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Pope Francis Angelus 20.06.21

the storm calmed by Jesus

Pope Francis Angelus  20.06.21  The Trials of Life
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In today’s liturgy the episode of the storm calmed by Jesus (Mk 4:35-41) is told. The boat on which the disciples are crossing the lake is beaten by the wind and waves and they are afraid they will sink. Jesus is with them on the boat, yet he is in the stern asleep on the cushion. The disciples, filled with fear, cry out to him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38).

And quite often we too, beaten by the trials of life, have cried out to the Lord: “Why do you remain silent and do nothing for me?”. Especially when it seems we are sinking, because of love or the project in which we have laid great hopes disappears; or when we are at the mercy of the unrelenting waves of anxiety; or when we feel we are drowning in problems or lost in the middle of the sea of life, with no course and no harbour. Or even, in the moments in which the strength to go forward fails us, because we have no job, or an unexpected diagnosis makes us fear for our health or that of a loved one. There are many moments in which we feel we are in a storm; we feel we are almost done in.

In these situations and in many others, we too feel suffocated by fear and, like the disciples, risk losing sight of the most important thing. On the boat, in fact, even if he is sleeping, Jesus is there, and he shares with his own all that is happening. His slumber, on the one hand surprises us, yet on the other it puts us to the test. The Lord is there, present; indeed, he waits – so to speak – for us to engage him, to invoke him, to put him at the centre of what we are experiencing. His slumber causes us to wake up. Because to be disciples of Jesus it is not enough to believe God is there, that he exists, but we must put ourselves out there with him; we must also raise our voice with him. Listen to this: we must cry out to him. Prayer, many times, is a cry: “Lord, save me!”

Today we can ask ourselves: what are the winds that beat against my life? What are the waves that hinder my navigation, and put my spiritual life, my family life, even my mental health in danger? Let us say all this to Jesus; let us tell him everything. He wants this; he wants us to grab hold of him to find shelter from the unexpected waves of life. The Gospel recounts that the disciples approach Jesus, wake him and speak to him (cf. v. 38). This is the beginning of our faith: to recognize that alone we are unable to stay afloat; that we need Jesus like sailors need the stars to find their course. Faith begins from believing that we are not enough in ourselves, from feeling in need of God. When we overcome the temptation to close ourselves off, when we overcome the false religiosity that does not want to disturb God, when we cry out to him, he can work wonders in us. It is the gentle and extraordinary power of prayer, which works miracles.

Jesus, begged by the disciples, calms the wind and waves. And he asks them a question, a question which also pertains to us: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (v. 40). The disciples were gripped with fear, because they were focused on the waves more than looking at Jesus. And fear leads us to look at the difficulties, the awful problems and not to look at the Lord, who many times is sleeping. It is this way for us too: how often we remain fixated on problems rather than going to the Lord and casting our concerns into him! How often we leave the Lord in a corner, at the bottom of the boat of life, to wake him only in a moment of need! Today, let us ask for the grace of a faith that never tires of seeking the Lord, of knocking at the door of his Heart. May the Virgin Mary, who in her life never stopped trusting in God, reawaken in us the basic need of entrusting ourselves to him each day.







Pope Francis General Audience 16.06.21

The Paschal prayer of Jesus for us

Pope Francis General Audience 16.06.21Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

We have recalled several times in this series of catechesis that prayer is one of the most evident features of the life of Jesus: Jesus prayed, and He prayed a lot. In the course of His mission, Jesus immersed Himself in it, because the dialogue with the father was the incandescent core of all His existence.

The Gospels testify how Jesus' prayer became even more intense and dense at the hour of his passion and death. These culminating events of His life constitute the central core of Christian preaching: those last hours lived by Jesus in Jerusalem are the heart of the Gospel not only because the Evangelists reserve proportionally greater space to this narrative, but also because the event of His death and resurrection - like a flash of lightning - sheds light on the rest of Jesus' life. He was not a philanthropist who took care of human suffering and illness: He was and is much more. In Him there is not only goodness: there is something more, there is salvation, and not an episodic salvation - the type that might save me from an illness or a moment of despair - but total salvation, messianic salvation, that gives hope in the definitive victory of life over death.

In the days of His last Passover, we therefore find Jesus fully immersed in prayer.

He prays dramatically in the garden of Gethsemane, as we heard, assailed by mortal anguish. And yet Jesus, precisely in that moment, addresses God as “Abba”, father (cf. Mk 14:36). This word, in Aramaic, which was Jesus’ language, expresses intimacy, it expresses trust. Just as He feels the darkness gather around Him, Jesus breaks through it with that little word: Abba, father.

Jesus also prays on the cross, obscurely shrouded in the silence of God. And yet once again the word “Father” emerges from His lips. It is the most ardent prayer, because on the cross Jesus is the absolute intercessor: He prays for others, He prays for everyone, even for those who have condemned Him, even though no-one apart from a poor delinquent takes His side. Everyone was against Him or indifferent, only that criminal recognised the power. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). In the midst of the drama, in the excruciating pain of soul and body, Jesus prays with the words of the psalms; with the poor of the world, especially those forgotten by all, He pronounces the tragic words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 2). He felt abandonment, and He prayed. 

The prayer of Jesus is unique, and is also becomes the model for our prayer. Jesus prayed for everyone: He even prayed for me, for each one of you. Every one of you can say: “Jesus, on the cross, prayed for me”.  Even in the most painful of our sufferings, we are never alone. The prayer of Jesus is with us. He continues to pray so that His word may help us keep going forward. But pray, and remember that He prays for us.

And this seems to me the most beautiful thing to remember. This is the final catechesis of this cycle on prayer: remember the grace that we do not only pray, but that, so to speak, we have been “prayed for”, we have already been received in Jesus’ dialogue with the Father, in communion with the Holy Spirit. Jesus prays for me: each one of us can take this to heart. We must not forget. Even in the worst moments. We are already welcomed into Jesus’ dialogue with the Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit. And so, with prayer and with life, there remains only to have courage and hope, and with this courage and hope, to feel the prayer of Jesus strongly and to keep on going: so that our life may be one of giving glory to God in the knowledge that He prays for me to the Father, that Jesus prays for me.






Pope Francis Message for the 5th World Day of the Poor 13.06.21


Pope Francis Message for the Poor 2021
Excerpt below, for the full text click on the picture link above

The poor are not people “outside” our communities, but brothers and sisters whose sufferings we should share, in an effort to alleviate their difficulties and marginalization, restore their lost dignity and ensure their necessary social inclusion.







Pope Francis Angelus 13.06.21

the little things

Pope Francis Angelus 13.06.21Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The two parables, which the Liturgy presents us today, – the two parables – are inspired precisely by ordinary life and reveal the attentive and deep gaze of Jesus, who observes reality and, through small everyday images, opens the windows on the mystery of God and on human history. Jesus spoke in a way that was easy to understand; he spoke with images of reality, of everyday life. In this way, he teaches us that even everyday things, which at times all seem the same and which we carry on with distraction or tiredness, are inhabited by God’s hidden presence; that is, they have meaning. So, we too need attentive eyes, to be able “to seek and find God in all things."

Today Jesus compares the Kingdom of God, that is, his presence that dwells in the heart of things and of the world, to the mustard seed, that is, to the smallest seed there is: it is really tiny. Yet, cast upon the ground, it grows until becoming the tallest tree (cf. Mk 4:31-32). This is what God does. At times, the din of the world, along with the many activities that fill our days, prevent us from stopping and seeing how the Lord is conducting history. Yet – the Gospel assures us – God is at work, like a good little seed that silently and slowly germinates. And, little by little, it becomes a lush tree, which gives life and rest to everyone. The seed of our good works too can seem like a small thing, yet all that is good pertains to God, and thus it humbly, slowly bears fruit. Good, let us remember, always grows in a humble way, in a hidden, often invisible way.

Dear brothers and sisters, with this parable Jesus wants to instil us with confidence. In so many of life’s situations, indeed, it may happen that we get discouraged, because we see the weakness of good as compared to the apparent power of evil. And we may allow ourselves to be paralyzed by doubt when we find we are working hard but the results are not achieved, and things seem never to change. The Gospel asks us to take a fresh look at ourselves and at reality; it asks us to have bigger eyes, that are able to see further, especially beyond appearances, in order to discover the presence of God who as humble love is always at work in the soil of our life and that of history. This is our confidence, this is what gives us the strength to go forward every day, patiently, sowing the good that will bear fruit.

How important this attitude also is for coming out of the pandemic well! To cultivate the confidence of being in God’s hands and at the same time for all of us to commit ourselves to rebuilding and starting up again, with patience and perseverance.

In the Church too, weeds of doubt can take root, especially when we witness the crisis of faith and the failure of different projects and initiatives. But let us never forget that the results of sowing do not depend our abilities: they depend on the action of God. It is up to us to sow, and sow with love, with dedication and with patience. But the force of the seed is divine. Jesus explains it in today’s other parable: the farmer sows the seed and then does not realize how it bears fruit, because it is the seed itself that grows spontaneously, day and night, when he least expects it (cf. vv. 26-29). With God in the most infertile soil there is always the hope of new sprouts.

May Mary Most Holy, the Lord’s humble handmaid, teach us to see the greatness of God who works in the little things and to overcome the temptation of discouragement. Let us trust in Him every day!






Pope Francis General Audience 09.06.21

Perseverance in love

Pope Francis General Audience on Prayer 09.06.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In this penultimate catechesis on prayer we are going to speak about perseverance in praying. It is an invitation, indeed a command that comes to us from Sacred Scripture. The spiritual journey of the Russian pilgrim begins when he comes across a phrase of Saint Paul in the First Letter to the Thessalonians: “Pray constantly, always and for everything give thanks” (5:17-18). The Apostle’s words struck the man and he wondered how it was possible to pray without interruption, given that our lives are fragmented into so many different moments, which do not always make concentration possible. From this question he begins his search, which will lead him to discover what is called the prayer of the heart. It consists in repeating with faith: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” A simple prayer, but very beautiful. A prayer that, little by little, adapts itself to the rhythm of breath and extends throughout the day. Indeed, the breath never stops, not even while we sleep; and prayer is the breath of life.

How, then, it is possible always to preserve a state of prayer? 

The heart in prayer. There is therefore an ardour in the Christian life, which must never fail. It is a little like that sacred fire that was kept in the ancient temples, that burned without interruption and which the priests had the task of keeping alive. So there must be a sacred fire in us too, which burns continuously and which nothing can extinguish. And it is not easy. But this is how it must be.

Little prayers: “Lord, have pity on us”, “Lord, help me”. So, prayer is a kind of musical staff, where we inscribe the melody of our lives. It is not in contrast with daily work, it does not contradict the many small obligations and appointments; if anything, it is the place where every action finds its meaning, its reason and its peace. In prayer.

Certainly, putting these principles into practice is not easy. It is good for us to think that God, our Father, who must take care of all the universe, always remembers each one of us. Therefore, we too must always remember Him!

We can also remember that in Christian monasticism work has always been held in great esteem, not only because of the moral duty to provide for oneself and others, but also for a sort of balance, an inner balance.

Everything in the human being is “binary”: our body is symmetrical, we have two arms, two eyes, two hands… And so, work and prayer are also complementary. Prayer - which is the “breath” of everything - remains as the living backdrop of work, even in moments in which this is not explicit. It is inhuman to be so absorbed by work that you can no longer find the time for prayer.

At the same time, a prayer that is alien from life is not healthy. A prayer that alienates itself from the concreteness of life becomes spiritualism, or worse, ritualism. The time dedicated to staying with God revive faith, which helps us in the practicalities of living, and faith, in turn, nurtures prayer, without interruption. In this circularity between faith, life and prayer, one keeps alight that flame of Christian life that God expects of us.

