on “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”
In Dialogue: Chapter 5, entitled ‘Lines of Approach and Action’ stresses the need for “honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good”. The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics, but it can promote dialogue on global and local governance, transparent decision-making, sustainable use of natural resources, as well as engaging in respectful dialogue with other people of faith and with the scientific world
In Education: Chapter 6 urges schools, families, the media and the churches to help reshape habits and behavior. Overcoming individualism, while changing our lifestyles and consumer choices, can bring much “pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power” causing significant changes in society.
In Ecological Conversion: Chapter 6 also highlights St Francis of Assisi as the model of “a more passionate concern for the protection of our world”, characterized by gratitude and generosity, creativity and enthusiasm.
In Spirituality: Finally Chapter 6 and the two concluding prayers show how faith in God can shape and inspire our care for the environment. The Sacraments, the Trinity, the model of the Holy Family and our hope for eternal life can teach, motivate and strengthen us to protect the natural world that God has given us.
Pope Francis: 18.06.15 Weakness, prayer, forgiveness
“Weakness, prayer, forgiveness”. These three words remind us that without God’s help we cannot go forward in life.
“In our weakness, we can do nothing without your help”. These words express our “awareness that we are weak”. It is “this weakness that we all have, after the wound of original sin: we are weak, we slide into sins, we cannot go forward without the Lord’s help”.
He who believes he is strong, who thinks he is capable of getting by on his own is naïve, and in the end remains a man defeated by so much weakness that he carries in himself: the weakness that brings us to ask for help from the Lord because ‘in our weakness we can do nothing without your help’ . We cannot take a step in our Christian life without the help of the Lord, because we are weak.
We all have faith“and we all want to go forward in the Christian life, but if we are not conscious of our weakness we will end up completely defeated.” There is a beautiful prayer that speaks to this: “O Lord, I know that in my weakness I can do nothing without your help.”
Jesus, taught us to pray, “but not as the pagans” who thought they would be heard because they used many words. “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. Jesus recommends: “Pray simply, the Father knows what you need, open your heart before the Father.” We should begin by speaking that word, ‘Father’, which is a human word, of course, which gives us life, but only in prayer are we able to say it with the strength of the Holy Spirit”.
Let us begin the prayer with the power of the Spirit who prays in us, praying in that way, simply. With open hearts in the presence of God who is the Father, and who knows, knows the things we need before we say them.
There is a condition for praying well which Jesus takes up in the very prayer he teaches to his disciples. And this is the third word: forgiveness. The prayer that Jesus teaches us says: “forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors”. And “then Jesus takes up this idea”, saying “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.
We can only pray well, and call God ‘Father’ if our heart is at peace with others, with our brothers and sisters. But father, this person did this to me, this person did this to me, that person did this…there is only one response: “forgive, forgive as He will forgive you!”. And so the weakness that we have, with the help of God in prayer becomes strength because forgiveness is a great strength. One needs to be strong to forgive, but this strength is a grace that we must receive from the Lord because we are weak.”
He too makes himself weak for us, he becomes bread: there is the strength. He prays for us. And he forgives us: let us learn from him the strength of trust in God, the strength of prayer and the strength of forgiveness.
Pope Francis 15.06.15: Oil and weapons
weigh more than human lives
Oil and weapons seem to weigh more on the scale of economic interests than the lives of thousands of Christians in the Middle East, and while proclaiming peace and justice the world tolerates traffickers of death.
The continuing conflict in the Middle East “make us feel the cold of a winter and a frost in the human heart that never seem to end”, and he remarked that “the land in these regions, crossed by the footsteps of those who seek refuge, is irrigated by the blood of so many men and women, including many Christians persecuted for their faith.
Let us open our eyes and look at the misery in the world, at the wounds of so many brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us hear their cry for help. May their cry become ours and together we can break the barrier of indifference that often reigns concealing hypocrisy and selfishness.
It would appear that the world’s conscience has been jolted and it has opened its eyes to the fact that Christians have been present in the Middle East for millennia. There have been a series of initiatives to raise awareness and to reach out to those unjustly affected by the violence.
A further effort should be made to erase seemingly tacit agreements according to which “the lives of thousands and thousands of families - women, men, children, and elderly people – seem to weigh less than oil and weapons on the scale of interests”. So that while proclaiming peace and justice, it is tolerated that traffickers of death continue to operate those lands.
Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches” (ROACO) can help these ancient Christian communities to feel part of the evangelizing mission, offering - especially to young people - a horizon of hope and growth. Without this it will be impossible to stop “the flow of migration that sees so many sons and daughters of the region set out to reach the Mediterranean coast, at the risk of life”.
Britain has a ‘Moral Responsibility' to Refugees from Syria say Faith Leaders
Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith leaders have called on Prime Minister David Cameron to urgently increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in response to ‘one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time’.
Pope Francis: 15.06.15 Safeguard our heart
The Lord freely gives us his grace and we must be ready, right now, to receive that gift. We need to prepare our hearts, so that we do not receive the grace of God in vain.
We hear people speak of Christians who go to Mass on Sundays but then behave like pagans, causing scandal to others. This is what Paul is referring to when he says “not to accept the grace of God in vain”.
