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Pope: Dignity for the Dhaka workers, dignity for the jobless
- May 1, 2013 -Vatican Radio
A society that “does not pay a just wage”, that “does not give work” to people; a society that “that only looks to its balance books, that only seeks profit” is unjust and goes against God. It is work - not power, not money, not culture – that gives men and women a sense of dignity. By stripping them of work, society strips them of their God given dignity. Emer McCarthy reports:
This was the focus of Pope Francis reflections at Mass Wednesday May 1st. The Holy Father marked the feast of St Joseph the Worker together with children and single mothers who are guests at the “Il Ponte” center for solidarity based in the port town of Civitavecchia north of Rome. Mass was concelebrated by the man who founded and runs the center for these families in need, Fr. Egidio Smacchia.
Pope Francis commented on the Gospel chosen for the feast day, from Mathew chapter 13, which recounts Jesus’ return to his hometown Nazareth where he is called “the carpenter’s son”. Joseph was a worker and Jesus learned to work with him. In the first reading we read that God works to create the world. This "icon of God worker - said the Pope – tells us that work is something more than just earning our daily bread":
"Work gives us dignity! Those who work have dignity, a special dignity, a personal dignity: men and women who work are dignified. Instead, those who do not work do not have this dignity. But there are many who want to work and cannot. This is a burden on our conscience, because when society is organized in such a way that not everyone has the opportunity to work, to be anointed with the dignity of work, then there is something wrong with that society: it is not right! It goes against God himself, who wanted our dignity, starting from here. "
Pope Francis continued, that dignity is not found in power, money, or culture. But in work, in honest work, because today many social, political and economic systems have made the choice to exploit the person in the workplace.
"Not paying a just [wage], not providing work, focusing exclusively on the balance books, on financial statements, only looking at making personal profit. That goes against God! How many times – how many times – have we read in 'L'Osservatore Romano' .... A headline that impressed me so much the day of the Bangladesh tragedy, 'Living on 38 euros a month': this was the payment of these people who have died ... And this is called 'slave labor!'. And today in this world there is slavery that is made with the most beautiful gift that God has given to man: the ability to create, to work, to be the makers of our own dignity. How many brothers and sisters throughout the world are in this situation because of these, economic, social, political attitudes and so on ... ".
The Pope then quoted the reflections of a rabbi from the Middle Ages on the episode of the Tower of Babel, of how precious bricks were at that time:
"When a brick accidently fell, it was a tremendous problem, a scandal: 'But look what you've done!'. But if one of those people building the tower fell: 'Requiescat in pace!' And they let him be ... the person was more important than the brick. This is what the medieval rabbi told and this is what happens now! People are less important than the things that give profit to those who have political, social, economic power. What point have we come to? To the point that we are not aware of this dignity of the person; this dignity of labor. But today the figure of St. Joseph, of Jesus, of God who work - this is our model - they teach us the way forward, towards dignity. "
Today - the Pope said - we can no longer say what St. Paul said: "He who will not work, will not eat," but we have to say: "He who does not work, has lost his dignity", because "he cannot find any opportunities for work". On the contrary: "Society has stripped that person of dignity."
Pope Francis concluded: Today, it would do us good to listen to the voice of God, when he spoke to Cain, saying: "Cain, where is your brother?". Today, however, we hear this voice: "Where is your brother who has no work? Where is your brother who is subjected to slave labor?. Let us pray, let us pray for all these brothers and sisters who are in this situation. So be it"
Pope: A Church that says ‘Yes’ - May 2, 2013 -Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) When we don't allow the Holy Spirit to work, divisions in the Church grow. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily Thursday morning concelebrated with Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige, the Archbishop of Colombo Sri Lanka, and staff from the Vatican Museums. Emer McCarthy reports:
Pope Francis focused on the first reading from Acts which recounts the first steps of the Church which, after Pentecost, went out to the "outskirts of faith" to proclaim the Gospel. The Pope noted that the Holy Spirit did two things: "first it pushed" and created "problems" and then "fostered harmony within the Church." In Jerusalem, there were many opinions among the first disciples on whether to welcome Gentiles into the Church. There were those who said "no" to any agreement, and instead those who were open:
"There was a ‘No’ Church that said, 'you cannot; no, no, you must not' and a ‘Yes’ Church that said, ‘but ... let’s think about it, let’s be open to this, the Spirit is opening the door to us '. The Holy Spirit had yet to perform his second task: to foster harmony among these positions, the harmony of the Church, among them in Jerusalem, and between them and the pagans. He always does a nice job, the Holy Spirit, throughout history. And when we do not let Him work, the divisions in the Church begin, the sects, all of these things ... because we are closed to the truth of the Spirit. "
But what then is the key word in this dispute in the early Church? Pope Francis recalled the inspired words of James, Bishop of Jerusalem, who emphasized that we should not impose a yoke on the neck of the disciples that the same fathers were not able to carry:
"When the service of the Lord becomes so a heavy yoke, the doors of the Christian communities are closed: no one wants to come to the Lord. Instead, we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we are saved. First this joy of the charism of proclaiming the grace, then let us see what we can do. This word, yoke, comes to my heart, comes to mind”.