And let us repeat the simple prayer that it is so good to repeat during the day. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”. Saying this prayer continually will help you in the union with Jesus. Thank you.






Pope Francis Holy Mass 06.06.21 

on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Pope Francis Holy Mass - Corpus Christi 06.06.2021
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Jesus sends his disciples to prepare the place where they will celebrate the Passover meal. They themselves had asked: “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” (Mk 14:12). As we contemplate and worship the Lord’s presence in the Eucharistic Bread, we too should ask where, in what “place”, we want to prepare the Lord’s Passover. What are the “places” in our own lives that God is asking to be our guest? I would like to answer these questions by reflecting on three images from the Gospel we just heard (Mk 14:12-16, 22-26).

The first is that of the man carrying a pitcher of water (cf. v. 13). This might seem like a superfluous detail. Yet that nameless man became the guide who would bring the disciples to the place later known as the Upper Room. The pitcher of water is the sign by which they recognize him. It is a sign that makes us think of our human family, a thirst, constantly seeking a source of water to slake its thirst and to bring refreshment. All of us walk through life with pitcher in hand: all of us thirst for love, for joy, for a fulfilling life in a more humane world. To sate this thirst, the water of worldly things is of no avail. For ours is a deeper thirst, a thirst that God alone can satisfy.

To celebrate the Eucharist, we need first to recognize our thirst for God, to sense our need for him, to long for his presence and love, to realize that we cannot go it alone, but need the Food and Drink of eternal life to sustain us on our journey. The tragedy of the present time – we can say – is that this thirst is felt less and less. Questions about God are no longer asked, desire for God has faded, seekers of God have become increasingly rare. God no longer attracts us because we no longer acknowledge our deep thirst for him. Yet wherever there is a man or a woman with a pitcher for water there the Lord can reveal himself as the One who bestows new life, nurtures our dreams and aspirations with sure hope, a loving presence to give meaning and direction to our earthly pilgrimage. The man carrying a pitcher of water led the disciples to the room where Jesus would institute the Eucharist. Our thirst for God brings us to the altar. Where that thirst is lacking, our celebrations become dry and lifeless. As Church, it is not enough that the usual little group meets to celebrate the Eucharist; we need to go out into the city, to encounter people and to learn how to recognize and revive their thirst for God and their desire for the Gospel.

The second image from the Gospel is that of the Upper Room. This room where Jesus and his disciples would celebrate the Passover meal was located in the house of someone who offered them hospitality.

A large room for a tiny piece of Bread. God makes himself tiny, like a morsel of bread. That is precisely why we need a great heart to be able to recognize, adore and receive him. God’s presence is so humble, hidden and often unseen that, in order to recognize his presence, we need a heart that is ready, alert and welcoming. But if our heart, rather than a large room, is more like a closet where we wistfully keep things from the past, or an attic where we long ago stored our dreams and enthusiasm, or a dreary chamber filled only with us, our problems and our disappointments, then it will be impossible to recognize God’s silent and unassuming presence. We need to enlarge our hearts. We need to break out of our tiny self-enclosed space and enter the large room, the vast expanse of wonder and adoration. That is what we really need!  Adoration: that is the attitude we need in the presence of the Eucharist. The Church too must be a large room. Not a small and closed circle, but a community with arms wide open, welcoming to all. Let us ask ourselves this question: when someone approaches who is hurting, who has made a mistake, who has gone astray in life, is the Church, this Church, a room large enough to welcome this person and lead him or her to the joy of an encounter with Christ? Let us not forget that the Eucharist is meant to nourish those who are weary and hungry along the way. A Church of the pure and perfect is a room with no place for anyone. On the other hand, a Church with open doors, that gathers and celebrates around Christ, is a large room where everyone – everyone, the righteous and sinners – can enter.

A third image from the Gospel is that of Jesus breaking the bread. It is the distinctive sign of our faith and the place where we encounter the Lord who offers himself so that we can be reborn to new life. Up to that point, lambs were sacrificed and offered to God. Now Jesus becomes the lamb, offering himself in sacrifice in order to give us life. In the Eucharist, we contemplate and worship the God of love. The Lord who breaks no one, yet allows himself to be broken. The Lord who does not demand sacrifices, but sacrifices himself. The Lord who asks nothing but gives everything. In celebrating and experiencing the Eucharist, we too are called to share in this love. For we cannot break bread on Sunday if our hearts are closed to our brothers and sisters. We cannot partake of that Bread if we do not give bread to the hungry. We cannot share that Bread unless we share the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in need.

Brothers and sisters, today where should we go “to prepare the Lord’s supper”? The procession with the Blessed Sacrament reminds us that we are called to go out and bring Jesus to others. To go out with enthusiasm, bringing Christ to those we meet in our daily lives. May we become a Church with pitcher in hand, a Church that reawakens thirst and brings water. Let us open wide our hearts in love, so that we can become the large and welcoming room where everyone can enter and meet the Lord. Let us break the bread of our lives in compassion and solidarity, so that through us the world may see the grandeur of God’s love. Then the Lord will come, he will surprise us once more, he will again become food for the life of the world. And he will satisfy us always, until the day when, at the heavenly banquet, we will contemplate his face and come to know the joy that has no end.







Pope Francis  Angelus 06.06.21

on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Pope Francis Corpus Christi Angelus 2021.06.06Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today, in Italy and in other countries, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Gospel presents us the narrative of the Last Supper (Mk 14:12-16, 22-26). The words and gestures of the Lord touch our hearts: He takes the bread in his hands, pronounces the blessing, breaks it and offers it to the disciples, saying: “Take; this is my body”.

And thus, with simplicity, Jesus gives us the greatest sacrament. His is a humble gesture of giving, a gesture of sharing. At the culmination of his life, he does not distribute an abundance of bread to feed the multitudes, but he splits himself apart at the Passover supper with the disciples. In this way Jesus shows us that the aim of life lies in self-giving, that the greatest thing is to serve. And today once more we find the greatness of God in a piece of Bread, in a fragility that overflows with love, overflows with sharing. Fragility is precisely the word I would like to underscore. Jesus becomes fragile like the bread that is broken and crumbled. But his strength lies precisely therein, in his fragility. In the Eucharist fragility is strength: the strength of the love that becomes small so it can be welcomed and not feared; the strength of the love that is broken and shared so as to nourish and give life; the strength of the love that is split apart so as to join us in unity.

And there is another strength that stands out in the fragility of the Eucharist: the strength to love those who make mistakes. It is on the night he is betrayed that Jesus gives us the Bread of Life. He gives us the greatest gift while in his heart he feels the deepest abyss: the disciple who eats with Him, who dips the morsel in the same plate, is betraying Him. And betrayal is the worst suffering for one who loves. And what does Jesus do? He reacts to the evil with a greater good. He responds to Judas’ ‘no’ with the ‘yes’ of mercy. He does not punish the sinner, but rather gives His life for him; He pays for him. When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus does the same with us: he knows us; he knows we are sinners; he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours. He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the Bread of sinners. This is why he exhorts us: “Do not be afraid! Take and eat”.

Each time we receive the Bread of Life, Jesus comes to give new meaning to our fragilities. He reminds us that in his eyes we are more precious than we think. He tells us he is pleased if we share our fragilities with him. He repeats to us that his mercy is not afraid of our miseries. And above all he heals us with love from those fragilities that we cannot heal on our own. What fragilities? Let’s think. That of feeling resentment toward those who have done us harm – we cannot heal from this on our own; that of distancing ourselves from others and closing off within ourselves – we cannot heal from that on our own; that of feeling sorry for ourselves and lamenting without finding peace; from this too, we cannot heal on our own. It is He who heals us with his presence, with is bread, with the Eucharist. The Eucharist is an effective medicine for these closures. The Bread of Life, indeed, heals rigidity and transforms it into docility. The Eucharist heals because it joins with Jesus: it makes us assimilate his way of living, his ability to break himself apart and give himself to brothers and sisters, to respond to evil with good. He gives us the courage to go outside of ourselves and bend down with love toward the fragility of others. As God does with us. This is the logic of the Eucharist: we receive Jesus who loves us and heals our fragilities in order to love others and help them in their fragilities; and this lasts our entire life. As Jesus was born, he became our travelling companion in life. Then, at the supper he gave himself as food. Then, on the cross, in his death, he became the price: he paid for us. And now, as he reigns in Heaven he is our reward; we go to seek the One who awaits us.

May the Blessed Virgin, in whom God became flesh, help us to embrace with a grateful heart the gift of the Eucharist and to make a gift of our life too. May the Eucharist make us a gift for all others.





Pope Francis Message for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, World Environment Day - 04.06.21


Pope Francis message for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration delivered by Cardinal Pietro Parolin 04.06.2021
delivered by Cardinal Pietro Parolin


Excerpt below for the full message click here

Tomorrow we will celebrate World Environment Day. This annual commemoration encourages us to remember that everything is interconnected. A true concern for the environment needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.

Tomorrow’s celebration, however, will have a special significance, as it will take place in the year in which the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins. This decade invites us to make ten-year commitments aimed at caring for our common home by supporting and scaling up efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide and raise awareness of the importance of successful ecosystem restoration.

We are all part of this gift of creation. We are a part of nature, not separated from it. This is what the Bible tells us.

The current environmental situation calls us to act now with urgency to become ever more responsible stewards of creation and to restore the nature that we have been damaging and exploiting for too long. Otherwise, we risk destroying the very basis on which we depend. We risk floods, and hunger and severe consequences for ourselves and for future generations. This is what many scientists tell us.

We need to take care of each other, and of the weakest among us. Continuing down this path of exploitation and destruction – of humans, and of nature – is unjust and unwise. This is what a responsible conscience would tell us.

We have a responsibility to leave a habitable common home for our children and for future generations.




Pope Francis General Audience 02.06.21 

Jesus, model and soul of all prayer


Pope Francis Jesus model and soul of prayer General Audience 02.06.21Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The Gospels show us how prayer was fundamental in the relationship between Jesus and His disciples. This already appears in the choice of who would then become the Apostles. Luke places their election in a precise context of prayer, and he says: “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray; and all night He continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom He named apostles” (6:12-13). Jesus chooses the apostles after a night of prayer. It seems that there is no criterion in this choice other than prayer, the dialogue of Jesus with the Father. Judging from how those men were to behave, it would seem that the choice was not the best, as they all fled, they left Him alone before the Passion; but it is precisely this, especially the presence of Judas, the future betrayer, that demonstrates that those names were inscribed in God’s plan.

Prayer on behalf of His friends continually reappears in the life of Jesus. The Apostles sometimes become a cause of concern for Him, but Jesus, as He received them from the Father, after prayer, thus He carries them in His heart, even in their errors, even when they fall. In all this we discover how Jesus was both teacher and friend, always willing to wait patiently for the conversion of the disciple. The highest point of this patient waiting is the “web” of love that Jesus weaves around Peter. At the Last Supper he says to him: “Simon, Simon, behold” - the word we heard at the beginning of the audience - “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren”. (Lk 22:31-32). It is impressive to know that at that moment, during the time of weakness, Jesus’ love does not cease. “But father, if I am in mortal sin, does Jesus love me?” - “Yes” - “And does Jesus continue to pray for me?” - “Yes” - “But if I have done the worst things, and more, committed so many sins … does Jesus continue to pray?” - “Yes”. Jesus’ love, Jesus’ prayer for each one of us does not cease, it does not cease, but rather becomes more intense, and we are at the centre of his prayer! We must always keep this in mind: Jesus prays for me, He is praying now before the Father and makes Him see the wounds He carried with Him, to show the Father the price of our salvation, it is the love that He holds for us. But in this moment, each one of us, let us think: in this moment, is Jesus praying for me? Yes. This is a great certainty that we must have.

