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Pope Francis pays homage to Our Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pope at Mass: An Apostolic nuisance

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692628.JPG 2013-05-16 (Vatican Radio)


Saint Paul was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass Thursday morning, and in particular his talent at ‘being a nuisance’, at unsettling people who had grown too comfortable in their faith and imbuing them with that Apostolic zeal that is necessary for the Church to move forward. Emer McCarthy reports:

Pope Francis said that Apostolic zeal, implies "an element of madness, but of spiritual madness, of healthy madness” and proclaiming Christ has its consequences, which can often result in persecution. Nonetheless, stated the Pope, we must not be ‘backseat Christians’ cozy in our comfort zones. 

Drawing inspiration from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 22, where Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin, Pope Francis pointed out that the life of the Apostle to the Gentiles was one of "persecution", but that this did not discourage him. The fate of Paul, he stressed, "is a fate with many crosses, but he keeps going, he looks to the Lord and keeps going":

"Paul is a nuisance: he is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable, it threatens our comfort zones – even Christian comfort zones, right? It irritates us. The Lord always wants us to move forward, forward, forward ... not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures, no?... And Paul, in preaching of the Lord, was a nuisance. But he had deep within him that most Christian of attitudes: Apostolic zeal. He had its apostolic zeal. He was not a man of compromise. No! The truth: forward! The proclamation of Jesus Christ, forward! ".

Pope Francis noted that St. Paul was a "fiery" individual, but this fire was not limited to his character. It was the fire of his zeal for the Lord, who accompanied the Saint in his ‘pitched battles’. Indeed, continued the Pope, it was the Lord who led him "onwards," to bear witness in Jerusalem and in Rome:

"By the way, I like the fact that the Lord has cared for this diocese, even since then ... We are privileged! And Apostolic zeal is not an enthusiasm for power, for possession. It is something that comes from within, that the Lord wants from us: Christian with Apostolic Zeal. And where does this Apostolic Zeal come from? It comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Paul found Jesus Christ, he encountered Jesus Christ, but not with an intellectual, scientific knowledge – which is important, because it helps us - but with that first knowledge, that of the heart, of a personal encounter. "

Pope Francis continued, this is what pushes Paul to keep going, "to always proclaim Jesus". "He was always in trouble, not in trouble for troubles’ sake, but for Jesus, proclaiming Jesus "this is the consequence". Apostolic zeal, the Pope stressed, can only be understood "in an atmosphere of love." Apostolic zeal, implies "an element of madness, but of spiritual madness, of healthy madness”. Paul "had this healthy madness." 

The Pope invited all those present to pray to the Holy Spirit for this Apostolic zeal that is not only the preserve of missionaries. Even in the Church, he warned, there are "lukewarm Christians" who "do not feel like moving forward":

"There are backseat Christians, right? Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal. Today we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this Apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when thin are too quiet in the Church the grace to go out to the outskirts of life. The Church has so much need of this! Not only in distant lands, in the young churches, among people who do not know Jesus Christ, but here in the cities, in our cities, they need this proclamation of Jesus Christ. So let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace of Apostolic zeal, let’s be Christians with apostolic zeal. And if we annoy people, blessed be the Lord. Onwards, as the Lord says to Paul, ‘take courage!' "

Thursday Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso, president and secretary of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace. It was attended by Council staff and staff from Vatican Radio. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis celebrates Friday morning Masshttp://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_692959.JPG

2013-05-17 - Vatican Radio

The problem is not that we are sinners, but that we do not allow ourselves to be transformed by the encounter with Christ in love: this was the main focus of Pope Francis’ remarks at Mass on Friday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican, which was attended by employees of the Vatican Museums. ListenRealAudioMP3 

At the center of the homily was the day's Gospel reading, in which the Risen Jesus thrice asks Peter if Peter loves Him. “It is,” said Pope Francis, “a dialogue of love between the Lord and his disciple,” one that retraces the whole history of Peter’s meetings with Jesus, from Peter’s first calling and invitation to follow the Lord, to his receiving the name of Cephas – the Rock – and with the name, his peculiar mission, “which,” said Pope Francis, “was there, even if Peter understood nothing of it [at the time].” Then, when Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ and went on to reject the way of the Cross, and Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan!” and “Peter accepted this humiliation.” Peter often “believed himself to be a good fellow,” was “fiery” in the Garden of Gethsemane, and “took the sword” to defend Jesus, but then denied him three times – and when Jesus looked on him with that look, “so beautiful [it was],” said the Pope, that Peter weeps. “Jesus in these meetings is maturing Peter’s soul, Peter's heart,” helping Peter to grow in love. So Peter, when he heard Jesus three times ask him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” was ashamed, because he remembered the time when, three times, he said he did not know the Lord:

“Peter was saddened that, for a third time, Jesus asked him, “Do you love me?” This pain, this shame – a great man, this Peter – [and] a sinner, a sinner. The Lord makes him feel that he is a sinner – makes us all feel that we are sinners. The problem is not that we are sinners: the problem is not repenting of sin, not being ashamed of what we have done. That's the problem. And Peter has this shame, this humility, no? The sin, the sin of Peter, is a fact that, with a heart as great as the heart Peter had, brings him to a new encounter with Jesus: to the joy of forgiveness.”