The Pope then reflected on what it means to carry a yoke today in the Church. Jesus asks all of us to remain in his love. It is from this very love that the observance of his commandments is born. This, he reiterated, is "the Christian community that says yes". This love, said the Pope, leads us to be faithful to the Lord" ... "I will not do this or that because I love the Lord”:
"A community of' yes' and 'no' are a result of this' yes'. We ask the Lord that the Holy Spirit help us always to become a community of love, of love for Jesus who loved us so much. A community of this 'yes'. And from this 'yes' the commandments are fulfilled. A community of open doors. And it defends us from the temptation to become perhaps Puritans, in the etymological sense of the word, to seek a para-evangelical purity, from being a community of 'no'. Because Jesus ask us first for love, love for Him, and to remain in His love. "
Pope Francis concluded: this is "when a Christian community lives in love, confesses its sins, worships the Lord, forgives offenses, is charitable towards others and manifests love" and thus "feels the obligation of fidelity to the Lord to observe the commandments."
Pope: Lukewarm Christians hurt the Church
(Vatican Radio) All Christians have a duty to pass on the faith with courage, lukewarm Christians, a lukewarm faith hurts the Church, because it creates divisions. The courage to be Christian in today’s society was the focus of Pope Francis homily Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports:
Pope Francis concelebrated with Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and mass was attended by the Pontifical Swiss Guard with their commander Daniel Rudolf Anrig. On Sunday May 6th, the guard will hold their annual celebration, commemorating the last stand of 1527 with Mass and the swearing in of new recruits.
At the end of the celebration, Pope Francis addressed a special greeting them, describing their service as "is a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church" and "love for the Pope."
In his homily which focused on the readings of the day, Pope Francis said all Christians who have received the gift of faith must pass this gift on by proclaiming it with our lives, with our word. But, the Pope questioned, “what is this fundamental faith? It is faith in the Risen Jesus, in Jesus who has forgiven our sins through His death and reconciled us with the Father":
"Transmitting this requires us to be courageous: the courage of transmitting the faith. A sometimes simple courage. I remember - excuse me - a personal story: as a child every Good Friday my grandmother took us to the Procession of Candles and at the end of the procession came the recumbent Christ and my grandmother made us kneel down and told us children, 'Look he is dead, but tomorrow he will be Risen! '. That is how the faith entered: faith in Christ Crucified and Risen. In the history of the Church there have been many, many people who have wanted to blur this strong certainty and speak of a spiritual resurrection. No, Christ is alive”.
Pope Francis continued saying that “Christ is alive and is also alive among us”, reiterating that Christians must have the courage to proclaim His Resurrection, the Good News. But, he added there is also another courage that Jesus asks of us:
"Jesus - to put it in stronger terms - challenges us to prayer and says this:' Whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son '. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it ... But this is really powerful! We must have the courage to go to Jesus and ask him: 'But you said this, do it! Make the faith grow, make evangelization move forward, help me to solve this problem... Do we have this courage in prayer? Or do we pray a little, when we can, spending a bit' of time in prayer? But that courage, that parresia even in prayer ... ".
The Pope recalled how we read in the Bible that Abraham and Moses have the courage to "negotiate with the Lord." A courage "in favor of others, in favor of the Church" which we also need today:
"When the Church loses courage, the Church enters into a ‘lukewarm’ atmosphere. The lukewarm, lukewarm Christians, without courage ... That hurts the Church so much, because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside, and problems arise among us; we no longer have the horizon, or courage to pray towards heaven, or the courage to proclaim the Gospel. We are lukewarm ... We have the courage to get involved in our small things in our jealousies, our envy, our careerism, in selfishly going forward ... In all these things, but this is not good for the Church: the Church must be courageous! We all have to be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus!".