The great turning points of Jesus' mission are always preceded by prayer, but not just in passing, by intense, prolonged prayer. 

It is necessary to pray more intensely, every time the road takes an uphill turn.

And indeed, after announcing to the disciples what awaits Him in Jerusalem, the episode of the Transfiguration takes place. And as He was praying, the appearance of His countenance was altered, and His raiment became dazzling white. This anticipated manifestation of the glory of Jesus took place in prayer, while the Son was immersed in communion with the Father and fully consented to His will of love, to His plan of salvation. And out of that prayer came a clear word for the three disciples involved: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to Him” (Lk 9:35). From prayer comes the invitation to listen to Jesus, always from prayer.

Let us learn that Jesus not only wants us to pray as He prays, but assures us that, even if our attempts at prayer are completely vain and ineffective, we can always count on His prayer. We must be aware of this: Jesus prays for me. Once, a good bishop told me that in a very bad moment in his life, a very, very, very great trial, in which all was in darkness, he looked up in the Basilica and saw this phrase written: “I, Peter, will pray for you”. And this gave him strength and consolation. And this happens every time that any each of us knows that Jesus is praying for him or for her. Jesus prays for us. When there is a difficulty, when you feel the orbital pull of distractions: Jesus is praying for me. But father, is this true? It is true! He said it Himself. Let us not forget that what sustains each of us in life is Jesus’ prayer for every one of us, with our name and surname, before the Father, showing Him the wounds that are the price of our salvation.

Even if our prayers were only stuttering, if they were compromised by a wavering faith, we must never cease to trust in Him: I do not know how to pray but He prays for me. Supported by Jesus’ prayer, our timid prayers rest on eagle wings and soar up to Heaven. Do not forget: Jesus is praying for me. Now? Now. In the moment of trial, in the moment of sin, even in that sin, Jesus is praying for me with so much love. Thank you.




Pope Francis presides over the recitation of the Holy Rosary 31.05.21


Pope Francis Holy Rosary Vatican Gardens 31.05.21






Pope Francis Angelus 30.05.21

Trinity Sunday

Pope Francis Trinity Sunday Angelus 30.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

On this feast in which we celebrate God: the mystery of the one God. And this God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Three persons, but God is one! The Father is God; the Son is God; the Spirit is God. But they are not three gods: it is one God in three Persons. It is a mystery that Jesus Christ revealed to us: the Holy Trinity. Today we stop to celebrate this mystery, because the Persons are not adjectives of God, no. They are real, diverse, different Persons; they are not – as that philosopher used to say – ‘emanations of God’, no, no! They are Persons. There is the Father to whom I pray with the Our Father; there is the Son, who gave me redemption, justification; there is the Holy Spirit who abides in us and inhabits the Church. And this speaks to our heart because we find it encompassed in that expression of Saint John which summarizes all of Revelation: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16). The Father is love; the Son is love; the Holy Spirit is love. And inasmuch as he is love, God, while being one alone, is not solitude but communion, among the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Because love is essentially a gift of self, and in its original and infinite reality it is the Father who gives himself by generating his Son, who in turn gives himself to the Father, and their mutual love is the Holy Spirit, the bond of their unity. It is not easy to understand, but we can live this mystery, all of us, we can live a great deal.

This mystery of the Trinity was revealed to us by Jesus himself. He showed us the face of God as merciful Father; he presented Himself, true man, as the Son of God and Word of the Father, the Saviour who gives his life for us; and he spoke of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Spirit of Truth, Paraclete Spirit – we spoke last Sunday about this word, ‘Paraclete’ – meaning Consoler and Advocate. And when Jesus appeared to the Apostles after the Resurrection, Jesus invited them to evangelize “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Today’s celebration, therefore, makes us contemplate this marvellous mystery of love and of light from which we come and toward which our earthly journey is guided.

In the message of the Gospel and in every form of the Christian mission, one cannot overlook this unity to which Jesus calls, among us, following the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: one cannot overlook this unity. The beauty of the Gospel asks to be lived – unity – and proven in the harmony among us, who are so diverse! And this unity I dare say is essential to Christians: it is not an attitude, a manner of speaking, no; it is essential, because it is the unity that is born from love, from the mercy of God, from the justification of Jesus Christ and from the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Mary Most Holy, in her simplicity and humility, reflects the Beauty of the Triune God, because she fully welcomed Jesus into her life. May she sustain our faith; may she make us worshipers of God and servants of our brothers and sisters.






Pope Francis General Audience 26.05.21

The certainty of being heard

Pope Francis - Unheard Prayers - General Audience 26.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

There is a radical objection to prayer, which derives from an observation that we all make: we pray, we ask, and yet sometimes our prayers seem to go unheard: what we have asked for - for ourselves or for others - is not fulfilled. We have this experience, very often… If the reason for which we prayed was noble, such as intercession for the health of a sick person, or for the end of a war, for instance, the non-fulfilment seems scandalous. For example, for wars: we are praying for wars to end, these wars in so many parts of the world. Think of Yemen, think of Syria, countries that have been at war for years, for years, ravaged by wars, and we pray, but they do not come to an end. But how can this be? “Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard”. But if God is Father, why does He not listen to us? He who has assured us that He gives good things to the children who ask Him for them (cf. Mt 7: 10), why does He not respond to our requests? We all have experience of this: we have prayed, prayed, for the illness of a friend, of a father, of a mother, and then they are gone. But God did not grant our request! It is an experience we have all had.

The Catechism offers us a good summary of the matter. It puts us on guard against the risk of not living an authentic experience of faith, but of transforming the relationship with God into something magical. Prayer is not a magic wand: it is a dialogue with the Lord. Indeed, when we pray we can give in to the risk of not being the ones to serve God, but of expecting Him to serve us. This is, then, a prayer that is always demanding, that wants to direct events according to our own design, that admits no plans other than our own desires. Jesus, on the other hand, had great wisdom in teaching us the Lord’s Prayer. It is a prayer of questions only, as we know, but the first ones we utter are all on God's side. They ask for the fulfilment not of our plan, but of His will for the world. Better to leave it to Him: "Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done" (Mt 6:9-10).

And the Apostle Paul reminds us that we do not even know what it is appropriate to ask for. When we pray, we need to be humble: this is the first attitude for going to pray. God will give me what it is right to give. He knows. When we pray we must be humble, so that our words are actually prayers and not just idle talk that God rejects. We can also pray for the wrong reasons: such as, to defeat the enemy in war, without asking ourselves what God thinks of such a war. In prayer, it is God Who must convert us, not we who must convert God. It is humility. I go to pray but You, Lord, convert my heart so that to ask for what is right, for what will be best for my spiritual health.

However, the scandal remains: when people pray with a sincere heart, when they ask for things that correspond to the Kingdom of God, when a mother prays for her sick child, why does it sometimes seem that God does not listen to them? To answer this question, we need to meditate calmly on the Gospels. The accounts of Jesus’ life are full of prayers: many people wounded in body and in spirit ask Him to be healed; there are those who pray for a friend who can no longer walk; there are fathers and mothers who bring sick sons and daughters… They are all prayers imbued with suffering. It is an immense choir that invokes: “Have mercy on us!”

We see that at times Jesus’ response is immediate, whereas in some other cases it is delayed: it seems that God does not answer. Think of the Canaanite woman who begs Jesus for her daughter: this woman has to insist for a long time to be heard. Courage in prayer. Or think of the paralytic brought by his four friends: Jesus initially forgives his sins and only later heals his body. On some occasions, therefore, the solution to the problem is not immediate. In our life too, each one of us has this experience. Let us look back a little: how many times have we asked for a grace, a miracle, let’s say, and nothing has happened. Then, over time, things have worked out but in God’s way, the divine way, not according to what we wanted in that moment. God’s time is not our time.

The healing of Jairus’ daughter is worthy of particular attention (cf. Mk 5: 21-33). There is a father who is in a hurry: his daughter is ill and for this reason he asks for Jesus' help. The Master immediately accepts, but on their way home another healing occurs, and then the news comes that the girl has died. It seems to be the end, but instead Jesus says to the father: “Do not fear, only believe” (Mk 5:36). “Continue to have faith”: because it is faith that sustains prayer. And indeed, Jesus will awaken that child from the sleep of death. But for a time, Jairus had to walk in the dark, with only the flame of faith. Ask for this grace, to have faith. Jesus, in the Gospel, says that faith moves mountains. But, having real faith. Jesus, before the faith of His poor, of His people, is won over; He feels special tenderness, before that faith. And He listens.

The prayer that Jesus addresses to the Father in Gethsemane also seems to go unheard. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”. It seems that the Father does not listen to Him. The Son must drink fully from the chalice of the passion. But Holy Saturday is not the final chapter, because on the third day, Sunday, is the Resurrection. Evil is lord of the penultimate day: remember this well. Evil is never the lord of the last day, no: the penultimate, the moment when the night is darkest, just before the dawn. Then, on the penultimate day, there is temptation, when the devil makes us think he has won: “Have you seen? I have won!”. The evil one is the lord of the penultimate day: on the last is the Resurrection. But the evil one is never lord of the last day: God is the Lord of the last day. Because that belongs to God alone, and it is the day when all human longings for salvation will be fulfilled. Let us learn this humble patience, to await the Lord’s grace, to await the final day. Very often, the penultimate is very hard, because human sufferings are hard. But the Lord is there. And on the last day, He solves everything. Thank you.







Pope Francis Video Message 25.05.21

To mark the Launch of the Laudato Si' Action Platform


Pope Francis Laudato Si' Action Platform Video Message 25.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

With the Encyclical Laudato Si’, promulgated in 2015, I invited all people of good will to take care of the Earth, which is our common home. For a long time now, this house that hosts us suffers as a result of wounds that we cause by our predatory attitude, which makes us feel that we are masters of the planet and its resources, and authorises us to make irresponsible use of the goods God has given us. Nowadays, these wounds manifest themselves dramatically in an ecological crisis without precedent, which affects the ground, the air, water and, in general, the ecosystem in which human beings live. The current pandemic has now brought to light in an even stronger way the cry of nature and that of the poor who suffer most the consequences, highlighting that everything is interconnected and interdependent and that our health is not separated from the health of the environment in which we live.

Therefore, we need a new ecological approach, that can transform our way of dwelling in the world, our styles of life, our relationship with the resources of the Earth and, in general, our way of looking at humanity and of living life. An integral human ecology, that involves not only environmental questions but also mankind in his entirety, that becomes capable of listening to the cry of the poor and of being leaven for a new society.

We have a great responsibility, especially with regard to the future generations. What world do we want to leave to our children and our young? Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible ways are threatening the future of our children! I therefore renew my appeal: let us take care of our mother Earth, let us overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources, let us cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation, let us inaugurate a lifestyle and a society that is finally eco-sustainable: we have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all. From God's hands we have received a garden, we cannot leave a desert to our children.

Today I am pleased to announce that the Laudato Si' Year will result in a concrete action project, the Laudato Si' Action Platform, a seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways to becoming totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology.

I would therefore invite everyone to embark on this journey together, and in particular I address these seven environments: families - parishes and dioceses - schools and universities - hospitals - businesses and farms - organisations, groups and movements - religious institutes. Work together. Only in this way will we be able to create the future we want: a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world.