But how should we welcome God into our hearts? It is important “to safeguard the heart in order to be attentive to this gift of God.
So, “how does one safeguard the heart?” By“pushing away every noise that doesn’t come from the Lord, pushing away so many things that take peace away from us”. And “when these things are pushed away, these passions of ours, the heart is prepared to understand that the Lord is passing” and therefore “to receive him and the grace”.
Thus it is important“to safeguard the heart, safeguard the heart from our passions”. And we have“so many passions”. But “even Jesus, in the Gospel, speaks to us about our passions”. In the reading from St Matthew’s offered in the day’s liturgy (5:38-42): “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles”.
This, is about “being free of passions and having a humble heart, a meek heart”. And“the heart is safeguarded by humility, meekness, never by fights, by wars”.Instead “this is noise: worldly noise, pagan noise or the noise of the devil”. The heart should be “at peace”.
For this, returning to Paul’s words to the Corinthians, we must keep our hearts ready for God through all “endurance, afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts”.
These “are unpleasant things”. From all of this “I must safeguard my heart in order to welcome the gratuitousness and the gift of God”. But “how do I do it. The answer is again found in the words of Paul: “by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit”. Humility, kindness and patience, are the marks of those who keep their eyes on God and have their hearts open to the Lord
Pope Francis: 11.06.15 Proclaim the Gospel, the Inner Journey, Serve others, Serve freely
A disciple of the Lord, is called to set out on a journey that is not a "stroll" but a mission to proclaim the Gospel and spread the good news of Salvation.
One who “stands still and doesn’t go out, doesn’t give to others what he received in Baptism, is not a true disciple of Jesus”. Indeed, “he lacks the missionary spirit”, and doesn’t “go out of himself to bring something good to others”.
There is another pathway for the disciple of Jesus: the inner journey, the path within, the path of the disciple who seeks the Lord every day, through prayer, in meditation.
This is not secondary, a disciple must also take this journey because if the disciple does not continuously seek God in this way, the Gospel that is taken to others will be weak, watered down – a Gospel with no strength.
Thus it is a “twofold journey that Jesus wants from his disciples”.
The Gospel reads: “preach as you go, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons”. Here we find again the“disciple’s duty: to serve”.
A disciple who doesn’t serve others is not a Christian.
Every disciple’s point of reference should be what “Jesus preached in those two columns of Christianity: the Beatitudes and the the ‘protocol’ by which we will be judged”, namely that indicated by Matthew in Chapter 25.
This is the “framework”of “evangelical service”. There are no loopholes: “If a disciple does not walk in order to serve, his walking is of no use. If his life is not in service, his life is of no use, as a Christian”.
There are indeed those who say: “Yes, I’m a Christian, I’m at peace, I confess, I go to Mass, I follow the Commandments”. But where is the service to others? Where, is “the service to Jesus in the sick, in the imprisoned, in the hungry, those with no shirt on their back". Jesus wants this of us because He is to be found in them: “Service to Christ in others."
Walk, in service, without pay. The passage reads "Freely you have received, freely you must give."
The journey of service is free, because we have received Salvation for free. None of us “bought salvation, none of us has earned it”: it is ours purely by the “grace of the Father in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ”.
It’s sad when we see Christians who forget these words of Jesus: ‘Freely you have received, freely give'”. And it’s sad when those who forget are Christian communities, parishes, religious congregations or dioceses. When this happens, it is because in the background “there is the mistake” of assuming “that salvation comes from riches, from human power”.
Walk, but walk” in order “to proclaim. Service: the life of a Christian is not for himself; it is for others, as Jesus’ life was.
This, is how we can place our hope back in Jesus, who “thus sends us a hope which never disappoints”. On the other hand, “when hope is in being comfortable on the journey” or when “hope is in selfishly seeking things for oneself” and not in serving others, or “when hope is in riches or in small worldly assurances, all of this caves in. The Lord himself crushes it.
Pope Francis 06.06.15 Peace
Peace is God’s dream, his plan for humanity, for history, for all creation. And it is a plan which always meets opposition from men and from the evil one.
Even in our time, the desire for peace and the commitment to build peace collide against the reality of many armed conflicts presently affecting our world. They are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war.Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately, mainly those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms. But war means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed houses, streets and factories; it means, above all, countless shattered lives.
Within this atmosphere of war, like a ray of sunshine piercing the clouds, resound the words of Jesus in the Gospel: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt 5:9). That is, those who make peace. Crafting peace is a skilled work: it requires passion, patience, experience and tenacity.This appeal is always applicable, in every generation.
Blessed are those who sow peace by their daily actions, their attitudes and acts of kindness, of fraternity, of dialogue, of mercy...
These, indeed, “shall be called children of God”, for God sows peace, always, everywhere; in the fullness of time, he sowed in the world his Son, that we might have peace! Peacemaking is a work to be carried forward each day, step by step, without ever growing tired.
So how does one do this, how do we build peace? The prophet Isaiah reminds us succinctly: “The effect of righteousness will be peace” (32:17). Opus justitiae pax (“the work of justice is peace”). Peace is a work of justice.