Pope Francis at Mass: fighting evil with meekness and humility
(2013-05-04 Vatican Radio)
“Let us always remain meek and humble, that we might defeat the empty promises and the hatred of the world.” This was the message of Pope Francis on Saturday morning during the homily at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Humility and meekness are the weapons we have to defend ourselves from the hatred of the world. This was the focus of Pope Francis during his homily, which centered on the struggle between the love of Christ and the hatred of the prince of this world. The Lord, he said, tells us to be not afraid when the world hates us as it hated Him:
“The way of the Christians is the way of Jesus,” he said. “If we want to be followers of Jesus, there is no other way: none other than that, which He indicated to us - and one of the consequences of this is hatred – it is the hatred of the world, and also the prince of this world. The world would love that which belongs to it. [But Jesus tells us], ‘I have chosen you, from the world’: it was precisely He, who rescued us from the world, who chose us - pure grace! With His death, His resurrection, He redeemed us from the power of the world, from the power of the devil, from the power of the prince of this world. The origin of the hate [we experience], then is this: that we are saved. It is that prince who does not want that we should have been saved, who hates.”
Here then is the reason that the hatred and persecution continue from the early days of the Church even unto the present day. There are, “Many persecuted Christian communities in the world,” said Pope Francis, noting with bitterness, “indeed there are more persecuted communities in this time than in the early days: today, right now, in this day and in this hour.” Asking himself why this is the case, the Pope said, “Because the spirit of the world hates.” From this comes a perennially valid admonishment:
"There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear! Today, dialogue is necessary among us humans, it is necessary for peace. Dialogue is a habit, it is an attitude that we must have among us to feel and understand each other…and that [dialogue] must be maintained forever. Dialogue comes from charity, from love. But with that prince, it is impossible to dialogue: one can only respond with the Word of God who defends us, for the world hates us – and just as he did with Jesus, so will he do with us. ‘Only look,’ he will say, ‘just do this one small little scam…it is a small matter, nothing really – and so he begins to lead us on a road that is slightly off. This is a pious lie: ‘Do it, do it, do it: there is no problem,' and it begins little by little, always, no? Then [he says]: ‘But ... you're good, you're a good person: You [get away with] it.’ It is flattering – and he softens us by flattery: and then, we fall into the trap.”
Pope Francis went on to say that the Lord asks us to remain sheep, because if one decides to quit the fold, then he does not have, “a shepherd to defend him and he falls into the clutches of these wolves.”
“You may ask the question,” continued Pope Francis, ‘Father, what is the weapon to defend against these seductions, from these blandishments, these enticements that the prince of this world offers?’. The weapon is the same weapon of Jesus, the Word of God - not dialogue - but always the Word of God, and then humility and meekness. We think of Jesus, when they give that slap: what humility! What meekness! He could have insulted him, no? One question, meek and humble. We think of Jesus in His Passion. His Prophet says: ‘As a sheep going to the slaughter.’ He does not cry out, not at all: humility. Humility and meekness. These are the weapons that the prince and spirit of this world does not tolerate, for his proposals are proposals for worldly power, proposals of vanity, proposals for ill-gotten riches.”
“Today,” continued Pope Francis, “Jesus reminds us of this hatred that the world has against us, against the followers of Jesus.” The world hates us, he repeated, “because He has saved us, redeemed us.” Recalling the “weapons to defend ourselves” he added that we must remain sheep, “because sheep are meek and humble, [and when we are sheep] we have a shepherd.” The Pope concluded with an invocation to the Virgin Mary, asking her, “to help us become meek and humble in the way of Jesus.”
The Mass on Saturday morning was concelebrated by the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, with a contingent of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in attendance.
Pope Francis offered the soldiers a greeting of affection and gratitude. "The Church,” he said, “loves you so much,” and, “so do I.”
Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit opens our hearts to the Lord
(2013-05-06 Vatican Radio)
The Holy Spirit was the subject of Pope Francis’ Homily during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Martha Monday. The Holy Father also stressed that it was important for Christians to examine their conscience on a daily basis.
Present at the Casa Santa Martha was the Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri who concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis. Also present were employees from the complex of St Peter’s Basilica who listened as the Pope focused his Homily on the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis said that the Holy Spirit whom Jesus called the “Paraclete” was the Person of God who is always there to protect us and support us.
The Holy Father underlined the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives by saying that without this presence, our Christian lives cannot be understood.
Pope Francis went on to describe the sort of life one would have without the Holy Spirit. It would be a religious life, he said, a compassionate life of someone who believes in God but without the vitality that Jesus wants for his disciples.
The Spirit the Pope continued, “bears witness” to Jesus , so that we can give it to others.
Turning his attention to the first reading, the Holy Father recalled the beautiful story of a woman called Lydia whose heart was opened so as to pay attention to the words of St Paul. The Pope explained that it is the Holy Spirit that opens our hearts to know Jesus. The Spirit prepares us for our encounter with Jesus, he leads us down the path of Jesus and works in us throughout the day and throughout our lives.