On a journey that will last for seven years, we will let ourselves be guided by the seven aims of Laudato Si’, which will show us the direction while we pursue the vision of integral ecology: the response to the cry of the Earth, the response to the cry of the poor, the ecological economy, the adoption of a simple way of life, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community engagement.

There is hope. We can all collaborate, each one with his own culture and experience, each one with her own initiatives and capacities, so that our mother Earth may be restored to her original beauty and creation may once again shine according to God’s plan.

God bless each one of you, and bless our mission to rebuild out common home. Thank you.




Laudato Si' Action Platform

A journey of integral ecology at every level of society


Laudato Si' Action Platform Video Message 25.05.21




The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development launches the Laudato Si' Action Platform, a seven-year journey of Ecological conversion in Action. The aim is to create a grassroots popular movement for the care of our common home. 25.05.21






Pope Francis Regina Caeli 23.05.21

Solemnity of Pentecost

Pope Francis Pentecost Regina Caeli 23.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The book of the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:1-11) recounts what happens in Jerusalem 50 days after the Passover of Jesus. The disciples were gathered in the Upper Room, and the Virgin Mary was with them. The Risen Lord had told them to remain in the city until they received the gift of the Spirit from on High. And this was revealed with a “sound” they suddenly heard come from heaven, like the “rush of a mighty wind” that filled the house they were in (cf. v. 2). Thus, it concerns a real but also symbolic experience. Something that happened but also gives us a symbolic message for our whole life.

This experience reveals that the Holy Spirit is like a strong and freely flowing wind; that is, he brings us strength and brings us freedom: a strong and freely flowing wind. He cannot be controlled, stopped, nor measured; nor can his direction be foreseen. He cannot be understood within our human exigencies – we always try to frame things – he does not let himself be framed in our methods and our preconceptions. The Spirit proceeds from God the Father and from his Son Jesus Christ and bursts upon the Church; he bursts upon each one of us, giving life to our minds and our hearts. As the Creed states: he is “the Lord, the giver of life”. He has power because he is God, and he gives life.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples were still disoriented and fearful. The did not yet have the courage to go out in the open. We too, at times, prefer to remain within the protective walls of our surroundings. But the Lord knows how to reach us and open the doors to our hearts. He sends upon us the Holy Spirit who envelops us and overpowers all our hesitations, tears down our defences, dismantles our false certainties. The Spirit makes us new beings, just as he did that day with the Apostles: he renews us, new beings.

After having received the Holy Spirit they were no longer as they were before – he changed them, but they went out and began to preach Jesus, to preach that Jesus is risen, that the Lord is with us, in such a way that each one understood them in his or her own language. Because the Spirit is universal; he does not remove cultural differences, differences of thought, no. He is for everyone, but each one understands him in his or her own culture, in his or her own language. The Spirit changes the heart, broadens the view of the disciples. He enables them to communicate to everyone the great, limitless works of God, surpassing the cultural confines and religious confines within which they were accustomed to thinking and living. The Apostles, he enables them to reach others, respecting their possibilities of listening and understanding, in the culture and language of each one (vv. 5-11). In other words, the Holy Spirit puts different people in communication, achieving the unity and universality of the Church.

And today this truth tells us so much, this reality of the Holy Spirit, where in the Church there are small groups who always seek division, to separate themselves from others. This is not the Spirit of God. The spirit of God is harmony, is unity, unites differences. A good Cardinal, who was the Archbishop of Genoa, said that the Church is like a river: the important thing is to be inside; if you are a little on that side and a little on the other side is not important; the Holy Spirit creates unity. He used the figure of a river. The important thing is to be inside, in the unity of the Spirit, and not look at the pettiness that you are a little on this side and a little on that side, that you pray in this way or the other…. This is not of God. The Church is for everyone, for everyone, as the Holy Spirit showed on the day of Pentecost.

Today let us ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede so that the Holy Spirit descends in abundance, fills the hearts of the faithful and kindles the fire of his love in everyone.






Pope Francis Holy Mass 23.05.21

Solemnity of Pentecost

Pope Francis  Holy Mass at Pentecost 23.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

“When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father…” (Jn 15:26). With these words, Jesus promises to send his disciples the Holy Spirit, the ultimate gift, the gift of gifts. He uses an unusual and mysterious word to describe the Spirit: Paraclete. Today let us reflect on this word, which is not easy to translate, for it has a number of meanings. Essentially, it means two things: Comforter and Advocate.

The Paraclete is the Comforter. All of us, particularly at times of difficulty like those we are presently experiencing due to the pandemic, look for consolation. Often, though, we turn only to earthly comforts, ephemeral comforts that quickly fade. Today, Jesus offers us heavenly comfort, the Holy Spirit, who is “of comforters the best”. What is the difference? The comforts of the world are like a pain reliever: they can give momentary relief, but not cure the illness we carry deep within. They can soothe us, but not heal us at the core. They work on the surface, on the level of the senses, but hardly touch our hearts. Only someone who makes us feel loved for who we are can give peace to our hearts. The Holy Spirit, the love of God, does precisely that. He comes down within us; as the Spirit, he acts in our spirit. He comes down “within the heart”, as “the soul’s most welcome guest”. He is the very love of God, who does not abandon us; for being present to those who are alone is itself a source of comfort.

Dear sister, dear brother, if you feel the darkness of solitude, if you feel that an obstacle within you blocks the way to hope, if your heart has a festering wound, if you can see no way out, then open your heart to the Holy Spirit. Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “where the trials are greater, he brings greater comfort, not like the world, which comforts and flatters us when things go well, but derides and condemns us when they do not”. That is what the world does, that is especially what the hostile spirit, the devil, does. First, he flatters us and makes us feel invincible (for the blandishments of the devil feed our vanity); then he flings us down and makes us feel that we are failures. He toys with us. He does everything to cast us down, whereas the Spirit of the risen Lord wants to raise us up. Look at the apostles: they were alone that morning, alone and bewildered, cowering behind closed doors, living in fear and overwhelmed by their weaknesses, failings and their sins, for they had denied Christ. The years they had spent with Jesus had not changed them: they were no different than they had been. Then, they received the Spirit and everything changed: the problems and failings remained, yet they were no longer afraid of them, nor of any who would be hostile to them. They sensed comfort within and they wanted to overflow with the comfort of God. Before, they were fearful; now their only fear was that of not testifying to the love they had received. Jesus had foretold this: “The Spirit will testify on my behalf; you also are to testify”.

Let us go another step. We too are called to testify in the Holy Spirit, to become paracletes, comforters. The Spirit is asking us to embody the comfort he brings. How can we do this? Not by making great speeches, but by drawing near to others. Not with trite words, but with prayer and closeness. Let us remember that closeness, compassion and tenderness are God’s “trademark”, always. The Paraclete is telling the Church that today is the time for comforting. It is more the time for joyfully proclaiming the Gospel than for combatting paganism. It is the time for bringing the joy of the Risen Lord, not for lamenting the drama of secularization. It is the time for pouring out love upon the world, yet not embracing worldliness. It is more the time for testifying to mercy, than for inculcating rules and regulations. It is the time of the Paraclete! It is the time of freedom of heart, in the Paraclete.

The Paraclete is also the Advocate. In Jesus’ day, advocates did not do what they do today: rather than speaking in the place of defendants, they simply stood next to them and suggested arguments they could use in their own defence. That is what the Paraclete does, for he is “the spirit of truth” (v. 26). He does not take our place, but defends us from the deceits of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings. He does so discreetly, without forcing us: he proposes but does not impose. The spirit of deceit, the evil one, does the opposite: he tries to force us; he wants to make us think that we must always yield to the allure and the promptings of vice. Let us try to accept three suggestions that are typical of the Paraclete, our Advocate. They are three fundamental antidotes to three temptations that today are so widespread.

The first advice offered by the Holy Spirit is, “Live in the present”. The present, not the past or the future. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancour or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future. The Spirit reminds us of the grace of the present moment. There is no better time for us: now, here and now, is the one and only time to do good, to make our life a gift. Let us live in the present!

The Spirit also tells us, “Look to the whole”. The whole, not the part. The Spirit does not mould isolated individuals, but shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. There, in the whole, in the community, the Spirit prefers to work and to bring newness. Let us look at the apostles. They were all quite different. They included, for example, Matthew, a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans, and Simon called the zealot, who fought them. They had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world. Yet once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the “whole” that is God’s plan. The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another. Let us look to the whole! The enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies. Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole.

The third advice of the Spirit is, “Put God before yourself”. This is the decisive step in the spiritual life, which is not the sum of our own merits and achievements, but a humble openness to God. The Spirit affirms the primacy of grace. Only by emptying ourselves, do we leave room for the Lord; only by giving ourselves to him, do we find ourselves; only by becoming poor in spirit, do we become rich in the Holy Spirit. This is also true of the Church. We save no one, not even ourselves, by our own efforts. If we give priority to our own projects, our structures, our plans for reform, we will be concerned only about effectiveness, efficiency, we will think only in horizontal terms and, as a result, we will bear no fruit. An “-ism” is an ideology that divides and separates. The Church is human, but it is not merely a human organization, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought the fire of the Spirit to the earth and the Church is reformed by the anointing of grace, the gratuity of the anointing of grace, the power of prayer, the joy of mission and the disarming beauty of poverty. Let us put God in first place!

Holy Spirit, Paraclete Spirit, comfort our hearts. Make us missionaries of your comfort, paracletes of your mercy before the world. Our Advocate, sweet counsellor of the soul, make us witnesses of the “today” of God, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity, and apostles grounded in your grace, which creates and renews all things. Amen.






Pope Francis General Audience 19.05.21

Prayer - Distractions, time of barrenness, sloth

Prayer
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In this catechesis we refer to the lived experience of prayer, trying to show some very common difficulties, which must be identified and overcome. Praying is not easy: many difficulties present themselves in prayer. It is necessary to know them, recognise them and overcome them.

The first problem that emerges to those who pray is distraction. You start to pray and then your mind wanders, it wanders all over the place; your heart is here, your mind is there… distraction from prayer. Prayer often co-exists with distraction. Indeed, the human mind finds it hard to dwell for long on a single thought. We all experience this constant whirlwind of images and illusions in perpetual motion, which accompanies us even during sleep. And we all know that it is not good to follow this inclination to disorder.

The battle to achieve and maintain concentration does not relate only to prayer. If one does not attain a sufficient level of concentration one cannot study profitably, nor can one work well. 

Distractions are not guilty, but they must be fought. In the heritage of our faith there is a virtue that is often forgotten, but which is so present in the Gospel. It is called “vigilance”. In a moment that we do not know, the voice of our Lord will resound: on that day, blessed will be those servants whom He will find industrious, still focused on what really matters. The imagination wanders, it wanders and wanders.  We must stop it and cage it, with attention.

The time of barrenness warrants a different discourse.  Barrenness makes us think of Good Friday, at night, and Holy Saturday, all the day: Jesus is not there, He is in the tomb; Jesus is dead, we are alone.  Very often we are “down”, or rather, we don’t have feelings, we don’t have consolation, we are unable. They are those grey days … and there are so many of them in life! But the danger is having a grey heart: when this “feeling down” reaches the heart and it sickens. This is terrible: one cannot pray, one cannot feel consolation with a grey heart! Or, one cannot emerge from spiritual barrenness with a grey heart. The heart must be open and luminous, so that the light of the Lord can enter. And if it does not enter, wait for it, with hope. But do not close it up in greyness.

Then, a different thing is sloth, another flaw, another vice, which is a real temptation against prayer and, more generally, against the Christian life. Sloth is “a form of depression due to lax ascetically practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart”. It is one of the seven “deadly sins” because, fuelled by conceit, it can lead to the death of the soul.