The Gospel teaches us that the ultimate fulfilment of justice is love: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22:39; Rm 13:9). When, by the grace of God, we truly follow this commandment, how things change! Because we ourselves change! Those whom I looked upon as my enemy really have the same face as I do, the same heart, the same soul. We have the same Father in heaven. True justice, then, is doing to others what I would want them to do to me, to my people (cf. Mt 7:12).
Saint Paul, shows us the attitude needed to make peace: “Put on then... compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col 3:12-13).
These are the attitudes necessary to become artisans of peace precisely where we live out our daily lives. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that this all depends on us! We would fall into an illusive moralizing. Peace is a gift from God, not in the magical sense, but because with his Spirit he can imprint these attitudes in our hearts and in our flesh, and can make us true instruments of his peace. And, going further, the Apostle says that peace is a gift of God because it is the fruit of his reconciliation with us. Only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled with God can human beings become artisans of peace.
We ask the Lord together, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the grace to have a simple heart, the grace of patience, the grace to struggle and work for justice, to be merciful, to work for peace, to sow peace and not war and discord. This is the way which brings happiness, which leads to blessedness.
Pope Francis 06.06.15 Apostolic Journey to Sarajevo
Holy Mass Koševo Stadium
Pope Francis 04.6.15 and 07.06.15 Corpus Christi
The solemnity of Corpus Christi encourages us to embrace the intimate call to conversion to service, to love, and to forgiveness. “It encourages us to become in our life, imitators of what we celebrate in the liturgy “.
Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same Christ, whom we meet during the course of everyday life: He is in the poor person who holds out his hand ; He is the suffering person who implores our help; He is in the brother or sister who asks us to be there and awaits our welcome; He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus, about salvation, who does not have the faith; He is in every human being, even the smallest and most defenseless.”
There is a danger, there is a threat: to have no part in him, to despair. What does it mean today, this “to have no part in him” and “to despair”?
It means allowing ourselves to be undermined by the idolatries of our time: appearances, consumerism, egocentrism; but also competitiveness, arrogance as a winning attitude, never admitting to mistakes or to being in need. All this leads us to despair, making us mediocre Christians, lukewarm, bland, pagans.
Jesus poured out his Blood as the price , so that we might be purified of all sin: not to lose hope, to be shielded from the risk of corruption. Not by our merit, with sincere humility, we will be able to bring our brothers the love of our Lord and Saviour.
The Eucharist is not a prize for the good, but is strength for the weak, for sinners. It is forgiveness, it is the Viaticum [provisions for a journey] that helps us to move forward, to walk.
Pope Francis 28.05.13 : Showroom Christians and Christians who have coherence between what they believe and what they live
Showroom Christians — whether selfish, businessmen, worldly or rigorists— try to push away people seeking Jesus.
Christians must be able to hear the people’s “cry for help” and to support them on their journey to get close to the Lord.
First, there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a “closed, selfish” relationship, who do not hear the cries of others. This group of people, even today, do not hear the cry of so many people who need Jesus.
A group of people who are indifferent: they do not hear, they think that life is their own little group; they are content; they are deaf to the clamour of so many people who need salvation, who need the help of Jesus, who need the Church. These people are selfish, they live for themselves alone. They are unable to hear the voice of Jesus.
There are those who hear this cry for help, but want to silence it,” like the disciples when they sent away the children, “so that they would not disturb the Master”: “He was their Master — He was for them, not for everyone.
These people send away from Jesus those who cry out, who need the faith, who need salvation.” In this group one finds the “men of affairs, who are close to Jesus,” who are in the temple. They seem “religious,” but “Jesus chased them away because they were doing business there, in the house of God.” There are those who “do not want to hear the cry for help, but prefer to take care of their business, and use the people of God, use the Church for their own affairs.
Another group who push away the people of Jesus”, are those who are “Christians in name only, without witness, who do not bear the witness of Christians”. Yes,“they are Christians in name, showroom Christians, Christians at receptions, but their inner life is not Christian, it’s worldly”. Someone who calls himself a Christian but lives as a socialite; drives away those who cry out for help from Jesus.
Then there are the rigorists, those whom Jesus rebukes, those who place such heavy weights on the backs of the people. Jesus devotes the whole of the twenty-third chapter of St Matthew to them: ‘Hypocrites,’ he says to them, ‘you exploit the people!’ And instead of responding to the cries of the people who cry out for salvation, they send them away.
The “first group”, is comprised of “those who do not hear”. The second, however, includes “many different, diverse people” who “hear the call, but separate” the people from Jesus.
There is, finally, a third group of Christians, “those who help the people draw near to Jesus. Christians who are consistent in what they believe and in how they live. It is the group of Christians who help “the people who cry out, asking for salvation, asking for grace, asking for spiritual health for their soul”, helping them to get close to Jesus.
It would be good for us to make an examination of conscience,” in order to understand whether we are Christians who drive people away from Jesus, or who draw people to Him because we hear the cry of the many people who are seeking help for their own salvation.
Pope Francis 26.05.15: Worldly Christians
can’t have both heaven and earth
It's sad to see a Christian who wants to "follow Jesus and the things of this world." A Christian is called to make a radical choice in life: you can’t be “half” Christian or have both "heaven and earth."