The Pope then invited people to examine their conscience at the end of the day because it is in this way, he added that we can see how Jesus worked in our hearts.
Concluding his Homily, Pope Francis “asked that people be granted the grace to become accustomed to the presence of the Holy Spirit, this witness of Jesus who tells us where Jesus is, how to find Jesus, what Jesus tells us.” The Pope continued by saying, we should get into the habit of asking ourselves, before the end of the day: 'What did Holy Spirit do in me? What witness did he give me?” Because, the Holy Father said, he is a divine presence that helps us moving forward in our lives as Christians. Listen to Lydia o'Kane's report
Pope: Christian endurance and Christ’s peace
(2013-05-07 Vatican Radio)
A Christian who constantly complains, fails to be a good Christian: they become whiners. Christians should endure their difficulties in silence, in patience to bear witness to the joy of Christ. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily Tuesday morning, during Mass with staff from the Fabric of St. Peter. Emer McCarthy reports:
Commenting on the first reading of the day, Acts chapter 16, Pope Francis said even in troubling times, Christians are full of joy and never sad, like Paul and Silas who were persecuted and imprisoned for witnessing to the Gospel. They were joyful, he said, because they followed Jesus in on the path of his passion. A path the Lord travelled with patience:
"Being patient: that is the path that Jesus also teaches us Christians. Being patient ... This does not mean being sad. No, no, it's another thing! This means bearing, carrying the weight of difficulties, the weight of contradictions, the weight of tribulations on our shoulders. This Christian attitude of bearing up: of being patient. That which is described in the Bible by a Greek word, that is so complete,Hypomoné, in life bearing ever day tasks; contradictions; tribulations, all of this. These - Paul and Silas - bear their tribulations, endure the humiliation: Jesus bore them, he was patience. This is a process - allow me this word 'process' - a process of Christian maturity, through the path of patience. A process that takes some time, that you cannot undergo from one day to another: it evolves over a lifetime arriving at Christian maturity. It is like a good wine. "
The Pope recalled that so many martyrs were joyful, such as the martyrs of Nagasaki who helped each other, as they "waited for the moment of death." Pope Francis recalled it was of some martyrs that "they went to martyrdom" as if they were going to a "wedding party". This attitude of endurance, he added, is a Christian’s normal attitude, but it is not a masochistic attitude. It is an attitude that leads them "along the path of Jesus":
"When the difficulties arrive, so do temptations. For example, the complaint: 'Look what I have to deal with ... a complaint. And a Christian who constantly complains, fails to be a good Christian: they become Mr. or Mrs. Whiner, no? Because they always complain about everything, right? Silence in endurance, silence in patience. That silence of Jesus: Jesus in His Passion did not speak much, only two or three necessary words ... But it is not a sad silence: the silence of bearing the Cross is not a sad silence. It is painful, often very painful, but it is not sad. The heart is at peace. Paul and Silas were praying in peace. They were in pain, because then it is said that the jailer washed their wounds while they were in prison – they had wounds - but endured in peace. This journey of endurance helps us deepen Christian peace, it makes us stronger in Jesus. "
Thus, concluded Pope Francis, a Christian is called to endure their troubles just like Jesus, "without complaint, endure in peace." This patience, “renews our youth and makes us younger".
"The patient is the one that, in the long run, is younger! Just think of those elderly people in the hospices, those who have endured so much in life: Look at their eyes, young eyes, they have a youthful spirit and a renewed youth. And the Lord invites us to this: to be rejuvenated Easter people on a journey of love, patience, enduring our tribulations and also - I would say – putting up with one another. We must also do this with charity and love, because if I have to put up with you, I'm sure you will put up with me and in this way we will move forward on our journey on the path of Jesus. Let us ask the Lord for the grace of Christian endurance that gives us peace, this bearing things with a good heart, this joyful bearing to become younger and younger, like good wine: younger with this renewed Easter youth of the spirit. So be it. "
Pope Francis at Wednesday Mass: build bridges, not walls
(2013-05-08 Vatican Radio)
Evangelization is not proselytizing. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to faithful gathered for Mass on Wednesday morning in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope reiterated that the Christian who wants to proclaim the Gospel must dialogue with everyone, knowing that no one owns the truth, because the truth is received by the encounter with Jesus.
Pope Francis stressed the courageous attitude of Paul St Paul at the Areopagus, when, in speaking to the Athenian crowd, he sought to build bridges to proclaim the Gospel. The Pope called Paul’s attitude one that “seeks dialogue” and is “closer to the heart” of the listener. The Pope said that this is the reason why St Paul was a real pontifex: a “builder of bridges” and not of walls. The Pope went on to say that this makes us think of the attitude that a Christian ought always to have.