So what can we do in this succession of enthusiasms and discouragements? One must learn to go forward always. True progress in the spiritual life does not consist in multiplying ecstasies, but in being able to persevere in difficult times. Let us remember Saint Francis’ parable on perfect joy: it is not in the infinite fortunes rained down from Heaven that the ability of a friar is measured, but in walking steadily, even when one is not recognised, even when one is mistreated, even when everything has lost its initial flavour. All the saints have passed through this “dark valley”, and let us not be scandalised if, reading their diaries, we find accounts of evenings of listless prayer, lived without enthusiasm. We must learn to say: “Even though You, my God, seem to be doing everything to make me stop believing in You, I still continue to pray to You”. Believers never stop praying! It may sometimes resemble the prayer of Job, who does not accept that God treats him unjustly, protests and calls him to judgment. But, very often, even protesting before God is a way of praying.

And we too, who are far less holy and patient than Job, know that in the end, at the end of this time of desolation, during which we have raised to Heaven silent cries and asked “why?” many times, God will answer us. Do not forget the prayer that asks “why?”. It is the prayer of children when they begin not to understand things. When we get a bit angry with God and start asking why, we are attracting the heart of our Father towards our misery, towards our difficulties, towards our life. But yes, have the courage to say to God: “But why?”. Because at times, getting a bit angry is good for you, because it reawakens that son-father, daughter-father relationship we must have with God. And He will accept even our harshest and bitterest expressions with a father’s love, and will consider them as an act of faith, as a prayer. Thank you.






Pope Francis Regina Caeli 16.05.21

Ascension of the Lord

Pope Francis - the Ascension of the Lord - 16.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today, in Italy and in other countries, we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The Gospel passage (Mk 16:15-20) – the conclusion of the Gospel of Mark – presents us the Risen One’s final encounter with the disciples before he ascends to the right hand of the Father. Usually, as we know, farewell scenes are sad. They cause a feeling of loss, of abandonment in those who remain; instead, none of this happens to the disciples. Despite their separation from the Lord, they do not appear grief-stricken, but rather, they are joyful and ready to go out into the world as missionaries.

Why are the disciples not sad? Why should we too rejoice at seeing Jesus ascending into heaven? Because the Ascension completes Jesus’ mission among us. Indeed, if it is for us that Jesus descended from heaven, it is also for us that he ascends there. After having descended into our humanity and redeeming it he now ascends into heaven, taking our flesh with him. He is the first man who enters heaven, because Jesus is man, true man; he is God, true God; our flesh is in heaven and this gives us joy. Now at the right hand of the Father sits a human body, for the first time, the body of Jesus, and in this mystery each of us contemplates our own future destination. This is not at all an abandonment; Jesus remains forever with the disciples – with us. He remains in prayer, because he, as man, prays to the Father, and as God, man and God, shows Him his wounds, the wounds by which he has redeemed us. Jesus’ prayer is there, with our flesh: he is one of us, God man, and he prays for us.

And this has to give us confidence, or rather joy, great joy! And the second reason for joy is Jesus’ promise. He told us: “I will send you the Holy Spirit”. And there, with the Holy Spirit, that commandment is made which he gives in his farewell: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”. And it will be the power of the Holy Spirit that leads us there into the world, to bring the Gospel. It is the Holy Spirit of that day, that Jesus promised, and then nine days later he will come in the Feast of Pentecost. It is precisely the Holy Spirit who made it possible for us to be this way today. 

Brothers and sisters, on this Feast of the Ascension, while we contemplate Heaven, where Christ has ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father, let us ask Mary, Queen of Heaven, to help us be courageous witnesses to the Risen One in the world, in the concrete situations of life.







Pope Francis Holy Mass 16.05.21

for the Myanmar community in Rome


Holy Mass for the Myanmar resident in Rome 16.05.21Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In the last hours of his life, Jesus prays. In those sorrowful moments, as he prepares to take leave of his disciples and this world, Jesus prays for his friends. Even though he bears in his heart and in his flesh all the sin of the world, Jesus continues to love us and pray for us. From his prayer, we learn how to deal with dramatic and painful moments in our own lives. Let us think about one particular word that Jesus uses in his prayer to Father: it is the word “keep”. Dear brothers and sisters, in these days when your beloved country of Myanmar is experiencing violence, conflict and repression, let us ask ourselves: what we are being called to keep?

In the first place, to keep the faith. We need to keep the faith lest we yield to grief or plunge into the despair of those who no longer see a way out. In the Gospel, John tells us that Jesus, before uttering a word, “looked up to heaven” (Jn 17:1). In these, the final hours of his life, Jesus is weighed down by anguish at the prospect of his passion, conscious of the dark night he is about to endure, feeling betrayed and abandoned. Yet in same moment, he looks up to heaven. Jesus lifts his eyes to God. He does not resign himself to evil; he does not let himself be overwhelmed by grief; he does not retreat into the bitterness of the defeated and disappointed; instead, he looks to heaven. This was the same advice he had given his disciples. To keep the faith is to keep our gaze lifted up to heaven, as here on earth, battles are fought and innocent blood is shed. To keep the faith is to refuse to yield to the logic of hatred and vengeance, but to keep our gaze fixed on the God of love, who calls us to be brothers and sisters to one another.

Prayer leads us to trust in God even in times of difficulty. It helps us to hope when things seem hopeless and it sustains us in our everyday struggles. Prayer is not a retreat, an escape, in the face of problems. Instead, it is the only weapon at our disposal for keeping love and hope alive amid the weapons of death. It is not easy to lift our gaze when we are hurting, but faith helps us resist the temptation to turn in on ourselves. We may want to protest, to cry out to God in our pain. We should not be afraid to do so, for this too is prayer.  At times it is a prayer that God hears more than others, since it comes from a wounded heart and the Lord always hears the cry of his people and dries their tears.

Second, to keep unity. Jesus asks the Father to preserve the unity of his disciples, so that they may be “completely one” (Jn 17:21), one family in which love and fraternity reign. He knew what was in the heart of his disciples; he had seen them argue at times about who was the greatest, who should be in charge. This is a deadly disease: the disease of division. We experience it in our hearts, because we are divided within; we experience it in families and communities, among peoples, even in the Church. Sins against unity abound: envy, jealousy, the pursuit of personal interests rather than the common good, the tendency to judge others. Those little conflicts of ours find a reflection in great conflicts, like the one your country is experiencing in these days. Once partisan interests and the thirst for profit and power take over, conflicts and divisions inevitably break out. The final appeal that Jesus makes before his Passover is an appeal for unity. For division is of the devil, the great divider and the great liar who always creates division.

We are called to keep unity, to take seriously this heartfelt plea of Jesus to the Father: to be completely one, to be a family, to find the courage live in friendship, love and fraternity. What great need we have, especially today, for fraternity! I know that some political and social situations are bigger than we are. Yet commitment to peace and fraternity always comes from below: each person, in little things, can play his or her part. Each of you can make an effort to be, in little things, a builder of fraternity, a sower of fraternity, someone who works to rebuild what is broken rather than fomenting violence. We are also called to do this as a Church; let us promote dialogue, respect for others, care for our brothers and sisters, communion! 

Finally, and third, we are called to keep the truth. Jesus asks the Father to consecrate his disciples in truth as they will be sent throughout the world to carry on his mission. Keeping the truth does not mean defending ideas, becoming guardians of a system of doctrines and dogmas, but remaining bound to Christ and being devoted to his Gospel. Jesus prays that his disciples, although living in the world, will not follow the criteria of this world. They are not to let themselves be enticed by idols, but to keep their friendship with him; they are not to bend the Gospel to human and worldly ways of thinking, but to preserve his message in its integrity.  At times, we Christians want to compromise, but the Gospel asks us to be steadfast in the truth and for the truth, offering our lives for others. Amid war, violence and hatred, fidelity to the Gospel and being peacemakers calls for commitment, also through social and political choices, even at the risk of our lives. Only in this way can things change. 

Dear brothers and sisters, today I wish to lay upon the Lord’s altar the sufferings of his people and to join you in praying that God will convert all hearts to peace. Jesus’ prayer helps us keep the faith, even in times of difficulty, to be builders of unity and to risk our lives for the truth of the Gospel. Please, do not lose hope: even today, Jesus is interceding before the Father, he stands before the Father in his prayer. He shows the Father, in his prayer, the wounds with which he paid for our salvation. In this prayer Jesus intercedes for all of us, praying that the Father will keep us from the evil one and set us free from evil’s power.







Pope Francis General Audience 12.05.21

The Struggle of Prayer

Pope Francis - The struggle of prayer - 12.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Christian prayer, like all Christian life, is not a “walk in the park”. None of the great people of prayer we meet in the Bible and in the history of the Church found prayer “comfortable”. Yes, one can pray like a parrot – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – but that is not prayer. Prayer certainly gives great peace, but through inner struggle, at times hard, which can accompany even long periods of life. Praying is not something easy, and this is why we flee from it. Every time we want to pray, we are immediately reminded of many other activities, which at that moment seem more important and more urgent. This happens to me too! It happens to me. I go to pray a little… and no, I must do this and that… We flee from prayer, I don’t know why, but that is how it is. Almost always, after putting off prayer, we realise that those things were not essential at all, and that we may have wasted time. This is how the Enemy deceives us.

All Godly men and women report not only the joy of prayer, but also the tediousness and fatigue it can bring: at times it is a difficult struggle to keep to the time and ways of praying. Some saints continued it for years without finding any satisfaction in it, without perceiving its usefulness. Silence, prayer and concentration are difficult exercises, and sometimes human nature rebels. We would rather be anywhere else in the world, but not there, in that church pew, praying. Those who want to pray must remember that faith is not easy, and sometimes it moves forward in almost total darkness, without points of reference. There are moments in the life of faith that are dark, and therefore some saints call this “the dark night”, because we hear nothing. But I continue to pray.

The Catechism lists a long series of enemies of prayer, those that make it difficult to pray, that put us in difficulty. Some doubt that prayer can truly reach the Almighty: why does God remain silent? If God is Almighty, He could say a couple of words and end the matter. Faced with the elusiveness of the divine, others suspect that prayer is a merely psychological operation; something that may be useful, but is neither true nor necessary: and one could even be a practitioner without being a believer. And so it goes on, many explanations.

However, the worst enemies of prayer are found within us. The Catechism describes them thus: “Discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have ‘great possessions’, we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift” (2728). This is clearly a summary that could be extended.

What should be done in time of temptation, when everything seems to waver? If we look at the history of spirituality, it is immediately seen that the masters of the soul were very clear about the situation we have described. To overcome it, each of them offered some type of contribution: a word of wisdom, or a suggestion for dealing moments fraught with difficulty. It is not a question of elaborate theories, of preconceived theories, no, but of advice born of experience, which shows the importance of resisting and persevering in prayer.

For example, the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is a short book of great wisdom that teaches how to put one’s life in order. It makes us understand that the Christian vocation is militancy, it is the decision to stand beneath the standard of Jesus Christ and not under that of the devil, trying to do good even when it becomes difficult.