When a Christian is attached to possessions, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: heaven and earth.
When one wants to follow both Jesus and the world, both poverty and wealth”,the outcome is “halfway Christianity, which seeks material gain: it is the spirit of worldliness”. And “that Christian, the Prophet Elijah said, ‘limps on two legs’ because “he doesn’t know what he wants”.
Following Jesus from a human point of view is not a good deal: it means service”. After all, that is exactly what“He did: and if the Lord gives you the chance to be first, you must behave as the last, that is, by serving. And if the Lord gives you the chance to have possessions, you must place them in service, that is, for others”.
There are three things, three steps that separate us from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride”. This is why, “possessions are so dangerous: they lead you immediately to vanity, and you believe you are important”; but “when you believe you are important, your head swells and you become lost”. This is the reason that Jesus reminds us of the path: “many that are first will be last, and he who is first among you will make himself the servant of all”. It is “a path of divesting”, the same path that “He took”.
What the Lord wants from us is to "strip" ourselves of worldy things. And it took Jesus a long time to get this message across to His disciples “because they did not understand well.
We too must ask Him: teach us this path, this science of service, this science of humility, this science of being last in order to serve the brothers and sisters of the Church”.
Pope Francis: 25.05.15 Wealth
If you are wealthy, you should make sure your riches serve the "common good." An abundance of things lived selfishly is "sad", steals "hope," and is the origin "of all kinds of corruption," large or small.
There is a mystery in the possession of wealth. Riches have the ability to seduce, to take us to a seduction and make us believe that we are in a paradise on earth. I recall that in the 1970s I saw for the first time a closed community, of people who were well off; it was closed to protect against thieves, to be secure”.There were also good people, but they were enclosed in that that sort of“earthly paradise”. This happens, when we close ourselves off “to protect possessions”: we lose “the horizon”. And “life without a horizon is sad”.
Things that are closed become ruined, they become corrupt. The attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere: personal corruption, corruption in business, even small commercial bribery, the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education ... Why? Because those who live attached to their own power, their own wealth, they believe they’re in heaven. They are closed; they have no horizon, no hope. Eventually they will have to leave everything.
Attachment to riches makes us believe that all is well, there is an earthly paradise, but it takes away our hope and removes our horizon. And living with no horizon is a barren life, living without hope is a sad life.
The attachment to wealth makes us sad and makes us sterile. I say 'attachment,' I am not saying 'good administration of one’s riches', because riches are for the common good, for everyone. And if the Lord gives them to one person it is so that they are used for the good of all, not for oneself, not so they are closed in one’s heart, which then becomes corrupt and sad.
Jesus uses a powerful expression: “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God”. Riches, are like the serpent in the earthly paradise, they beguile, they deceive, they make us believe we are powerful, like God. In the end they take away the best, hope, and cast us into unseemliness, into corruption. This is why Jesus states: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.
Those who possess riches need to refer “to the first Beatitude: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’; that is to say, to strip themselves of this attachment and let the riches that the Lord has given be for the common good”. The “only manner” of behaviour is“to open your hand, open your heart, open the horizon”. If, on the other hand,“your hand is closed, your heart is closed like that man who had banquets and dressed in luxurious clothing: you have no horizons, you don’t see others who are needy and you will end up like that man: far from God.”
We must ask Jesus for the grace “not not be attached to possessions” in order not to run the risk of a “closed heart, corruption and barrenness.
Pope Francis: 24.05.15 the gift of the Holy Spirit
homily on Pentecost Sunday
The word of God, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit.
In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all the truth. Indeed he calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth”.
The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth. The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30).
The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same. Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15)
Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam. In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10).
The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways.
The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).
The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace. Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.
Pope Francis 24.05.15 Christian Unity
Dear brothers and sisters, division is a wound in the body of the Church of Christ. And we do not want this wound to remain open. Division is the work of the Father of Lies, the Father of Discord, who does everything possible to keep us divided.
We will search together, we will pray together, for the grace of unity. The unity that is budding among us is that unity which begins under the seal of the one Baptism we have all received. It is the unity we are seeking along a common path. It is the spiritual unity of prayer for one another. It is the unity of our common labour on behalf of our brothers and sisters, and all those who believe in the sovereignty of Christ.
We will ask our Father to send the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and to give us the grace to be one, “so that the world may believe".
I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps. But there is someone who “knows” that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom. He knows that Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals, or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic…he doesn’t care! They are Christians. And that blood (of martyrdom) unites. Today, dear brothers and sisters, we are living an “ecumenism of blood”. This must encourage us to do what we are doing today: to pray, to dialogue together, to shorten the distance between us, to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood.
I am convinced it won’t be theologians who bring about unity among us. Theologians help us, the science of the theologians will assist us, but if we hope that theologians will agree with one another, we will reach unity the day after Judgement Day. The Holy Spirit brings about unity. Theologians are helpful, but most helpful is the goodwill of us all who are on this journey with our hearts open to the Holy Spirit!
Pope Francis: 21.05.15 Unity
Jesus is well aware, that “the spirit of the world, which is really the spirit of the father of division, is a spirit of divisiveness, of war, of envy, of jealousy”. It is also present “in families, even in religious families, even in dioceses, even in the Church as a whole: it is the great temptation”. For this reason, “the great prayer of Jesus” is to “resemble” the Father: “as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee”, in the “unity which He has with the Father”.