“A Christian,” said Pope Francis, “must proclaim Jesus Christ in such a way that He be accepted: received, not refused – and Paul knows that he has to sow the Gospel message. He knows that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not easy, but that it does not depend on him. He must do everything possible, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the truth, depends on the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in today's Gospel: ‘When He shall come, the Spirit of truth, shall guide you into all the truth.’ Paul does not say to the Athenians: ‘This is the encyclopedia of truth. Study this and you have the truth, the truth.’ No! The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia. The truth is an encounter - it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. The we receive the truth when we meet [it].
But why did Paul act as he did? First, the Pope said, because “this is the way” of Jesus who “spoke with everyone” with sinners, publicans, teachers of the law. Paul, therefore, “follows the attitude of Jesus”:
“The Christian who would bring the Gospel must go down this road: [must] listen to everyone! But now is a good time in the life of the Church: the last 50 or 60 years have been a good time - for I remember when as a child one would hear in Catholic families, in my family, ‘No, we cannot go to their house, because they are not married in the Church, eh!’. It was as an exclusion. No, you could not go! Neither could we go to [the houses of] socialists or atheists. Now, thank God, people do not says such things, right? [Such an attitude] was a defense of the faith, but it was one of walls: the LORD made bridges. First: Paul has this attitude, because it was the attitude of Jesus. Second, Paul is aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize.
Citing his predecessor, Pope Benedict, Francis went on to say that the Church “does not grow by means of proselytizing," but “by attraction, by witnessing, by preaching,” and Paul had this attitude: proclamation does not make proselytization – and he succeeds, because, “he did not doubt his Lord.” The Pope warned that, “Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ.” The Pope exhorted Christians to do as Paul did and begin to “build bridges and to move forward”:
"Paul teaches us this journey of evangelization, because Jesus did, because he is well aware that evangelization is not proselytizing: it is because he is sure of Jesus Christ and does not need to justify himself [or] to seek reasons to justify himself. When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church a nice, a Church that is nice to look at, but that is without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness of weak thought, [of] so many things. Let us today ask St Paul to give us this apostolic courage, this spiritual fervor, so that we might be confident. ‘But Father,’ [you might say], ‘we might make mistakes…’ ... ‘[Well, what of it,’ I might respond], ‘Get on with you: if you make a mistake, you get up and go forward: that is the way. Those who do not walk in order not to err, make a the more serious mistake.
Wednesday morning’s Mass was concelebrated by the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. In the congregation were a group of employees of the General Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State, the Vatican tribunal chancery, and the Vatican floreria, which cares for the furniture and decoration of Vatican buildings.
Pope at Mass: Christian joy far from simple fun
(2013-05-10 Vatican Radio)
Christian joy is a pilgrim joy that we cannot keep ‘bottled up’ for ourselves, or we risk becoming a ‘melancholy’ and ‘nostalgic’ community. Moreover, Christian joy is far from simple fun. It is something deeper than fleeting happiness, because it is rooted in our certainty that Jesus Christ is with God and with us.
This is the lesson that Pope Francis drew from the Acts of the Apostles at Friday morning Mass as he described the disciples joy in the days between our Lord’s Ascension and Pentecost and what we can learn from them. Mass in the Santa Marta residence chapel was concelebrated by the Archbishop of Mérida, Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, and the abbot primate of the Benedictine monks Notker Wolf, and was attended by Vatican Radio staff accompanied by the Director General, Father Federico Lombardi. Emer McCarthy reports:
"A Christian is a man and a woman of joy. Jesus teaches us this, the Church teaches us this, in a special way in this [liturgical]time. What is this joy? Is it having fun? No: it is not the same. Fun is good, eh? Having fun is good. But joy is more, it is something else. It is something that does not come from short term economic reasons, from momentary reasons : it is something deeper. It is a gift. Fun, if we want to have fun all the time, in the end becomes shallow, superficial, and also leads us to that state where we lack Christian wisdom, it makes us a little bit stupid, naive, no?, Everything is fun ... no. Joy is another thing. Joy is a gift from God. It fills us from within. It is like an anointing of the Spirit. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father”.
A man of joy, the Pope continued, is a confident man. Sure that "Jesus is with us, that Jesus is with the Father." He asked: Can we ‘bottle up’ this joy in order to always have it with us?