In times of trial, it is good to remember that we are not alone, that someone is watching over us and protecting us. Saint Anthony the Abbot, the founder of Christian monasticism, also faced terrible times in Egypt, when prayer became a difficult struggle.  And very often, prayer is combat. There was a married couple with a daughter aged nine, the doctor said to the  father, “The child will not survive the night. There is nothing we can do to stop this infection”. Perhaps that man did not attend Mass every Sunday, but he had great faith. He left, weeping; he left his wife there with the child in the hospital, he took the train and he travelled seventy kilometres towards the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján, Patroness of Argentina. And there – the Basilica was already closed, it was almost ten o’clock at night, in the evening – he clung to the grates of the Basilica and spent all night praying to Our Lady, fighting for his daughter’s health. This is not a figment of the imagination: I saw him! I saw him myself. That man there, fighting. At the end, at six o’clock in the morning, the Church opened, he entered to salute Our Lady, and returned home.  Then he went to see [his wife], and she was smiling, saying: “I don’t know what happened. The doctors said that something changed, and now she is cured”. That man, fighting with prayer, received the grace of Our Lady. Our Lady listened to him. And I saw this: prayer works miracles, because prayer goes directly to the heart of the tenderness of God, who cares for us like a father. And when He does not grant us a grace, He will grant us another which in time we will see. But always, combat in prayer to ask for grace. Prayer is combat, and the Lord is always with us.

If in a moment of blindness we cannot see His presence, we will in the future. We will also end up repeating the same sentence that the patriarch Jacob said one day: “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it” (Gen 28:16). At the end of our lives, looking back, we too will be able to say: “I thought I was alone, but no, I was not: Jesus was with me”. We will all be able to say this. Thank you.





Pope Francis Regina Caeli 09.05.21
 
Love

  Pope Francis - Homily about Love - 09.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In this Sunday’s Gospel passage (Jn 15:9-17) after having compared Himself to the vine and us to the branches, Jesus, explains what fruit is borne by those who remain united to Him: this fruit is love. He again repeats the key-verb: abide. He invites us to abide in his love so that his joy may be in us and our joy may be full (vv. 9-11). To abide in Jesus’ love.

Let us ask ourselves: what this love is in which Jesus tells us to abide to have his joy? What is this love? It is the love that originates in the Father, because “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). This love of God, of the Father, flows like a river in his Son Jesus and through Him comes to us, his creatures. Indeed, he says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (Jn 15:9). The love Jesus gives us is the same with which the Father loves Him: pure love, unconditional, freely given love. It cannot be bought, it is free. By giving it to us, Jesus treats us like friends – with this love –, making us know the Father, and he involves us in his same mission for the life of the world.

And then, we can ask ourselves the question, how do we abide in this love? Jesus says: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (v. 10). Jesus summarized his commandments in a single one, this: “that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12). To love as Jesus means to offer yourself in service, at the service of your brothers and sisters, as he did in washing the feet of the disciples. It also means going outside of ourselves, detaching ourselves from our own human certainties, from earthly comforts, in order to open ourselves up to others, especially those in greater need. It means making ourselves available, as we are and with what we have. This means to love not in word but in deeds.

To love like Christ means saying ‘no’ to other ‘loves’ that the world offers us: love of money – those who love money do not love as Jesus loves -, love of success, vanity, [love] of power…. These deceptive paths of “love” distance us from the Lord’s love and lead us to become more and more selfish, narcissistic, overbearing. And being overbearing leads to a degeneration of love, to the abuse others, to making our loved ones suffer. To love as the Lord loves us means to appreciate the people beside us, to respect their freedom, to love them as they are, not as we want them to be, gratuitously. Ultimately, Jesus asks us to abide in his love, to dwell in his love, not in our ideas, not in our own self-worship. Those who dwell in self-worship live in the mirror: always looking at themselves. Those who overcome the ambition to control and manage others. Not controlling, serving them. Opening our heart to others, this is love, giving ourselves to others.

Dear brothers and sisters, where does this abiding in the Lord’s love lead? Where does it lead us? Jesus told us: “That my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (v. 11). And the Lord wants the joy he possesses, because he is in complete communion with the Father, to be in us insofar as we are united to Him. The joy of knowing we are loved by God despite our infidelities enables us to face the trials of life confidently, makes us live through crises so as to emerge from them better. Our being true witnesses consists in living this joy, because joy is the distinctive sign of a true Christian. True Christians are not sad; they always have that joy inside, even in difficult moments.

May the Virgin Mary help us to abide in Jesus’ love and to grow in love for everyone, witnessing to the joy of the Risen Lord.






Pope Francis Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021

Migrants
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

TOWARDS AN EVER WIDER “WE”

In the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, I expressed a concern and a hope that remain uppermost in my thoughts: “Once this health crisis passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us’” (No. 35).

For this reason, I have wished to devote the Message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme, Towards An Ever Wider “We”, in order to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world.







Pope Francis General Audience 05.05.21

Contemplative prayer

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/contemplative-prayer/05.05.21%201%2076%20365%20285.jpg
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

We continue the catechesis on prayer and in this catechesis, I would like to reflect on contemplative prayer.

The contemplative dimension of the human being – which is not yet contemplative prayer – is a bit like the “salt” of life: it gives flavour, it seasons our day. We can contemplate by gazing at the sun that rises in the morning, or at the trees that deck themselves out in spring green; we can contemplate by listening to music or to the sounds of the birds, reading a book, gazing at a work of art or at that masterpiece that is the human face. The truth is that those who live in a large city, where everything – we can say – is artificial and where everything is functional, risk losing the capacity to contemplate. To contemplate is not primarily a way of doing, but a way of being. To be contemplative.

And being contemplatives does not depend on the eyes, but on the heart. And here prayer enters into play as an act of faith and love, as the “breath” of our relationship with God. Prayer purifies the heart and, with it, also sharpens our gaze, allowing it to grasp reality from another point of view. The Catechism describes this transformation of the heart that prayer effects, citing a famous testimony of the Holy Curé of Ars who said this: “Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. ‘I look at him and he looks at me’: this is what a certain peasant of Ars used to say to the holy curé while praying before the tabernacle. […] The light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men”. Everything comes from this: from a heart that feels that it is looked on with love. Then reality is contemplated with different eyes.

Loving contemplation, typical of the most intimate prayer, does not need many words. A gaze is enough. It is enough to be convinced that our life is surrounded by an immense and faithful love that nothing can ever separate us from.

Jesus was a master of this gaze. His life never lacked the time, space, silence, the loving communion that allows one’s existence not to be devastated by the inevitable trials, but to maintain beauty intact. His secret is his relationship with his heavenly Father.

There is no opposition between contemplation and action. No. In the Gospel and in Jesus there is no contradiction.

There is only one great call, one great call in the Gospel, and it is that of following Jesus on the way of love. This is the summit and it is the centre of everything. In this sense, charity and contemplation are synonymous, they say the same thing. Saint John of the Cross believed that a small act of pure love is more useful to the Church than all the other works combined. What is born of prayer and not from the presumption of our ego, what is purified by humility, even if it is a hidden and silent act of love, is the greatest miracle that a Christian can perform. And this is the path of contemplative prayer: I look at Him and He looks at me. It is that act of love in silent dialogue with Jesus that does so much good for the Church. Thank you.







Pope Francis Regina Caeli 02.05.21

Remain in Jesus

Pope Francis - Remain in Jesus - Regina Caeli 02.05.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In the Gospel of this Fifth Sunday of Easter (Jn 15:1-8), the Lord presents himself as the true vine, and speaks of us as the branches that cannot live without being united to Him. And so He says: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (v. 5). There is no vine without branches, and vice versa. The branches are not self-sufficient, but depend totally on the vine, which is the source of their existence.

Jesus insists on the verb “to abide”. He repeats it seven times in today’s Gospel reading. Before leaving this world and going to the Father, Jesus wants to reassure His disciples that they can continue to be united with Him. He says, “Abide in me, and I in you” (v. 4). This abiding is not a question of abiding passively, of “slumbering” in the Lord, letting oneself be lulled by life: no, no! It is not this. The abiding in Him, the abiding in Jesus that He proposes to us is abiding actively, and also reciprocally. Why? Because the branches without the vine can do nothing, they need sap to grow and to bear fruit; but the vine, too, needs the branches, since fruit does not grow on the tree trunk. It is a reciprocal need, it is a question of a reciprocal abiding so as to bear fruit. We abide in Jesus and Jesus abides in us.

First of all, we need Him. The Lord wants to say to us that before the observance of His commandments, before the beatitudes, before works of mercy, it is necessary to be united to Him, to remain in him. We cannot be good Christians if we do not remain in Jesus. With Him, instead, we can do everything.

But even Jesus needs us, like the vine with the branches. Perhaps to say this seems audacious to us, and so we ask ourselves: in what sense does Jesus need us? He needs our witness. Like the branches the fruit we must give is the witness to our lives as Christians. After Jesus ascended to the Father, the task of the disciples - it is our task - is to continue to proclaim the Gospel in words and in deeds. And the disciples - we, Jesus’ disciples - do so by bearing witness to His love: the fruit to be borne is love. Attached to Christ, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in this way we can do good to our neighbour, we can do good to society, to the Church. The tree is known by its fruit. A truly Christian life bears witness to Christ.

And how can we succeed in doing this? Jesus says to us: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (v.7). This too is bold: the certainty that what we ask for will be given to us. The fruitfulness of our life depends on prayer. We can ask to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and things with the eyes of Jesus. And in this way, to love our brothers and sisters, starting from the poorest and those who suffer most, like He did, and to love them with His heart and to bring to the world fruits of goodness, fruits of charity, fruits of peace.

Let us entrust ourselves to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She always remained completely united to Jesus and bore much fruit. May she help us abide in Christ, in his love, in his word, to bear witness to the Risen Lord in the world.







Pope Francis The Holy Rosary 01.05.21

To invoke an end to the pandemic

  
Pope Francis Rosary Prayer 01.05.21

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity, and continued health.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen






Pope Francis  The Family in the Light of the Word of God video message       28.04.21     

Amoris Laetitia Family Year 2021 - 2022


Pope Francis The Family and Marriage  28.04.21 Video








Pope Francis General Audience 28.04.21

The meditation

Pope Francis - Meditation - General Audience 28.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we will talk about the form of prayer called meditation. For a Christian, to “meditate” is to seek meaning: it implies placing oneself before the immense page of Revelation to try to make it our own, assuming it completely. And the Christian, after having welcomed the Word of God, does not keep it closed up within him or herself, because that Word must be met with “another book”, which the Catechism calls “the book of life”. This is what we try to do every time we meditate on the Word.

The practice of meditation has received a great deal of attention in recent years. It is not only Christians who talk about it: the practice of meditation exists in almost all the world’s religions. But it is also a widespread activity among people who do not have a religious view of life. We all need to meditate, to reflect, to discover ourselves, it is a human dynamic. Especially in the voracious western world, people seek meditation because it represents a high barrier against the daily stress and emptiness that is everywhere. Here, then, is the image of young people and adults sitting in meditation, in silence, with eyes half-closed... But what do these people do, we might ask? They meditate. It is a phenomenon to be looked on favourably: in fact, we are not made to run all the time, we have an inner life that cannot always be neglected. Meditating is therefore a need for everyone. Meditating, so to say, is like stopping and taking a breath in life. To stop and be still.

Meditating is a necessary human dimension, but meditating in the Christian context - we Christians - goes further: it is a dimension that must not be eradicated. The great door through which the prayer of a baptised person passes - let us remind ourselves once again - is Jesus Christ. For the Christian, meditation enters through the door of Jesus Christ. And the Christian, when he or she prays, does not aspire to full self-transparency, does not seek the deepest centre of the ego. This is legitimate, but the Christian seeks something else. The prayer of the Christian is first of all an encounter with the Other, with a capital “O”: the transcendent encounter with God. If an experience of prayer gives us inner peace, or self-mastery, or clarity about the path to take, these results are, one might say, consequences of the grace of Christian prayer, which is the encounter with Jesus. That is, meditating means going - guided by a phrase from the Scripture, from a word - to the encounter with Jesus within us.