The Lord did not abandon his promise, when said, “You are rock.” In the episode recounted in Friday’s Gospel, we saw Jesus saying, “Feed my sheep,” and the Lord “[gave] over His flock to a sinner.”:

“Peter was a sinner, but not corrupt, eh? Sinners, yes, everyone: corrupt, no. I once knew of a priest, a good parish pastor who worked well. He was appointed bishop, and he was ashamed because he did not feel worthy, he had a spiritual torment. And he went to the confessor. The confessor heard him and said, ‘But do not worry. If after the [mess Peter made of things], they made him Pope, then you go ahead! .’ The point is that this is how the Lord is. That’s the way He is. The Lord makes us mature with many meetings with Him, even with our weaknesses, when we recognize [them], with our sins.”

Pope Francis went on to say that Peter let himself be shaped by his many encounters with Jesus, and that this, he said, “is something we all need to do as well, for we are on the same road.” The Holy Father stressed that Peter is great, not because he is good, but because he has a nobility of heart, which brings him to tears, leads him to this pain, this shame - and also to take up his work of shepherding the flock”:

“Let us ask the Lord, today, that this example of the life of a man who continually meets with the Lord, and whom the Lord purifies, makes more mature through these meetings, might help us to us to move forward, seeking the Lord and meeting Him, allowing us [really] to encounter Him. More than this, it is important that we let ourselves encounter the Lord: He always seeks us, He is always near us. Many times, though, we look the other way because we do not want to talk with the Lord or allow ourselves to encounter the Lord. Meeting the Lord [is important], but more importantly, let us be met by the Lord: this is a grace. This is the grace that Peter teaches us. We ask this grace today. So be it.”

 

 

 

 


Pope: Avoid the temptation to interfere 2013-05-18http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_693294.JPG - Vatican Radio

The Christian must overcome the temptation to "interfere in the lives of others," was the exhortation of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope also stressed that talk and envy do so much harm to the Christian community.

"What is it to you?" Pope Francis begin his homily referring to a question Jesus posed to Peter when he had meddled in the life of the disciple John, "whom Jesus loved." Peter, the Pope pointed out, had "a dialogue of love" with the Lord, but then the dialogue "is diverted to another track," and he also suffers from a temptation: "to interfere in the lives of others." How do you say "vulgar," said the Pope, Peter becomes "nosy". Focus is therefore on two modes of this mix in the lives of others. First, the "comparison", "to compare oneself with others." When there is this comparison, Pope Francis said, "we end up in bitterness and even envy, but envy rusts the Christian community, "it brings much hurt," the "devil wants that." The second mode of this temptation, he added, is gossip. It begins "in an educated way," but then we end up “feeling bad”. 

"We all chat in Church! As Christians we chat! The chatter is hurtful? We hurt one another. It is as if we want to put each other down.: instead of growing one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do! It seems nice to chat ... I do not know why, but it looks nice. Like sweet of honey, right? You take one and then another, and another, and another, and in the end you have a stomach ache. And why ? The chatter is like that eh? It is 'sweet at first and it ruins you, it ruins your soul! Rumours are destructive in the Church, they are destructive ... It’s 'a little' like the spirit of Cain who killed his brother, his tongue; it kills his brother! "

On this road, the Holy Father said, "we become Christians of good manners and bad habits." But how do we do this ? Normally, Pope Francis noted, "we do three things":

"We supply misinformation: we tell only half that suits us and not the other half, the other half we do not say because it is not convenient for us. You smile at that ... Is that true or not? Did you see that thing? It goes on. The second is defamation: When a person truly has a flaw, it is big, they tell it, 'like a journalist' ... And the character of this person is ruined. And the third is the slander of saying things that are not true. It is like killing ones brother! All three - disinformation, defamation and slander - are sins! This is sin! It is to slap Jesus in the person of his children, his brothers. "

That is why Jesus does with us what he did with Peter when he says: "What is it to you? Follow me, "The Lord in this instance" points the way ":

"'This kind of talk will not do you any good, because it will just bring to the Church a spirit of destruction. Follow me! '. These are the beautiful words of Jesus, it is so clear, that he has so much love for us. As if to say: 'Don’t have fantasies, believing that salvation is in the comparisons with others or in gossip. Salvation is to go behind me '. Following Jesus! Today we ask the Lord Jesus to give us this grace not to ever get involved in the lives of others, not to become Christians of good manners and bad habits, it is to follow Jesus, to walk behind Jesus on his way. And this is enough. "

During his homily, Pope Francis also recalled an episode from the life of St. Therese who wondered why Jesus gave so much to one and not to another. The older sister then took a thimble and a glass and filled them with water and then asked Therese which of the two was more full. "But both are full," said the future saint. Jesus, the Pope said, does this with us", "he does not care if you're big, you're or small." What interests him is "if you are filled with the love of Jesus." Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report RealAudioMP3 

 

 

 


Pope at Mass: Courageous, humble prayer can work wonders http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_693742.JPG

(Vatican Radio)

Courageous, humble and strong prayer can accomplish miracles: this was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports: RealAudioMP3 


The Pope was commenting on Monday’s Gospel passage which recounts the disciples failure to heal a child; Jesus himself must intervene and laments the disbelief of those present. Responding to the child’s father’s pleas for help He says “everything is possible to one who has faith ". Pope Francis noted that often those who love Jesus don't risk much on believing in him nor entrust themselves completely to Him:


"But why this disbelief? I believe that it is [when] the heart will not open, when the heart is closed, when the heart wants to have everything under control".