"No, because if we keep this joy to ourselves it will make us sick in the end, our hearts will grow old and wrinkled and our faces will no longer transmit that great joy only nostalgia, melancholy which is not healthy. Sometimes these melancholy Christians faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life. Joy cannot be held at heel: it must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on the path of life, that walks with Jesus: preaching, proclaiming Jesus, proclaiming joy, lengthens and widens that path. It is a virtue of the Great, of those Great ones who rise above the little things in life, above human pettiness, of those who will not allow themselves to be dragged into those little things within the community, within the Church: they always look to the horizon".
Joy is a "pilgrim," Pope Francis reiterated. "The Christian sings with joy, and walks, and carries this joy." It is a virtue of the path, actually more than a virtue it is a gift:
"It is the gift that brings us to the virtue of magnanimity. The Christian is magnanimous, he or she cannot be timorous: the Christian is magnanimous. And magnanimity is the virtue of breath, the virtue of always going forward, but with a spirit full of the Holy Spirit. Joy is a grace that we ask of the Lord. These days in a special way, because the Church is invited, the Church invites us to ask for the joy and also desire: that which propels the Christian's life forward is desire. The greater your desire, the greater your joy will be. The Christian is a man, is a woman of desire: always desire more on the path of life. We ask the Lord for this grace, this gift of the Spirit: Christian joy. Far from sorrow, far from simple fun ... it is something else. It is a grace we must seek".
Pope Francis concluded that today the presence in Rome of Tawadros II, Patriarch of Alexandria is a very good reason to be joyful: "Because he is a brother who comes to visit the Church of Rome to speak," and to walk “part of the path together”.
Pope at Mass: true prayer takes us out of ourselves
2013-05-11 (Vatican Radio)
True prayer brings us out of ourselves: it opens us to the Father and to the neediest of our brothers and sisters. This was a central part of Pope Francis’ message to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican, with agents of the Vatican Gendarmerie and a group of Argentine journalists with their families in attendance.
The Pope's homily focused on the day's Gospel reading, in which Jesus says, “[I]f you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.” Discussing Jesus’ words, Pope Francis said, “There's something new here, something that changes: it is a novelty in prayer. The Father will give us everything, but always in the name of Jesus.” The Lord ascends to the Father, enters “the heavenly Sanctuary,” opens doors and leaves them open because “He Himself is the door,” and “intercedes for us,” as priest, even, “until the end of the world”:
He prays for us before the Father. I always liked that. Jesus, in His resurrection, had a beautiful body: the cuts of the scourging and the crown of thorns are gone, all of them. His bruises from the beatings are healed and gone. But He wanted always to keep His wounds [in His hands, His feet and His side], for those wounds are precisely His prayer of intercession to the Father. [It is as if Jesus were saying,] ‘But ... look,’ ... this person is asking you this thing in My name, look.’ This is the novelty that Jesus announces to us. He tells us this new thing: to trust in His passion, to trust in His victory over death, to trust in His wounds. He is the priest and this is the sacrifice: his wounds - and this gives us confidence, gives us courage to pray.”
The Pope noted the many times that we get bored in prayer, adding that prayer is not asking for this or that, but it is “the intercession of Jesus, who before the Father bares His wounds for the Father to see:
“Prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus brings us out of ourselves. The prayer that bores us is always within ourselves, as a thought that comes and goes. But true prayer is the turning out of ourselves [and] to the Father in the name of Jesus: [true prayer] is an exodus from ourselves.”
Pope Francis goes on to ask how we can “recognize the wounds of Jesus in heaven,” and, “where the school is,” at which one learns to recognize the wounds of Jesus, these wounds of priestly intercession? Pope Francs said that there there is another exodus out of ourselves, and toward the wounds of our brothers, our brothers and our sisters in need:
“If we are not able to move out of ourselves and toward our brother in need, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor, the exploited – if we are not able to accomplish this exodus from ourselves, and towards those wounds, we shall never learn that freedom, which carries us through that other exodus from ourselves, and toward the wounds of Jesus. There are two exits from ourselves: one to the wounds of Jesus, the other to the wounds of our brothers and sisters. And this is the way that Jesus wants [there to be] in our prayer.”
“This,” concluded Pope Francis, “is the new way to pray: with the confidence, the courage that allows us to know that Jesus is before the Father, showing the Father His wounds, but also with the humility of those who go to learn to recognize, to find the wounds of Jesus in his needy brothers and sisters,” who, “carry the cross and still have not won, as Jesus has.”
Pope at Mass: The Holy Spirit and historical memory
2013-05-13 - Vatican Radio
The Holy Spirit helps Christians remember the history of our faith and the gifts we have received from God. Without this grace, we risk slipping into idolatry. That was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass on Monday.