Now, one could probably ask: “Father, with this prayer of Jesus, if we want to be faithful, can we not gossip about each other?”. Or: “Can we not label this one as..., this one is this way, that one is...?”. And “that other one, who was branded as a revolutionary...?”. “No”. Because, “we have to be one, one single thing, as Jesus and the Father are one single thing”. This is precisely “the challenge for all of us Christians: to leave no room for division among us, not letting the spirit of divisiveness, the father of lies enter us”.
We must be one, just one being, as Jesus and the Father are one. This is precisely the challenge for all of us Christians: to not give way to division among us; to not let the spirit of division, the father of lies, come between us. Continuously seek unity. Everyone is different in his own way, but we must] try to live in unity. Has Jesus forgiven you? He forgives everyone. Jesus prays that we are one, one being. And the Church has great need of this prayer of unity.
If we read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles from the beginning we will see that quarrels, even deceit, begin there. One deceives the other, consider Ananias and Sapphira.... Even in those early years we find divisiveness, personal interests, selfishness. Building unity truly was and is a veritable “struggle”.
Above all one needs to realize that “alone we cannot” achieve unity: indeed, “it is a grace”. That is why “Jesus prays, He prayed that time, He prays for the Church, He prayed for me, for the Church, for me to take this path”.
However, unity “is not made with glue”. There is no such thing as a “Church made with glue”: the Church is made one by the Spirit. Thus, “we have to make room for the Spirit to transform us, as the Father is in the Son, one single thing”.
Pope Francis: 15.05.15 Fear and Joy
Fear and sadness cause illness in people and even in the Church; they cause paralysis and selfishness, and in the end spoil the air of a community, which hangs a “forbidden” sign on its door, fearful of everything.
Communities that are fearful and without joy are sick, they are not Christian communities.
Fear, is an attitude that harms us. It weakens us, it diminishes us. It even paralyzes us. A person who is afraid “does nothing, doesn’t know what to do.” He is focused on himself, so that nothing bad will happen.” Fear “brings you to a self-centred selfishness and paralyzes you.” A fearful Christian is a person who has not understood the message of Jesus.
Fear “is not a Christian attitude”. But “it is an attitude, we can say, of an imprisoned soul, without freedom, which doesn’t have the freedom to look ahead, to create something, to do good. Thus one who has fear keeps repeating: “No, there is this danger, there is that other one”, and so on. And this is a vice. Fear damages. It’s too bad, fear causes harm.
Do not be afraid, and ask for the grace of courage, the courage of the Holy Spirit that He sends us.
What “happens in Christians, happens in communities, in the entire Church, in parishes, in so many Christian communities”. Indeed “thereare fearful communities that always stay on the safe side: ‘No, no, let’s not do this.... No, no, this can’t be done, we can’t do this”. At that point “it seems they have written ‘forbidden’ on the door: everything is forbidden out of fear”. Thus, “when one enters that community the air is spoiled, because the community is ill: fear makes a community ill; a lack of courage makes a community ill”.
Fear must, however, be“distinguished from the fear of God, which has nothing to do with it”. The fear of God, “is holy, it is the fear of adoration before the Lord”, and therefore “is a virtue”. Indeed, “it does not diminish, it does not paralyze”; but on the contrary, it carries us forward, to the mission the Lord gives us.
The fear of God, which is good, is one thing; but fear is another thing”.Moreover, “a fearful Christian is insignificant: he is a person who doesn’t understand what Jesus’ message is”.
A Christian without joy is not Christian. A Christian who continually lives in sadness is not Christian.
Christian joy is not simply enjoyment, it isn’t fleeting lightheartedness”. Instead, “Christian joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit: it is having one’s heart ever joyful because the Lord has triumphed, the Lord reigns, the Lord is at the right hand of the Father, the Lord has looked at me and sent me and given me His grace and has made me a child of the Father”. This is what “Christian joy” really is. A Christian lives in joy.
A Christian, therefore,“lives in joy”. But, “where is this joy in the saddest moments, in times of anguish? Let’s think about Jesus on the Cross: did He have joy? Eh, no! But yes, He had peace!”. Indeed, “Joy, in the moment of anguish, of trial, becomes peace”. On the other hand, “lightheartedness in a moment of anguish becomes darkness, becomes troublesome”.
This is why “a Christian without joy isn’t Christian”. A “Christian who loses peace in trying times, in times of illness, of so many difficulties, is missing something”.
Do not have fear” but instead “have joy”. Not having fear is asking for the grace of courage, the courage of the Holy Spirit; and having joy is asking for the gift the Holy Spirit, even in the most difficult times, through that peace that the Lord gives us”.
And, too, a “community without joy” is a community that is sick. Perhaps it would be a “fun-loving community” but “it has grown sick with worldliness, because it does not have the joy of Jesus Christ. And one of the effects of worldliness, the Pontiff warned, “is that of speaking ill of others”. And thus, “when the Church is fearful and when the Church does not receive the joy of the Holy Spirit, the Church is sick, the communities are sick, the faithful are sick.