Christian meditation is not possible without the Holy Spirit. It is he who guides us to the encounter with Jesus. 

A person does not pray only with the mind; the entire person prays, the person in his or her entirety, just as one does not pray only with one’s feelings. No, everything. The ancients used to say that the part of the body that prays is the heart, and thus they explained that the whole person, starting from the centre - the heart - enters into a relationship with God, not just a few faculties. It must always be remembered that the method is a path, not a goal: any method of prayer. The methods of meditation are paths to travel to arrive at the encounter with Jesus, but if you stop on the road, and just look at the path, you will never find Jesus. You will make a “god” out of the path.

There is no aspect of his divine-human person that cannot become a place of salvation and happiness for us. Every moment of Jesus' earthly life, through the grace of prayer, can become immediate to us, thanks to the Holy Spirit, the guide. We take the Gospel, and meditate on those mysteries in the Gospel, and the Spirit guides us to being present there. For us Christians, meditating is a way of coming into contact with Jesus. And in this way, only in this way, we discover ourselves. And this is not a withdrawal into ourselves, no, no: it means going to Jesus, and from Jesus, discovering ourselves, healed, risen, strong by the grace of Jesus. And encountering Jesus, the Saviour of all, myself included. And this, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.










Pope Francis Regina Caeli 25.04.21

Good Shepherd Sunday

Pope Francis Good Shepherd Sunday 25.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, called Good Shepherd Sunday, the Gospel (Jn 10:11-18) presents Jesus as the true shepherd who defends, knows and loves his sheep.

The “mercenary” is the opposite of the Good Shepherd, the one who does not care about the sheep because they are not his. He does the job only for pay and is not concerned about defending them: when a wolf arrives, he flees and abandons them (cf vv. 12-13). Instead, Jesus, the true shepherd, defends us always and saves us from so many difficult situations, dangerous situations through the light of his word and the strength of his presence that we always experience if we want to listen, every day.

The second aspect is that Jesus, the good shepherd, knows – the first aspect: defend; the second: he knows his sheep and the sheep know Him (v. 14). How beautiful and consoling it is to know that Jesus knows us one by one, that we are not unknown to Him, that our name is known to him! We are not a “mass”, a “multitude” for Him, no. We are unique individuals, each with his or her own story, he knows us with our own story, each with his or her own value, both because they have been created and have been redeemed by Christ. Each of us can say: Jesus, knows me! Each one of us: Jesus knows me! It is true, it is like this: He knows us like no other. Only He knows what is in our hearts, our intentions, our most hidden feelings. Jesus knows our strengths and our defects, and is always ready to care for us, to heal the wounds of our errors with the abundance of his mercy. In Him, the image the prophets had provided of the shepherd of the people of God is completely fulfilled: Jesus is concerned about his sheep, he gathers them, he binds their wounds, he heals their ailments. We can read this in Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (cf Ez 34:11-16).

Therefore, Jesus the Good Shepherd defends, knows, and above all loves his sheep. And this is why He gives His life for them (cf Jn 10:15). Love for his sheep, that is, for each one of us, would lead him to die on the cross. For this is the Father’s will – that no one should be lost. Christ’s love is not selective; it embraces everyone. He Himself reminds us of this in today’s Gospel when he says: “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). These words testify to his universal concern: He is everyone’s shepherd. Jesus wants everyone to be able to receive the Father’s love and encounter God.

And the Church is called to carry on this mission of Christ. Beyond those who participate in our communities, there is the majority, many people, who do so only at particular moments or never. But this does not mean they are not God’s children: the Father entrusts everyone to Jesus the Good Shepherd, and he gave his life for everyone.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus defends, knows and loves us, everyone. May Mary Most Holy help us to be the first to welcome and follow the Good Shepherd, to cooperate in the joy of his mission.





Pope Francis Video Message for Earth Day

22.04.21

Pope Francis Earth Day Video Message 22.04.21

Brothers and sisters,

On this Earth Day commemoration, it is always good to recall that the things that we have been saying to one another for a while must not fall into oblivion. For some time now we have been becoming more aware that nature deserves to be protected, if only because human interactions with God's [God-given] biodiversity must take place with the utmost care and respect: caring for biodiversity, caring for nature. And we have learnt this more clearly in this pandemic. The pandemic has also shown us what happens when the world stops, pauses, even for a few months, and the powerful impact that this has on nature and climate change, in a sadly positive way, has it not? In other words, it hurts.

And this shows us that nature, globally, needs our lives on this planet. It involves us all, albeit in many different and unequivocal forms; and so it teaches us even more about what we need to do to create a fair, equitable, environmentally safe planet.

In short, the Covid pandemic taught us about this interdependence, this sharing of the planet. And both global catastrophes, Covid and climate change, show that there is no time to lose. Time is pressing and, as Covid-19 taught us, yes, we have the means to rise up to the challenge. We have the means. It is time to act, we are at the limit.

I would like to repeat an old Spanish saying: “God always forgives, we humans forgive from time to time, nature no longer forgives”. And when this destruction of nature is triggered, it is very difficult to stop it. But we are still in time. And we will be more resilient if we work together instead of doing it alone. The adversity that we are experiencing with the pandemic, and that we already feel in climate change, must spur us on, must drive us to innovation, to invention, to seek new paths. We do not come out of a crisis the same, we come out better or worse. That is the challenge, and if we do not come out of it better, we will be on a path of self-destruction.

May all of you... I also join you in an appeal to all the leaders of the world to act with courage, to act with justice and to always tell people the truth, so that people know how to protect themselves from the destruction of the planet, how to protect the planet from the destruction that we very often trigger.

Thank you for what you do, thank you for the good intentions, thank you for coming together. And best wishes to all [and prosperity to all].







Pope Francis General Audience 21.04.21

The vocal prayer

Pope Francis General Audience 21.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Prayer is dialogue with God; and every creature, in a certain sense, “dialogues" with God. Within the human being, prayer becomes word, invocation, hymn, poetry… The divine Word is made flesh, and in each person’s flesh the word returns to God in prayer.

We create words, but they are also our mothers, and to some extent they shape us. The words of a prayer get us safely through a dark valley, direct us towards green meadows rich in water, and enable us to feast in front of the eyes of an enemy, as the Psalm teaches us (cf. Ps 23). Words are born from feelings, but there is also the reverse path, whereby words shape feelings. The Bible educates people to ensure that everything comes to light through the word, that nothing human is excluded, censored. Above all, pain is dangerous if it stays hidden, closed up within us... Pain closed up within us, that cannot express or give vent to itself, can poison the soul. It is deadly.

This is why Sacred Scripture teaches us to pray, sometimes even with bold words. The sacred writers do not want to deceive us about the human person: they know that our hearts harbour also unedifying feelings, even hatred. None of us are born holy, and when these negative feelings come knocking at the door of our hearts, we must be capable of defusing them with prayer and God's words.

The first human prayer is always a vocal recitation.  The prayer of the heart is mysterious, and at certain times it is lacking. Instead, the prayer of the lips that which is whispered or recited chorally is always accessible, and is as necessary as manual labour. 

We all have something to learn from the perseverance of the Russian pilgrim, mentioned in a famous work on spirituality, who learned the art of prayer by repeating the same invocation over and over again: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord, have mercy on us, sinners!”

Therefore, we must not disregard vocal prayer. One might say, “Ah, this is for children, for ignorant folk; I am seeking mental prayer, meditation, the inner void so that God might come to me…” Please! Do not succumb to the pride of scorning vocal prayer. It is the prayer of the simple, the prayer that Jesus taught: Our Father, who is in heaven… The words we speak take us by the hand; at times they restore flavour, they awaken even the sleepiest of hearts; they reawaken feelings we had forgotten. And they lead us by the hand towards the experience of God, these words… And above all, they are the only ones that, in a sure way, direct to God the questions he wants to hear. Jesus did not leave us in a fog. He told us: “Pray then like this”. And he taught the Lord's Prayer (cf. Mt 6:9).






Pope Francis Regina Caeli 18.04.21

Christian life

Pope Francis - Christian Life - Regina Caeli  18.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

On this Third Sunday of Easter, we return to Jerusalem, in the Cenacle, as guided by the two disciples of Emmaus, who had listened with great emotion to Jesus’ words along the way and then had recognized him “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). Now, in the Cenacle, the Risen Christ presents himself in the midst of the group of disciples and greets: “Peace to you!” (v. 36). But they are frightened and believe “that they saw a spirit” (v. 37), as the Gospel says. Then Jesus shows them the wounds in his body and says: “See my hands and my feet” – the wounds – “that it is I myself; handle me” (v. 39). And to convince them, he asks for food and eats it before their astonished eyes (cf. vv. 41-42).

There is a detail here, in this description. The Gospel says that the Apostles “they still disbelieved for joy”. The joy they had was such that they could not believe that this was true. And a second detail: they were bewildered, astonished; astonished because the encounter with God always leads you to astonishment: it goes beyond enthusiasm, beyond joy; it is another experience. And they were joyful, but a joy that made them think: no, this cannot be true!... It is the astonishment of God’s presence. Do not forget this frame of mind, which is so beautiful.

Three very concrete verbs characterize this Gospel passage. In a certain sense, they reflect our individual and community life: to look, to touch and to eat. Three actions that can give joy from a true encounter with the living Jesus.

To look. “See my hands and my feet”, Jesus says. To look is not only to see, it is more; it also involves intention, will. For this reason, it is one of the verbs of love. A mother and father look at their child; lovers gaze at each other; a good doctor looks at the patient carefully…. Looking is a first step against indifference, against the temptation to look the other way before the difficulties and sufferings of others. To look. Do I see or look at Jesus?

The second verb is to touch. By inviting the disciples to touch him, to verify that he is not a ghost – touch me! – Jesus indicates to them and to us that the relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters cannot remain “at a distance”. Christianity does not exist at a distance; Christianity does not exist only at the level of looking. Love requires looking and it also requires closeness; it requires contact, the sharing of life. The Good Samaritan did not limit himself to looking at that man whom he found half dead along the road: he stopped, he bent down, he treated his wounds, he touched him, he loaded him on his mount and took him to the inn. And it is the same with Jesus himself: loving him means entering into a communion of life, a communion with Him.

And thus, we come to the third verb, to eat, which clearly expresses our humanity in its most natural poverty, that is, our need to nourish ourselves in order to live. But eating, when we do so together, among family or friends, also becomes an expression of love, an expression of communion, of celebration…. How often the Gospels present Jesus to us who experiences this convivial dimension! Even as the Risen One, with his disciples. To the point that the Eucharistic Banquet has become the emblematic sign of the Christian community. Eating together the Body of Christ: this is the core of Christian life.

Brothers and sisters, this Gospel passage tells us that Jesus is not a “ghost”, but a living Person; that when Jesus draws near to us he fills us with joy, to the point of disbelief, and he leaves us bewildered, with that astonishment that only God’s presence gives, because Jesus is a living Person.

Being Christian is not first of all a doctrine or a moral ideal; it is a living relationship with Him, with the Risen Lord: we look at him, we touch him, we are nourished by Him and, transformed by his Love, we look at, touch and nourish others as brothers and sisters. May the Virgin Mary help us to live this experience of grace.






Pope Francis General Audience 14.04.21

The Church - teacher of prayer

Pope Francis - Prayer and the Church  14.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The Church is a great school of prayer.