It is a heart, then, that "does not open" and does not "give control of things to Jesus" - said the Pope - and when the disciples ask him why they could not drive the spirit out of the boy, the Lord replies that the "this kind can only come out through prayer. " "All of us - he said – carry a little bit of a disbelief, within." Strong prayer is needed, humble and strong prayer that enables Jesus to carry out the miracle. Prayer to ask for a miracle, to ask for an extraordinary action - he continued – must be an involved prayer, a prayer that unites us all”. To further underline his point, the Holy Father told the story of a young child in Argentina who at only 7 years of age fell ill and was given only a few hours to live by doctors. Her father, an electrician, a "man of faith," started “acting like madmen - said the Pope - and in that state of madness “took a bus to the Marian Shrine of Lujan, 70 km away”. 


"He finally arrived after 9 pm, when everything was closed. And he began to pray to Our Lady, with his hands gripping the iron fence. And he prayed, and prayed, and wept, and prayed ... and that’s the way he remained all night long. But this man was struggling: he was struggling with God, he struggled with God Himself to heal his daughter. Then, at 6 in the morning, he went to the bus station, took the bus and arrived home, in the hospital at 9 am, more or less. And he found his wife weeping. And he thought the worst. “What’s happened? I do not understand, I do not understand! What has happened? '. 'Well, the doctors came and they told me that the fever is gone, she is breathing well, that there is nothing! They will leave her for two days more, but I do not understand what happened! This still happens, eh? Miracles do happen”. 

But we need to pray with our hearts concluded the Pope:


"A courageous prayer, that struggles to achieve a miracle, not prayers of courtesy, 'Ah, I will pray for you,' I say an Our Father, a Hail Mary and then I forget. No: a courageous prayer, like that of Abraham, who struggled with the Lord to save the city, like that of Moses who held his hands high and tired himself out, praying to the Lord, like that of many people, so many people who have faith and pray with faith. Prayer works wonders, but we have to believe! I think we can make a beautiful prayer ... and tell Him today, all day long, 'Lord, I believe, help my unbelief' ... and when people ask ask us to pray for the many people who suffer in wars, all refugees, all of these dramas that exist right now, pray, but with your heart to the Lord: 'Do it!', but tell Him: 'Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief 'that is also in my prayers. Let us do this today. "

 

 

 

 

Pope at Mass: True power, even in the Church, is in serving othershttp://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_694087.JPG

(2013-05-21 Vatican Radio)

For a Christian, true progress lies in humbling ourselves as Jesus did. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope also reiterated that true power is in service and that there is no room for power struggles within the Church. During the prayers of the faithful Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy. Emer McCarthy reports: RealAudioMP3 


In the readings of the day, the source of the Holy Father’s reflections, Jesus speaks of his passion. However his disciples, begin arguing about who is the greatest among them. Commenting on this ‘bitter episode’ the Pope noted: "The struggle for power in the Church nothing new", in fact "it began then with Jesus”. The Pope said: "In the Gospel of Jesus, the struggle for power in the Church must not exist" because true power, that which the Lord "by his example has taught us," is "the power of service".


"Real power is service. As He did, He who came not to be served but to serve, and His service was the service of the Cross. He humbled Himself unto death, even death on a cross for us, to serve us, to save us. And there is no other way in the Church to move forward. For the Christian, getting ahead, progress, means humbling oneself. If we do not learn this Christian rule, we will never, ever be able to understand Jesus’ true message on power. "

The Pope said that progress "means humbling ourselves", it means "always being of service” to others. In the Church, he added, "the greatest is the one who serves most, the one who is at the service of others." "This is the rule." Yet, noted Pope Francis, from the beginning until now there have been "power struggles in the Church," even "in our manner of speech":


"When a person is given a job, one that the eyes of the world is a superior role, they say: 'Ah, this woman has been promoted to president of that association, or this man was promoted ...'. This verb, to promote: yes, it is a nice verb and one we must use in the Church. Yes, He was promoted to the Cross, He was promoted to humiliation. That is true promotion [advancement], that which makes us seem more like Jesus! " 

The Pope then recalled that St. Ignatius of Loyola who, in his Spiritual Exercises, asked the Crucified Lord for "the grace of humiliation." This, he reiterated, is "the true power of the service of the Church." This is the true path of Jesus, true and not worldly advancement:


"The path of the Lord is being in His service: as He carried out His service, we must follow Him, on the path of service. That is the real power in the Church. I would like today to pray for all of us, so that the Lord give us the grace to understand that: that real power in the Church is service. And also to understand the golden rule that He taught us by His example: for a Christian, progress, advancement, means being humble. We ask for this grace. " 

Staff from Vatican Radio and the Office of the Governatorate were present at Mass Tuesday morning. Also present were the director of Civiltà Cattolica, Father Antonio Spadaro S.J., and Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti, president and vice-president of the Focolare Movement. 