Ask the Lord for the grace to lift us up toward Christ seated at the right hand of the Father. This “contemplation of Christ”, will give us courage, give us joy, take away our fear and help us to avoid falling into a superficial and lighthearted life.
Pope Francis 05.05.15 Hardships, Trust and Peace
There are three words that can help us on our journey of faith and hope, and the three words that shine out are “hardships”, “trust” and “peace”.
In life trials are waiting for us: it is part of life to pass through dark moments, difficult times.
When St. Paul is persecuted, despite a thousand tribulations, he remains firm in his faith and encourages others to hope in the Lord. After being stoned, he was dragged out of the city and left for dead. Paul, therefore, “suffered”, but then, “he rose”,and he exhorted them to “persevere in the faith, because we must enter the kingdom of God through much hardship”. In life trials are waiting for us: it is part of life to pass through dark moments, difficult times.
Paul's counsel “to enter the kingdom of God through many hardships is not a sadomasochistic attitude: it is the Christian struggle”.
The prince of this world comes, he is close and seeks to sever us from the kingdom of god, from the word of Jesus, from faith, from hope”. That is why “we ask the Lord to strengthen us in faith and hope”.
Hardships” there will always be, therefore. But Jesus encourages us to take courage: “I have conquered the world”. And “he is above every tribulation, he helps us to go forward”. The words Christ chooses to explain this are meaningful: when “he speaks of the seed that falls on rocky ground he says it is like a person who receives the word with joy and then in a moment of tribulation no longer hears it and becomes discouraged”.
This then is the meaning of “undergoing hardship”. And“to endure”, is a word that Paul uses frequently: it is more than just having patience, it is carrying on your shoulders, bearing the weight of tribulation”. And “the Christian's life has moments like this”. But “Jesus tells us: 'Have courage in that moment. I have won, and you too will be winners”. Thus “this first word enlightens us” in facing “the most difficult moments in life, those moments that make us suffer”.
And we come to the second word: “trust”. In deed, “a Christian can carry forward every tribulation and even outright persecution by entrusting himself to the Lord: on he is capable of giving us strength, of allowing us to persevere in the faith, of giving us hope”.
To entrust something to the Lord, to entrust this difficult moment to the Lord, to entrust myself to the Lord, to entrust to the Lord our faithful, we priests, bishops, entrust to the Lord our families, our friends and say to the Lord: 'Take care of them; they are yours.' This is a prayer that we do not always say: the prayer of entrustment: 'Lord I entrust this to you; You help take care of it.’ It is a beautiful Christian prayer. It is 'the attitude of trust in the power of the Lord, and in the tenderness of God who is Father.
We need to know how to say to the Lord: “Take care of these, they are yours”.
When a person makes "this prayer" from the heart, then he feels it is entrusted to the Lord - he is certain: "He never disappoints. Trials, make us suffer, but "trust in the Lord gives you hope and here comes in the third word: peace.
All this, “gives you peace”. And it is also “what Jesus says as a farewell to his disciples: 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you', as we read in the Gospel of John (14:27-31). But, this is not about “mere tranquility”. Jesus is more precise: “My peace is not the kind of peace that the world gives”, the kind that gives a sort of tranquility. Rather the peace that comes from Jesus “goes within”, it is “a peace that gives you strength, that reinforces what today we asked of the Lord: our faith and our hope”.
We should never forget that “in life we must go through hardship”, because that “ is the law of life”; but we should always remember in those moments to “entrust ourselves to the Lord”. And “he will respond to us with peace”. The Lord “is Father, he loves us very much and never disappoints us.
Pope Francis 28.04.15 Apostolic courage to bring life
Ask for the apostolic courage to live life and not to make a museum of memories of our Christian life.
Ask the Lord for the grace to not be afraid when the Spirit, with confidence, tells me to take a step forward.
It is the Holy Spirit who makes us see the truth: on our own we simply cannot; with our intelligence, we cannot. We can study the whole history of salvation, we can study the whole of Theology, but without the Spirit we cannot understand. It is the Spirit that makes us realize the truth or – in the words of Our Lord – it is the Spirit that makes us know the voice of Jesus. Jesus, the Good Pastor, says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”
The progress of the Church, is the work of the Holy Spirit, which makes us listen to the voice of the Lord. How can I make sure that voice I hear is the voice of Jesus, that what I feel I have to do is done by the Holy Spirit? The answer is by praying.
Without prayer, there is no place for the Spirit. Ask God to send us this gift: ‘Lord, give us the Holy Spirit so that we may discern at all times what we have to do,’ which is not always one and the same thing. The message is the same: the Church goes on, the Church goes ahead with these surprises, with these changes of the Holy Spirit. We must discern, and to discern must pray, we must ask this grace. The Holy Spirit does not lead us into error. ‘But, Father, why make things so complicated? Let us do things the way we have always done, that way we are more certain.
This hypothesis might be “an alternative”, but doing things the way we’ve always done them, simply because “that’s the way we’ve always done them would be “a sterile alternative; a‘dead’ alternative". What is much better, is “with prayer, with humility, to take the risk of accepting what the Spirit asks us to change according to the time in which we live: this is the way.