Monday’s first reading from the answer that Acts of the Apostles described Paul’s exchange with a group of disciples in and their surprising statement: “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Pope Francis began his homily commenting on these words and the amazement they produced by in Paul.
But he noted, with a certain realism, that the lack of awareness manifested by the Christians two thousand years ago was something confined to the first ages of the faith. “The Holy Spirit,” he said, “is always somewhat ‘the unknown’ of the faith.”
“Even now, many Christians do not know who the Holy Spirit is, what the Holy Spirit is. And you sometimes hear: ‘But I get on well enough with the Father and with Son, because I pray the Our Father to the Father, I have communion with the Son, but I do not know what to do with the Holy Spirit. . .' Or people say, ‘The Holy Spirit is the dove, the one that gives us the seven gifts.’ But in this way the poor Holy Spirit always comes last and finds no place in our lives.”
Pope Francis said that the Holy Spirit is “God active in us”, “God who helps us remember,” who “awakens our memory.” Jesus himself explains this to the Apostles before Pentecost: the Spirit that God will send in my name, “will remind you of everything I have said.”
The opposite, he said, would lead the Christian down a dangerous path:
"A Christian without memory is not a true Christian: he or she is a prisoner of circumstance, of the moment, a man or woman who has no history. He or she does have a history, but does not how to enter into history. It is the Spirit that teaches us how to enter into history. Historical memory ... When in the Letter to the Hebrews, the author says: ‘Remember your fathers in the faith’ – memory; ‘remember the early days of your faith, how you were courageous’ - memory. A memory of our life, of our history, a memory of the moment when we had the grace of meeting Jesus, the memory of all that Jesus has told us.”
“That memory that comes from the heart, that is a grace of the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis vigorously repeated. He said remembering, “also means remembering one’s own misery, that which makes us slaves, and together with them, the grace of God that redeems us from our miseries”:
“And when a little vanity creeps in, when someone believes themselves to be a winner of the ‘Nobel Prize for Holiness,” then memory is also good for us: ‘But ... remember where I took you from, the very least of the flock. You were behind, in the flock.’ Memory is a great grace, and when a Christian has no memory – this is a hard thing, but it's true - he is not a Christian, he is an idolater. Because he is before a God that has no road, that does not know how to move forward on the road. Our God is moving forward on the road with us, He is among us, He walks with us. He saves us. He makes history with us. Be mindful of all that, and life becomes more fruitful, with the grace of memory.”
Pope Francis concluded with an invitation to Christians to ask the grace of memory, so that they will never be a people that forgets the paths that have been taken, “that they will not forget the graces of their lives; that they will not forget the forgiveness of their sins; that they will not forget that they were slaves and the Lord has saved them.”
Mass was attended by Vatican Radio technicians and staff and employees from the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, led by head of the Congregation, Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, with the secretary Msgr. Joseph Kalathiparambil, and the Undersecretary Father Gabriel Bentoglio, who concelebrated with the Pope.
After the Mass, Pope Francis wished Msgr Peter Wells, an Assessor for General Affairs at the Secretariat of State, a happy birthday thanking him for the all the good he has done in the service of the Church.
Pope at Mass: A big heart to avoid selfish isolation
2013-05-14 Vatican Radio
We need a "big heart" that is wide open and capable of loving. We must also avoid behaving selfishly at all costs because, selfish people, like Judas, do not understand what giving and love are; they become traitors, isolated and alone. This was Pope Francis’ message Tuesday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports:
Focusing on the Gospel of the day and the contrast between the path of love and that of selfishness, Pope Francis said if we really want to follow Jesus, we must "live life as a gift" to give to others, "not as a treasure to be kept to ourselves". The Pope quoted the words of Christ: " No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." But Tuesday's liturgy, he noted, also presents us with another person: Judas, "who had the exact opposite attitude." And this, he explained, was because Judas "never understood what gift really means":
"Let us think of that moment with the Magdalene, when she washed the feet of Jesus with nard, which was so expensive: it is a religious moment, a moment of gratitude, a moment of love. And he [Judas] stands apart and criticizes her bitterly: 'But ... this could be used for the poor!'. This is the first reference that I personally found in the Gospel of poverty as an ideology. The ideologue does not know what love is, because they do not know how to gift themselves".