 

 

 


2013-05-22. Pope at Mass: Culture of encounter is the foundation of peace

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_694445.JPG(Vatican Radio) “Doing good” is a principle that unites all humanity, beyond the diversity of ideologies and religions, and creates the “culture of encounter” that is the foundation of peace: this is what Pope said at Mass this morning at the Domus Santae Martae, in the presence of employees of the Governorate of Vatican City. Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, concelebrated at the Mass. 

Wednesday’s Gospel speaks to us about the disciples who prevented a person from outside their group from doing good. “They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of “possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”:

"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

“Doing good” the Pope explained, is not a matter of faith: “It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because He has made us in His image and likeness. And He does good, always.”

This was the final prayer of Pope Francis: 

"Today is [the feast of] Santa Rita, Patron Saint of impossible things – but this seems impossible: let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work, which is a work of creation, like the creation of the Father. A work of the family, because we are all children of God, all of us, all of us! And God loves us, all of us! May Santa Rita grant us this grace, which seems almost impossible. Amen.”


2013-05-23. Pope Francis at Mass: be salt of the earth

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_694853.JPG(Vatican Radio) That Christians might spread the spiritual salt of faith, hope and charity: this was Pope Francis’ exhortation at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope warned against the risk of becoming insipid, “Museum-piece Christians.” 

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the savour that Christians are called to give to their own lives and to others’. The Holy Father said that salt the Lord gives us is the salt of faith, hope and charity. But, he warned, we must be careful that this salt, which is given to us by the certainty that Jesus died and rose again to save us, “does not lose its flavour, does not lose its strength.” This salt, he continued, “is not for keeping, because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing”:

Salt makes sense when you [use] it in order to make things more tasty. I also consider that salt stored in the bottle, with moisture, loses strength and is rendered useless. The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, [in order] to spice things up: otherwise, it becomes bland and useless. We must ask the Lord not to [let us] become Christians with flavour-less salt, with salt that stays closed in the bottle. Salt also has another special feature: when salt is used well, one does not notice the taste of salt. The savour of salt - it cannot be perceived! What one tastes is the flavour of the food: salt helps improve the flavor of the meal.

“When we preach faith, with this salt,” said Pope Francis, “those who receive the proclamation, receive it each according to his peculiarity, as [happens when salt is used judiciously] on food.” So, “Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better [for it].” The Holy Father went on to explain that the “originality” that Christian faith brings is therefore not something uniform:

The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture – and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure. However, it gives one something more: it gives flavour! This Christian originality is so beautiful, because when we want to make a uniformity - all salted in the same way - things will be like when the woman throws in too much salt and one tastes only salt and not the meal. The Christian originality is this: each is as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him.

“This,” the Pope continued, “is the salt that we have to give.” A salt that is “not to be kept, but to be given,” – and this, he said, “means a little [bit] of transcendence”: “To get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others.” On the other hand, he pointed out, there are two “ways out” for the salt to take, so that it does not spoil. First: to give the salt “in the service of meals, service to others, to serve the people.” Second: “transcendence toward the author of the salt, the creator.” The salt, he reiterated, "in order to keep its flavour, has need not only of being given through preaching,” but, “also needs the other transcendence, of prayer, of adoration”:

In this way is the salt conserved, [in this way it keeps] its flavor. With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message. If we do not do this, however - these two things, these two transcendences, to give the salt - the salt will remain in the bottle, and we will become ‘museum-piece Christians’. We can show the salt: this is my salt - and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis - But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri concelebrated, The Mass was attended by a group of priests and lay collaborators from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. 

 

2013-05-24.  Pope Francis: Suffering difficulties with patience and overcoming oppression with lovehttp://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_695179.JPG

(Vatican Radio) “To suffer with patience and to overcome external and internal oppression with love.” That was the prayer of Pope Francis today at the Domus Sanctae Martae during Mass on the feast of Mary Help of Christians. 

In his homily, Pope Francis requested two graces: “To endure with patience and to overcome with love.” These are “graces proper to a Christian.” “To suffer with patience,” he notes, “is not easy.” “It is not easy, whether the difficulties come from without, or are problems within the heart, the soul, internal problems.” But to suffer, he explained, is not simply to “bear with a difficulty.”:

“To suffer is to take the difficulty and to carry it with strength, so that the difficulty does not drag us down. To carry it with strength: this is a Christian virtue. Saint Paul says several times: Suffer [endure]. This means do not let ourselves be overcome by difficulties. This means that the Christian has the strength not to give up, to carry difficulties with strength. Carry them, but carry them with strength. It is not easy, because discouragement comes, and one has the urge to give up and say, ‘Well, come on, we’ll do what we can but no more.’ But no, it is a grace to suffer. In difficulties, we must ask for [this grace], in difficulty.”

The other grace the Pope asks for is “to overcome with love”:

“There are many ways to win, but the grace that we request today is the grace of victory with love, through love. And this is not easy. When we have external enemies that make us suffer so much: it is not easy, to win with love. There is the desire to take revenge, to turn another against him ... Love: the meekness that Jesus taught us. And that is the victory! The Apostle John tells us in the first Reading: ‘This is our victory, our faith.’ Our faith is precisely this: believing in Jesus who taught us love and taught us to love everyone. And the proof that we are in love is when we pray for our enemies.”