Give us the grace not to be afraid when the Spirit, with surety, tells me to take a step forward, ask this courage, this apostolic courage to bring life and not make of our Christian life a museum of memories.
Pope Francis: 17.04.15 Christian humility and hatred
Humiliation for its own sake is masochism, but when it is suffered and endured in the name of the Gospel it makes us like Jesus.
Is it possible for people to react to difficult situations the way God does? It is and it is all a question of time. Time to allow ourselves to be permeated by the sentiments of Jesus.
Give time to time. This is useful for us when we have wicked thoughts about others, wicked feeling, when we have hostility, hatred, to not allow it to grow, to stop it, to give time to time. Time puts things in harmony, and makes us see things in the right light. But if you react in a moment of anger, it is certain you will be unjust. You will be unjust. And you will hurt yourself, too. Here’s some advice: time, time in the moment of temptation.
The one who pauses gives God time.
When we nurse resentments it is inevitable that there will be outbursts. It will burst out in insults, in war, and with these evil thoughts against others, we are battling against God; while God, on the other hand, “loves others, loves harmony, loves love, loves dialogue, loves walking together.” It even happens to me. When something is not pleasing, the first feeling is not of God, it is wicked, always. Instead, we need to give ourselves pause, and we must give space to the Holy Spirit, so that we might get it right, that we may arrive at peace.
Pride of being first leads you to want to kill others; humility, even humiliation, leads you to become like Jesus.
Many men and women who suffer humiliation each day, and for the good of their own family, and who shut their mouths, who don’t speak, suffer for their love of Jesus. And this is the sanctity of the Church, this joy that humiliation gives, not because humiliation is beautiful, no, that would be masochism, no: it is because with that humiliation, you imitate Jesus.
Pope Francis:06.04.15 Let our lives be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection
In Him, through our Baptism, we are risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love.
Pope Francis: 05.04.15 Urbi et Orbi Message
Pope Francis: Palm Sunday 29.03.15 The way of humility
God's way and the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!
Humility is above all God's way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the Book of Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.
This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus' own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be "holy" for us too!
We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God.
This is God's way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.
There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success… the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, we too can overcome this temptation, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well.
In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person...
We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way.
Pope Francis: 17.03.15 Be merciful, do not close the doors of the heart
The Church "is the home of Jesus," a house of mercy that welcomes all, and therefore not a place where Christians should close the doors to those seeking to enter.
A man - a woman – who feels sick in the soul, sad, who made many mistakes in life, at a certain time feels that the waters are moving - the Holy Spirit is moving something - or they hear a word or ... 'Ah, I want to go!' ... And they gather up their courage and go. And how many times in Christian communities today will they find closed doors! 'But you cannot, no, you cannot [come in]. You have sinned and you cannot [come in]. If you want to come, come to Mass on Sunday, but that’s it – that’s all you can do.’ So, what the Holy Spirit creates in the hearts of people, those Christians with their ‘doctors of the law’ mentality, destroy. This pains me.
It’s Jesus’ home and Jesus welcomes [all]. But not only does He welcome, He goes out to see people. And if people are hurt, what does Jesus do? Scold them because they are hurt? No, He comes and He carries them on His shoulders. And this is called mercy. And when God rebukes his people - 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice!' – He’s talking about this.
Pope Francis: 10.03.15 to receive pardon, we must give pardon
In order to ask forgiveness from God, we must follow the teaching of the “Our Father”: we must repent sincerely for our sins, knowing that God always forgives, and just as willingly forgive others.
Sin is idolatry”, it is worshipping the“many idols that we have”: pride, vanity, money, the self, wellbeing.
Forgiveness must be asked for sincerely, whole-heartedly - and forgiveness must be given whole-heartedly to those who have injured us.
Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father in this way: ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.’ If I am not able to forgive, then I am not able to ask for forgiveness.
The forgiveness God will give you requires the forgiveness that you give to others. This is what Jesus teaches us about forgiveness: first, asking forgiveness is not a simple apology, it is to be aware of the sin, of the idolatry that I have committed, of the many idolatries; second, God always forgives, always – but He asks me to forgive [others]. If I do not forgive, in a sense, I close the door to God’s forgiveness. ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Pope Francis: 09.03.15 God's style is humility, simplicity
God acts in humility and in silence; “spectacle” is not His style.
God acts in humility, in silence, in the little things. This begins with Creation, , where the Lord does not use a “magic wand,” but creates man “with mud.” It is a style that runs through “the whole of salvation history".
When He desired to free His people, He freed them through the faith and confidence of a man, Moses. When He desired to cause the fall of the powerful city of Jericho, He did so through a prostitute. And for the conversion of the Samaritans He required the work of another sinner. When He invited David to fight against Goliath, it seemed crazy: the little David standing before that giant, who had a sword, who had so many things, while David had only a sling and the stones. When He told the Magi that a King was born to them, the Great King, what did they find? A little child, a manger. The simple things, the humility of God… this is the divine style, never the spectacle.
One of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert” was to create a spectacle. Satan invites Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple so that, seeing the miracle, the people might believe in Him. The Lord, instead, is revealed in simplicity, in humility. It would do us good this Lent, to consider how the Lord has helped us in our lives, and how the Lord has led us onward. We will find that the Lord has always done this with simple things.