Pope Francis continued: Judas stood apart “in his solitude" and this attitude of selfishness grew to the point of his "betrayal of Jesus." He said those who love “give their lives as a gift", the selfish instead "safeguards his life, grows in this selfishness and becomes a traitor, but is always alone." However, those who "give their life for love, are never alone: they are always in the community, part of the family." The Pope warned that those who "isolate their conscience in selfishness," in the end "lose". This is how Judas ended up, the Pope said, he "was an idolater, attached to money"
"And this idolatry has led him to isolate himself from the community of others: this is the drama of the isolated conscience. When a Christian begins to isolate themselves, he or she also insulates his or her conscience from the sense of community, the sense of the Church, from that love that Jesus gives us. Instead, the Christian who gifts his or her life, who loses it, as Jesus says, finds it again, finds it in its fullness. And those who, like Judas, want to keep it for themselves, lose it in the end. John tells us that 'at that moment Satan entered into Judas' heart'. And, we must say: With Satan the payback is rotten. He always rips us off, always! "
Instead Jesus always loves and always gives. And this gift of love, the Pope said, impels us to love "to bear fruit. And the fruit remains. " Pope Francis concluded his homily with an invocation to the Holy Spirit:
"In these days of waiting for the feast of the Holy Spirit, we ask: Come, Holy Spirit, come and give me this big heart, this heart capable of loving with humility, with meekness, an open heart that is capable of loving. And let's ask this grace, of the Holy Spirit. And may He free us always from the other path, the path of selfishness, which eventually ends badly. Let us ask for this grace. "
Tuesday morning Mass was concelebrated by the Archbishop of Medellín, Ricardo Antonio Restrepo Tobón, and was attended staff from the Vatican Museums and students of the Pontifical Portuguese College.
Pope at Mass: bishops and priests need prayers of faithful
2013-05-15 (Vatican Radio)
Pray for priests and bishops, that they might not give in to the temptations of money and vanity, but serve the people of God. This was Pope Francis’ exhortation to the faithful at Mass this morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican, at which there was a group of Vatican Radio staff. Listen:
Pope Francis’ homily took its starting point from the passage in the Acts of the Apostles, in which Paul exhorts the elders of the Church of Ephesus to watch over themselves and all the flock, to be attentive shepherds, and guard against the “ravenous wolves” that would feed on the fold. “One of the ‘most beautiful pages of the New Testament’,” said Pope Francis, “[the episode] is full of tenderness, of pastoral love,” from which emerges a picture, “[of] the beautiful relationship of the bishop with his people.” Bishops and priests, he explained, are at the service of others, to preserve, build and defend the people of God. Theirs is, “a relationship of protection and love between God and the pastor and the pastor and the people”:
"In the [final analysis], a bishop is not a bishop for himself. He is for the people, and a priest is not a priest for himself. He, [too], is for the people: to serve [them], to nurture them, to shepherd them, that are his flock – in order to defend them from the wolves. It is beautiful to think this! When the bishop does this, there is a good relationship with the people, such as Paul the bishop did with his people, no? And when the priest [builds] that good relationship with the people, it gives us a love: a love [unites] them, a true love, and the Church becomes united.”
Pope Francis went on to describe the relationship of the bishop and the priest with the people as a existential and sacramental. “We [bishops and priests] need your prayers,” he said, “for, even the bishop and the priest may be tempted.” Bishops and priests should pray much, proclaim Jesus Christ Risen, and “boldly preach the message of salvation.” However, he said, “We are men and we are sinners,” and, “we are tempted.”:
"St. Augustine, commenting on the prophet Ezekiel, speaks of two [temptations]: wealth, which can become greed, and vanity. He says, ‘When the bishop, the priest takes advantage of the sheep for himself, the dynamic changes: it is not the priest, the bishop, for the people - but the priest and the bishop who take from the people.’ St. Augustine says, ‘He takes the meat from the sheep to eat [it], he takes advantage; he makes deals and is attached to money; he becomes greedy and even sometimes practices simony. Perhaps he takes advantage of the wool for vanity, in order to vaunt himself.’”
So , the Pope observes, “when a priest, a bishop goes after money, the people do not love him – and that's a sign. But he ends badly.” St. Paul reminds us that he worked with his hands. “He did not have a bank account, he worked, and when a bishop, a priest goes on the road to vanity, he enters into the spirit of careerism – and this hurts the Church very much – [and] ends up being ridiculous: he boasts, he is pleased to be seen, all powerful – and the people do not like that!” “Pray for us,” the Pope repeated, “that we might be poor, that we might be humble, meek, in the service of the people.” Finally, he suggested to the faithful that they read Acts 20:28-30, where Paul says, “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.":
“Read this fine passage, and while reading it, pray, pray for us bishops and priests. We have such need in order to stay faithful, to be men who watch over the flock and also over ourselves, who make the vigil their own, that their heart be always turned to [the Lord’s] flock. [Pray] also that the Lord might defend us from temptation, because if we go on the road to riches, if we go on the road to vanity, we become wolves and not shepherds. Pray for this, read this and pray. So be it.”