To pray for enemies, for those who make us suffer, the Pope continued, “is not easy.” But we are “defeated Christians” if we do not forgive enemies, and if we do not pray for them. And “we find so many sad, discouraged Christians,” he exclaimed, because “they did not have this grace of enduring with patience and overcoming with love”:

“Therefore, we ask Our Lady to give us the grace to endure with patience and overcome with love. How many people – so many old men and women - have taken this path! And it is beautiful to see them: they have that beautiful countenance, that serene happiness. They do not say much, but have a patient heart, a heart filled with love. They know what forgiveness of enemies is, they know what it is to pray for enemies. So many Christians are like that!”

The Mass was attended by employees of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications led by the president of the dicastery, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. And, on the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and a group of priests, religious, seminarians and lay people from China also attended the ceremony. At the end of the prayers of the faithful, the Pope prayed: “For the noble Chinese people: May the Lord bless them and Our Lady keep them.” The Mass concluded with a hymn to the Virgin Mary in Chinese

 

2013-05-25. Pope: Open the door to faithhttp://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_695466.JPG (Vatican Radio)

Those who approach the Church should find the doors open and not find people who want to control the faith. This is what the Pope said this morning during Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. 

The day's Gospel tells us that Jesus rebukes the disciples who seek to remove children that people bring to the Lord to bless. "Jesus embraces them, kisses them, touches them, all of them. It tires Jesus and his disciples "want it to stop”. Jesus is indignant: "Jesus got angry, sometimes." And he says: "Let them come to me, do not hinder them. For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." "The faith of the People of God – observes the Pope - is a simple faith, a faith that is perhaps without much theology, but it has an inward theology that is not wrong, because the Spirit is behind it." The Pope mentions Vatican I and Vatican II, where it is said that "the holy people of God ... cannot err in matters of belief" (Lumen Gentium). And to explain this theological formulation he adds: "If you want to know who Mary is go to the theologian and he will tell you exactly who Mary is. But if you want to know how to love Mary go to the People of God who teach it better. " The people of God - continued the Pope - "are always asking for something closer to Jesus, they are sometimes a bit 'insistent in this. But it is the insistence of those who believe ":

"I remember once, coming out of the city of Salta, on the patronal feast, there was a humble lady who asked for a priest's blessing. The priest said, 'All right, but you were at the Mass' and explained the whole theology of blessing in the church. You did well: 'Ah, thank you father, yes father,' said the woman. When the priest had gone, the woman turned to another priest: 'Give me your blessing!'. All these words did not register with her, because she had another necessity: the need to be touched by the Lord. That is the faith that we always look for , this is the faith that brings the Holy Spirit. We must facilitate it, make it grow, help it grow. "

The Pope also mentioned the story of the blind man of Jericho, who was rebuked by the disciples because he cried to the Lord, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

"The Gospel says that they didn’t want him to shout, they wanted him not to shout but he wanted to shout more, why? Because he had faith in Jesus! The Holy Spirit had put faith in his heart. And they said, 'No, you cannot do this! You don’t shout to the Lord. Protocol does not allow it. And 'the second Person of the Trinity! Look what you do... 'as if they were saying that, right? ".

And think about the attitude of many Christians:

"Think of the good Christians, with good will, we think about the parish secretary, a secretary of the parish ... 'Good evening, good morning, the two of us - boyfriend and girlfriend - we want to get married'. And instead of saying, 'That's great!'. They say, 'Oh, well, have a seat. If you want the Mass, it costs a lot ... '. This, instead of receiving a good welcome- It is a good thing to get married! '- But instead they get this response:' Do you have the certificate of baptism, all right ... '. And they find a closed door. When this Christian and that Christian has the ability to open a door, thanking God for this fact of a new marriage ... We are many times controllers of faith, instead of becoming facilitators of the faith of the people. "

And 'there is always a temptation - said the Pope - "try and take possession of the Lord." And he tells another story:

"Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: 'I want my child baptized'. And then this Christian, this Christian says: 'No, you cannot because you're not married!'. But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors! And so when we are on this street, have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God, but Jesus instituted the seven sacraments with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs! ".

"Jesus is indignant when he sees these things" - said the Pope - because those who suffer are "his faithful people, the people that he loves so much"

"We think today of Jesus, who always wants us all to be closer to Him, we think of the Holy People of God, a simple people, who want to get closer to Jesus and we think of so many Christians of goodwill who are wrong and that instead of opening a door they close the door of goodwill ... So we ask the Lord that all those who come to the Church find the doors open, find the doors open, open to meet this love of Jesus. We ask this grace.

 

Pope's Homily During Mass at Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah Parish in Rome

ROME, May 26, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Here is the translation of Pope Francis' homily during Sunday Mass at the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in Rome today. 


The Holy Father’s homily was especially directed toward children at the parish who were making their first communion. He also engages in a dialogue with them.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The pastor’s words made me think of a beautiful thing about Our Lady. When Our Lady, just having received the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus, and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting, the Gospel says, she set out in haste; she did not wait. She did not say to herself, “But I’m pregnant now, so I had better look after my health. My cousin will have friends who perhaps will help her.” She heard something and she “set out in haste.” It is lovely to think about these actions of Our Lady, our Mother, who sets out in haste, because it tells us about helping. She goes to help, she does not go to boast and say to her cousin: “Now listen, I’m in charge now because I am God’s mamma!” No she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!” This is beautiful, isn’t it? Because she always goes in haste she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, have a need and they call upon her, she goes in haste. And this makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. We go, we travel better in life when we have our mamma near. Let us think about this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being with us, but without making us wait. Always! She is – we have confidence in this – there to help us. Our Lady who always goes in haste, for us.
Our Lady also helps us to understand God well, Jesus, to understand the life of Jesus, the life of God, to understand well what the Lord is, how the Lord is, who is God. I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does he do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates everything, he creates the world, Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son, talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but he also walks with us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this: the Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation, he accompanies us, he guides us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is. Amen.