This is how the Lord acts: He does things simply. He speaks silently to you, to the heart. Let us remember in our lives the many time we have felt these things: the humility of God is His style; the simplicity of God is His style. And even in the liturgical celebration, in the sacraments, what is beautiful is that which manifests the humility of God, and not the worldly spectacle. It would do us good to journey through our life and to consider the many times the Lord has visited us with His grace, and always with this humble style, the style He calls us, too, to have: humility.
Pope Francis: 05.03.15 worldliness blinds us to the needs of the poor
Worldliness darkens the soul, making it unable to see the poor who live next to us with all their wounds.
The reality is that many poor people are living right in our midst. So many people are there, who bear so many difficulties in life, who live in great difficulty: but if I have the worldly heart, never will I understand that. It is impossible for one with a worldly heart to comprehend the needs and the neediness of others. With a worldly heart you can go to church, you can pray, you can do so many things. But Jesus, at the Last Supper, in the prayer to the Father, what did He pray? ‘But please, Father, keep these disciples from falling into the world, from falling into worldliness.’ Worldliness is a subtle sin – it is more than a sin – it is a sinful state of soul.
Pope Francis 19.02.15: The courage to choose God every time
The choice is between God and other gods who do not have the power to give us anything other than trivial, pithy little things that pass. It is not easy to choose, we always have this habit of following the herd, like everyone else. Everyone and no one. Today the Church tells us: 'But, stop! Stop and choose. This is good advice. It would do us all good to stop and think a little during the day: What is my lifestyle like? Which path am I on?
The search for personal success, for possessions, without a thought for the Lord, for one’s family is always the wrong path to choose. There are two questions we must ponder: How is my relationship with God how is my relationship with my family. A person can earn everything, but in the end become a failure. He failed. That life is a failure. 'But no, they built him a monument, they painted his portrait ... ". But you failed: you did not choose well between life and death.
We do not choose on our own. What pace do I live my life at? Do I reflect on the things I do”. He said we should ask God for the grace to have that "little bit of courage" we need to choose Him every time.
Pope Francis 08.02.15 The devil is the root of jealousy, war
Pope Francis said the devil is the “father of hate”, “the father of lies” who
seeks disunity. “But God wants unity,” Pope Francis said. “If in your heart you feel jealousy, this is the beginning of war. Jealousies are not of God.”
“It is sad when in a family, brothers do not speak because of something stupid,” Pope Francis said.“ Because the devil takes stupidity and makes a world,” he continued. “Then these enmities continue and multiply for years. It destroys the family: Parents suffer because their children do not speak to each other, or with the wife of a son…And so this jealousy and envy, it is sowed by the devil. And the only one who can drive out demons is Jesus. The only one who can heal these things is Jesus. So to each of you: Have yourself healed by Jesus.”
Pope Francis 03.02.15 - Daily contemplation of the Gospel
Daily contemplation of the Gospel helps us to have true hope. The Pope again urged people to take 10 minutes out of their day to pick up the Gospel and talk to the Lord, rather than waste it on TV soap operas or listening to other peoples’ gossip.Take up the Gospel, read and imagine the scene, imagine what happens and talk to Jesus, from the heart"."And with this we allow hope to grow, because we have our gaze fixed, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We should all carry out this contemplative prayer. 'But I have so much to do!'. At home, 15 minutes, pick up the Gospel, a small passage, imagine what happened and talk with Jesus about it. So your gaze will be fixed on Jesus and not so much on a TV soap opera, for example. Your ears will be focused on the words of Jesus and not so much on your neighborhood gossip ... ".
Hope comes from this prayer, he said, adding "our Christian life unfolds in that context, between memory and hope": "Memory of our past journey, memory of so many graces received from the Lord. And hope, looking at the Lord, who is the only one who can give me hope. And in order to gaze at the Lord, to know the Lord, we pick up the Gospel and carry out this contemplative prayer.
Today, for example, try for 10 minutes - 15, no more – to read the Gospel, picture it and say something to Jesus. And nothing more. And so your knowledge of Jesus will be bigger and your hope will grow.
The Gospel in your pocket - Pope Francis 01.09.14
"How do we receive the Word of God?”. The response is clear: “As one receives Jesus Christ. The Church tells us that Jesus is present in the Scripture, in His Word”.
"Always carry a small Gospel with you in your purse, in your pocket, and read a passage from the Gospel during the day. Not so much “to learn” something, but mostly “to find Jesus, because Jesus actually is in His Word, in His Gospel”. “Every time I read the Gospel, I find Jesus”.
Daily Readings - read the entire New Testament over a 2 year period
(reading plan courtesy of Gideon International)
Pope Francis: Guardian angels our companions on life’s journey
Pope Francis at Mass at Casa Santa Marta. "Guardian angels exist, they are not [the fruit of] imaginative doctrine, but companions that God has placed beside us on our life’s journey."
We all have an angel
Pope Francis recalled the definitive role of guardian angels in a Christian’s life. "We all have an angel who is always beside us, who never abandons us and helps us not to lose our way."