2013-05-27.  Pope at Mass:

 

2013-05-27 Pope: the culture of economic wellbeing and attraction towards the provisional prevent us from following Jesus

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_695924.JPG(Vatican Radio) In order to follow Jesus we must get rid of our culture based on economic wellbeing and of our attraction for the provisional. This was the message highlighted this morning by Pope Francis during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Addressing those present the Pope invited us to examine our consciences and take stock of the riches that prevent us from getting close to Jesus. The Mass, that was concelebrated by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, also saw the participation of members of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers led by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski President of the Council, and a group of collaborators of the Vatican Department of Economic Services, led by Mr. Sabatino Napolitano.

Jesus asked a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then to follow him. But when the young man heard this, he went away sad. Pope Francis’ homily found inspiration in the well-known episode narrated in the Gospel, and he underlined that “riches are an impediment” that “do not facilitate our journey towards the Kingdom of God”. And he pointed out: “Each and every one of us has riches”. There is always, he said, a richness that “stops us from getting close to Jesus”. And this must be singled out. We must all, he continued, examine our conscience and pinpoint our riches because they stop us from getting close to Jesus on the path of life”. And the Pope focused on what he called two “cultural riches”: the first, a “culture of economic wellbeing that causes us to be lacking in courage, makes us lazy, makes us selfish”. Wellbeing, he said, “anaesthetizes us, it’s an anaesthetic”.

“No, no, not more than one child, because otherwise we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house. It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point. This is what economic wellbeing does to us: we all know what wellbeing is, but it deprives us of courage, of the courage we need to get close to Jesus. This is the first richness of the culture of today, the culture of economic wellbeing”.

There is also, he added, “another richness in our culture”, another richness that prevents us from getting close to Jesus: it’s our fascination for the temporary”. We, he observed, are “in love with the provisional”. We don’t like Jesus’s “definitive proposals”. Instead we like what is temporary because “we are afraid of God’s time” which is definitive.

“He is the Lord of time; we are the masters of the moment. Why? Because we are in command of the moment: I will follow the Lord up to this point, and then I will see… I heard of a man who wanted to become a priest - but only for ten years, not any longer…” Attraction for the provisional: this is a richness. We want to become masters of time, we live for the moment. These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward. I think of so many men and women who have left their land to work throughout their lives as missionaries: that is definitive!”.

And, he said, I also think of so many men and women who “have left their homes to commit to a lifelong marriage”, that is “to follow Jesus closely! It’s the definitive”. The temporary, Pope Francis stressed, “is not following Jesus”, it’s “our territory”.

Before Jesus’ invitation, before these two cultural riches, let us think of the disciples: they were disconcerted. We too can be disconcerted by Jesus’ request. When Jesus explained something, people listened in amazement. Let us ask the Lord to give us the courage to go forward, to rid ourselves of this culture of economic wellbeing, hoping in time – at the end of the journey where He awaits us. Not with the small hope of the moment that will no longer be of any use. And so be it”.

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_696136.JPG2013-05-28.  Pope at Mass: Following Christ is not a career, it is the way of the Cross

(Vatican Radio) We should not reduce the proclamation of Jesus to being a mere cultural ‘gloss’ or ‘veneer’, it must go ‘straight to the heart’ and change us. Moreover, following Jesus ‘does not mean more power’, it is not a ‘career’ because His way is that of the Cross. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass Tuesday in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence. Emer McCarthy reports: 

What is our reward in following you? Pope Francis began with the question Peter puts to Jesus. A question, he said, which in the end concerns the life of every Christian. Jesus says that those who follow Him will have "many good things" but "with persecution." The path of the Lord, he continued, "is a road of humility, a road that ends in the Cross." That is why, he added, "there will always be difficulties," "persecution." There will always be, "because He travelled this road before" us. The Pope warned that "when a Christian has no difficulties in life – when everything is fine, everything is beautiful - something is wrong." It leads us to think that he or she is "a great friend of the spirit of the world, of worldliness." The Pope noted this "is a temptation particular to Christians":

"Following Jesus, yes, but up to a certain point: following Jesus because of culture: I am a Christian, I have this culture ... But without the necessity of true discipleship of Jesus, the necessity to travel this His road. If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no? And even some - I will not say a lot, but some - priests, bishops, no? Some say that there are many ... but they are those who think that following Jesus is a career. "

The Pope recalled that at one time, "in the literature of two centuries ago," it would sometimes be stated that someone "from the time he was a child wanted a career in the church." Here the Pope reiterated that "many Christians, tempted by the spirit of the world, think that following Jesus is good because it can become a career, they can get ahead." But this "is not the spirit". Instead it is Peter’s attitude when he speaks to Jesus about careers and Jesus answers: "Yes, I will give everything with persecution." "You cannot remove the Cross from the path of Jesus, it is always there." Yet, Pope Francis warned, this does not mean that Christians must hurt themselves. The Christian "follows Jesus out of love and when you follow Jesus out of love, the devil’s envy does many things." The "spirit of the world will not tolerate this, does not tolerate this witness":

"Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? 'Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others ...'. The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours, in adoration ... Never! It reduces Christian activity to doing social good. As if Christian life was a gloss, a veneer of Christianity. The proclamation of Jesus is not a veneer: the proclamation of Jesus goes straight to the bones, heart, goes deep within and change us. And the spirit of the world does not tolerate it, will not tolerate it, and therefore, there is persecution. "

Pope Francis said those who leave their home, their family to follow Jesus, receive a hundred times as much "already now in this age." A hundred times together with persecution. And this should not be forgotten:


"Following Jesus is just that: going with Him out of love, behind Him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did. Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that He has revealed to us and that He has taught us. This is beautiful, because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us. So be it".

Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. José Octavio Ruiz Arenas, president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. It was attended by a group of priests from the Council and staff from the Vatican Power Station and Technical Laboratory of the Governorate of Vatican carpentry, accompanied by Engineer Pier Carlo Cuscianna, Director of Technical Services of the Governorate. 

 

2013-05-29. http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_696517.JPGPope at Mass: The temptation of triumphalism
(Vatican Radio) Triumphalism impedes the Church: it is the temptation of a Christianity without the Cross, a Church that only wants to go half way on the journey of redemption, overly concerned with organization and success, without understanding that real triumph is born out of failure, like the triumph of Christ on the Cross. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass in Casa


The Gospel of the day recounts how Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem with his disciples, announces His passion, death and resurrection. Pope Francis described it as “the journey of faith”. He noted the disciples have another plan in mind, they plan to go only half way, that it is better to stop and they discuss among themselves how to arrange the Church and arrange salvation. Thus , John and James, ask Him to grant that in His glory one may sit one at His right and the other at His left, prompting a argument among the other about who was most important in the Church. 


Pope Francis observed that “the disciples’ temptation is the same of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, when the devil proposed another path to Him": "Do everything with speed, preform a miracle, something that everyone can see. Let’s go to the temple and skydive without a parachute, so everyone will see the miracle and redemption will come to pass". 


The Pope said this was also Peter’s temptation when he at first does not accept the passion of Jesus: "It is the temptation of a Christianity without the Cross, a half-way Christianity." There is also another temptation, "a Christianity with the Cross without Jesus" of which the Pope said he would speak at another occasion. But "the temptation of Christianity without the Cross", to be "half-way Christians, a half-way Church " – that does not want to arrive there where the Father wants, "is the temptation of triumphalism. We want the triumph now, without going to the Cross, a worldly triumph, a reasonable triumph ":


"Triumphalism in the Church, impedes the Church. Triumphalism among Christians, impedes Christians. A triumphalist, half-way Church that is a Church that is content with what it is or has, well sorted – well organized - with all its offices, everything in order, everything perfect no? Efficient. But a Church that denies its martyrs, because it does not know that martyrs are needed for Churches’ the journey towards the Cross. A Church that only thinks about triumphs, successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross. And this is a temptation that we all have”.


The Pope, then, recalled a special episode in his life:


"I remember once, I was in a dark moment in my spiritual life and I asked a favor from the Lord. Then I went to preach the annual spiritual retreat to nuns and on the last day the made their confession. One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘ Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you asks the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it'. She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, 'Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner’. This did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end”.

Pope Francis concluded with a prayer:

"We ask the Lord for the grace that we may not be a half-way Church, a triumphalist Church, of great successes, but a humble Church, that walks with decision, just like Jesus. Forward, forward, forward. With a heart open to the will of the Father, just like Jesus. We ask for this grace. "

 

 

 

 

2013-05-30.  Pope at Mass:

Pope: Homily for Corpus Christi [Full text](Vatican Radio) Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of Pope Francis’ homily for Mass celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi, Thursday 30 May 2013. 

Dear brothers and sisters,
In the Gospel we have just heard, there is an expression of Jesus that always strikes me: “Give you them to eat. (Lk 9:13)” Starting from this sentence, I let myself be guided by three words: discipleship, fellowship and sharing.

1. First of all: who are those to whom we are to give to eat? The answer is found at the beginning of the Gospel: it is the crowd, the multitude. Jesus is in the midst of the people: He welcomes them, talks to them, He cures them, He shows them the mercy of God. In their midst, he chooses the twelve Apostles to be with Him, and like Him, to immerse themselves in the concrete situations of the world. People follow Him, listen to Him, because Jesus speaks and acts in a new way, with the authority of someone who is authentic and consistent, who speaks and acts with truth, who gives the hope that comes from God, who is revelation of the face of a God who is love - and the people with joy, bless God.
This evening we are the crowd of [which] the Gospel [tells]: let us also strive to follow Jesus to listen to him, to enter into communion with Him in the Eucharist, to accompany Him and in order that He accompany us. Let us ask ourselves: how do I follow Jesus? Jesus speaks in silence in the Mystery of the Eucharist and every time reminds us that to follow Him means to come out of ourselves and make of our own lives, not a possession, but a gift to Him and to others.
2. Let us take a step forward: whence is born the invitation that Jesus makes to his disciples to feed the multitude themselves? It is born from two elements: first, the crowd, having followed Jesus, now finds itself in the open, away from inhabited areas, as evening falls, and then, because of the concern of the disciples, who asked Jesus to dismiss the crowd, that they might seek food and lodging in the nearby towns (cf. Lk 9:12). Faced with the neediness of the crowd, the solution of the disciples is that every man should take care of himself: “Dismiss the crowd!” [the disciples say]. How many times do we Christians have this temptation! We do not care for the needs of others, dismissing them with a pitiful, “God help you.” Jesus’ solution, on the other hand, goes in another direction, a direction that surprises the disciples: [He says], “You give them something to eat.” 
But how is it that we are to feed a multitude? “We have only five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” But Jesus is not discouraged. He asks the disciples to seat people in communities of fifty people, He raises his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the loaves, and gives them to the disciples for distribution. 
It is a moment of profound communion: the crowd, whose thirst has been quenched by the word of the Lord, is now nourished by His bread of life – and they all ate their fill, the Evangelist tells us.
This evening, we too are gathered around the Lord’s table, the table of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which He gives us once again His body, makes present the one sacrifice of the Cross. It is in listening to his Word, in nourishing ourselves with his Body and his Blood, that He makes us go from being a multitude to being a community, from [being strangers] to being [in] communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion, which brings us out from individualism to live together our journey in His footsteps, our faith in Him. We ought, therefore, to ask ourselves before the Lord: How do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord, [and] also with many brothers and sisters who share this same table? How are our Eucharistic celebrations?
3. A final element: whence is born the multiplication of the loaves? The answer lies in the invitation of Jesus to his disciples: “You yourselves give [to them]...,” “give,” share. What do the disciples share? What little they have: five loaves and two fishes. But it is precisely those loaves and fishes that in God’s hands feed the whole crowd. 

And it is the disciples, bewildered by the inability of their means, by the poverty of what they have at their disposal, who invite the people to sit down, and - trusting the Word of Jesus – distribute the loaves and fishes that feed the crowd. This tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a keyword that we need not fear is “solidarity,” that is, knowing how to place what we have at God’s disposal: our humble abilities, because [it is] only in the sharing, in the giving of them, that our lives will be fecund, will bear fruit. Solidarity: a word upon which the spirit of the world looks unkindly!
Tonight, once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread which is His body, He makes a gift of Himself. We, too, are experiencing the “solidarity of God” with man, a solidarity that never runs out, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us: God draws near to us; in the sacrifice of the Cross He lowers Himself, entering into the darkness of death in order to give us His life, which overcomes evil, selfishness, death. 
Jesus this evening gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, shares our same journey – indeed, He becomes food, real food that sustains our life even at times when the going is rough, when obstacles slow down our steps. The Lord in the Eucharist makes us follow His path, that of service, of sharing, of giving – and what little we have, what little we are, if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is that of love, descends into our poverty to transform it.
Let us ask ourselves this evening, adoring the Christ truly present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord who gives Himself to me, guide me to come out more and more from my little fence to get out and be not afraid to give, to share, to love Him and others?

Discipleship, communion and sharing. Let us pray that participation in the Eucharist move us always to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share with Him and with our neighbor who we are. Then our lives will be truly fruitful. Amen.

 

2013-05-31. Pope Francis: Long faces cannot proclaim Jesushttp://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_697158.JPG

(Vatican Radio) The Holy Spirit is the "author" of Christian joy and to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God. There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim Jesus. Joy alone and praise of God are the only way to advance the Gospel. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports:

Pope Francis began by commenting on the daily readings. The first reading, from the prophet Zephaniah, contains the exclamation "Rejoice! Cries of joy, the Lord is in your midst. " The second, from the Gospel, tells the story of Elizabeth and her son that "rejoices" in the womb on hearing the words of Mary. The Pope noted, "it all speaks of joy, the joy that is celebration." Yet, he continues, "we Christians are not so accustomed to speak of joy, of happiness", "I think often we prefer to complain". Instead, it is "the Holy Spirit that gives us joy":

"It’s the Spirit that guides us: He is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot. A certain mournful behavior, no? Often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God, no? And this joy comes from praise, Mary’s praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna’s praise: this praise of God! "


And how do we praise God? We praise Him by coming out of ourselves, we praise Him "freely, like the grace that He gives us is free," said Pope Francis. This pushes us to an examination of conscience on how to pray to God, said Pope Francis, who then turned to those present with a question:


"You here at Mass, do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God? Do you praise God? '. This is something new, new in our new spiritual life. Giving praise to God, coming out of ourselves to give praise; spending a little bit of time giving praise. But ‘this Mass is so long!’ If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring: it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free. "

The model of this praise, and this joy, is once again the Mother of Jesus "The Church – recalled Pope Francis – calls her the" cause of our joy, "Cause Nostrae Letitiae. Why? Because she brings the greatest joy that is Jesus ":

"We need to pray to Our Lady, so that bringing Jesus give us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. That it give us the grace to praise, to praise with a prayer of gratuitous praise, because He is worthy of praise, always. Pray to Our Lady and say to her what the Church says: Veni, Precelsa Domina, Maria, tu nos visita, Lady, thou who art so great, visit us and give us joy. "