The life of a parish and every Christian community is marked by liturgical moments and moments of community prayer. The garment of faith is not starched, but develops with us; it is not rigid, it grows, even through moments of crisis and resurrection. Actually, there is no growth without moments of crisis because crises make you grow. Experiencing crisis is a necessary way to grow. And the breath of faith is prayer. After certain passages in life, we become aware that without faith we could not have made it and that our strength was prayer – not only personal prayer, but also that of our brothers and sisters, and of the community that accompanied and supported us, of the people who know us, of the people we ask to pray for us.

For this reason, too, communities and groups dedicated to prayer flourish in the Church. Some Christians even feel the call to make prayer the primary action of their day. There are monasteries, convents, hermitages in the Church where persons consecrated to God live. They often become centres of spiritual light. They are centres of community prayer that radiate spirituality. They are small oases in which intense prayer is shared and fraternal communion is constructed day by day. They are cells that are vital not only for the ecclesial fabric, but that of society itself. 

When the Enemy, the Evil One, wants to combat the Church, he does so first by trying to drain her fonts, hindering them from praying. Changes in the Church without prayer are not changes made by the Church. 

The lamp of faith will always be lit on earth as long as there is the oil of prayer. The question that we Christians need to ask ourselves is: Do I pray? Do we pray? How do I pray? Like parrots or do I pray with my heart? How do I pray? Do I pray, certain that I am in the Church and that I pray with the Church? Or do I pray a bit according to my ideas and then make my ideas become prayer? This is a pagan prayer, not Christian. 

And this is the Church’s essential task: to pray and to teach how to pray. To transmit the lamp of faith and the oil of prayer from generation to generation. 






Pope Francis Holy Mass 11.04.21

Divine Mercy Sunday

Pope Francis Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday 11.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The risen Jesus appeared to the disciples on several occasions. He patiently soothed their troubled hearts. Risen himself, he now brings about “the resurrection of the disciples”. He raises their spirits and their lives are changed. Earlier, the Lord’s words and his example had failed to change them. Now, at Easter, something new happens, and it happens in the light of mercy. Jesus raises them up with mercy. Having received that mercy, they become merciful in turn. It is hard to be merciful without the experience of having first received mercy.

First, they receive mercy through three gifts. First, Jesus offers them peace, then the Spirit and finally his wounds. The disciples were upset. They were locked away for fear, fear of being arrested and ending up like the Master. But they were not only huddled together in a room; they were also trapped in their own remorse. They had abandoned and denied Jesus. They felt helpless, discredited, good for nothing. Jesus arrives and says to them twice, “Peace be with you!” He does not bring a peace that removes the problems without, but one that infuses trust within. It is no outward peace, but peace of heart. He tells them “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). It is as if to say, “I am sending you because I believe in you”. Those disheartened disciples were put at peace with themselves. The peace of Jesus made them pass from remorse to mission. The peace of Jesus awakens mission. It entails not ease and comfort, but the challenge to break out of ourselves. The peace of Jesus frees from the self-absorption that paralyzes; it shatters the bonds that keep the heart imprisoned. The disciples realized that they had been shown mercy: they realized that God did not condemn or demean them, but instead believed in them. God, in fact, believes in us even more than we believe in ourselves.  As far as God is concerned, no one is useless, discredited or a castaway. Today Jesus also tells us, “Peace be with you! You are precious in my eyes. Peace be with you! You are important for me. Peace be with you! You have a mission. No one can take your place. You are irreplaceable. And I believe in you”.

Second, Jesus showed mercy to his disciples by granting them the Holy Spirit. He bestowed the Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. The disciples were guilty; they had run away, they had abandoned the Master. Sin brings torment; evil has its price. Our sin, as the Psalmist says (cf. 51:5), is always before us. Of ourselves, we cannot remove it. Only God takes it away, only he by his mercy can make us emerge from the depths of our misery. Like those disciples, we need to let ourselves be forgiven, to ask heartfelt pardon of the Lord. We need to open our hearts to being forgiven. Forgiveness in the Holy Spirit is the Easter gift that enables our interior resurrection. Let us ask for the grace to accept that gift, to embrace the Sacrament of forgiveness. And to understand that Confession is not about ourselves and our sins, but about God and his mercy. Let us not confess to abase ourselves, but to be raised up. We, all of us, need this badly. Like little children who, whenever they fall, need to be picked up by their fathers, we need this. We too fall frequently. And the hand of our Father is ready to set us on our feet again and to make us keep walking. That sure and trustworthy hand is Confession. Confession is the sacrament that lifts us up; it does not leave us on the ground, weeping on the hard stones where we have fallen. Confession is the Sacrament of resurrection, pure mercy. All those who hear confessions ought to convey the sweetness of mercy. This is what confessors are meant to do: to convey the sweetness of the mercy of Jesus who forgives everything. God forgives everything.

Together with the peace that rehabilitates us and the forgiveness that lifts us up, Jesus gave his disciples a third gift of mercy: he showed them his wounds. By those wounds we were healed (cf. 1 Pet 2:24; Is 53:5). But how can wounds heal us? By mercy. In those wounds, like Thomas, we can literally touch the fact that God has loved us to the end. He has made our wounds his own and borne our weaknesses in his own body. His wounds are open channels between him and us, shedding mercy upon our misery. His wounds are the pathways that God has opened up for us to enter into his tender love and actually “touch” who he is. Let us never again doubt his mercy. In adoring and kissing his wounds, we come to realize that in his tender love all our weaknesses are accepted. This happens at every Mass, where Jesus offers us his wounded and risen Body. We touch him and he touches our lives. He makes heaven come down to us. His radiant wounds dispel the darkness we carry within. This is the starting-point of our Christian journey. But if we trust in our own abilities, in the efficiency of our structures and projects, we will not go far. Only if we accept the love of God, will we be able to offer something new to the world.

And that is what the disciples did: receiving mercy, they in turn became merciful. We see this in the first reading. The Acts of the Apostles relate that “no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common” (4:32). This is not communism, but pure Christianity. It is all the more surprising when we think that those were the same disciples who had earlier argued about prizes and rewards, and about who was the greatest among them (cf. Mt 10:37; Lk 22:24). Now they share everything; they are “of one heart and soul”” (Acts 4:32). How did they change like that? They now saw in others the same mercy that had changed their own lives. They discovered that they shared the mission, the forgiveness and the Body of Jesus, and so it seemed natural to share their earthly possessions. The text continues: “There was not a needy person among them” (v. 34). Their fears had been dispelled by touching the Lord’s wounds, and now they are unafraid to heal the wounds of those in need. Because there they see Jesus. Because Jesus is there, in the wounds of those in need.

Dear sister, dear brother, do you want proof that God has touched your life? See if you can stoop to bind the wounds of others. Today is the day to ask, “Am I, who so often have received God’s peace, his mercy, merciful to others? Do I, who have so often been fed by the Body of Jesus, make any effort to relieve the hunger of the poor?” Let us not remain indifferent. Let us not live a one-way faith, a faith that receives but does not give, a faith that accepts the gift but does not give it in return. Having received mercy, let us now become merciful. For if love is only about us, faith becomes arid, barren and sentimental. Without others, faith becomes disembodied. Without works of mercy, it dies (cf. James 2:17). Dear brothers and sisters, let us be renewed by the peace, forgiveness and wounds of the merciful Jesus. Let us ask for the grace to become witnesses of mercy. Only in this way will our faith be alive and our lives unified. Only in this way will we proclaim the Gospel of God, which is the Gospel of mercy.







Pope Francis General Audience 07.04.21

Praying in communion with the Saints

Pope Francis   General Audience  07.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today, I would like to reflect on the connection between prayer and the communion of saints. In fact, when we pray, we never do so alone: even if we do not think about it, we are immersed in a majestic river of invocations that precedes us and proceeds after us.

Contained in the prayers we find in the Bible, that often resound in the liturgy, are the traces of ancient stories, of prodigious liberations, of deportations and sad exiles, of emotional returns, of praise ringing out before the wonders of creation… And thus, these voices are passed on from generation to generation, in a continual intertwining between personal experience and that of the people and the humanity to which we belong. We always bear in our attitudes this inheritance, even in the way we pray. 

Each time we join our hands and open our hearts to God, we find ourselves in the company of anonymous saints and recognized saints who pray with us and who intercede for us as older brothers and sisters who have preceded us on this same human adventure. There is no grief in the Church that is borne in solitude, there are no tears shed in oblivion, because everyone breaths and participates in one common grace. It is no coincidence that in the ancient church people were buried in gardens surrounding a sacred building, as if to say that, in some way, the hosts of those who have preceded us participate in every Eucharist. Our parents and grandparents are there, our godfathers and godmothers are there, our catechists and other teachers are there… The faith that is passed on, transmitted, that we have received. Along with faith, the way of praying and prayer have been transmitted.

The saints are still here not far from us. The saints remind us that even in our lives, however weak and marked by sin, holiness can unfold. Even at the last moment. 

The Catechism explains that the saints contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (CCC, 2683). There is a mysterious solidarity in Christ between those who have already passed to the other life and we pilgrims in this one: from Heaven, our beloved deceased continue to take care of us. They pray for us, and we pray for them and we pray with them.

We pray for each other, we make requests and offer prayers…. The first way to pray for someone is to speak to God about him or her. If we do this frequently, each day, our hearts are not closed but open to our brothers and sisters. To pray for others is the first way to love them and it moves us toward concretely drawing near. Even in conflictual moments, a way of dissolving the conflict, of softening it, is to pray for the person with whom I am in conflict. And something changes with prayer. The first thing that changes is my heart and my attitude. The Lord changes it so it might be turned into an encounter, a new encounter so that that the conflict does not become a never-ending war.

The first way to face a time of anguish is by asking our brothers and sisters, the saints above all, to pray for us. The name given to us at Baptism is not a label or a decoration! It is usually the name of the Virgin, or a Saint, who expect nothing other than to “give us a hand” in life, to give us a hand to obtain the grace from God that we need. If the trials of life have not reached the breaking point, if we are still capable of persevering, if despite everything we proceed trustingly, more than due to our own merits, perhaps we owe all this to the intercession of all the saints, some who are in Heaven, others who are pilgrims like us on earth, who have protected and accompanied us, because all of us know there are holy people here on this earth, saintly men and women who live in holiness. They do not know it; neither do we know it. But there are saints, everyday saints, hidden saints, or as I like to say, “saints who live next door”, those who share their lives with us, who work with us and live a life of holiness.

Therefore, blessed be Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, together with this immense flowering of saintly men and women who populate the earth and who have praised God through their own lives. 






Pope Francis Regina Caeli 05.04.21

The Resurrection

   Pope Francis - He has risen  - Regina Caeli 05.04.2021
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The Monday after Easter is also called the Monday of the Angel because we recall the meeting of the angel with the women who arrived at Jesus’s tomb (see Mt 28:1-15). The angel said to them: “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen (vv. 5-6). This expression “He has risen” goes beyond human capacity. Even the women who had gone to the tomb and had found it open and empty could not confirm “He has risen”, but they could only say that the tomb was empty. “He has risen” is a message… Only an angel could say that Jesus had risen, only an angel with the authority to be the bearer of a heavenly message, with the power given by God to say it, just as an angel – only an angel – had been able to say to Mary: “you will conceive a son, [….] and he will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:31-32). Because of this we call it Monday of the Angel because only an angel with the power of God could say that Jesus had risen.

Matthew the evangelist narrates that on Easter morning “there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat on it” (see v. 2). That large stone, that was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, was put underfoot, it became the footstool of the angel of the Lord. All of the plans and defences of Jesus’s enemies and persecutors were in vain. The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is the concrete manifestation, the visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, the manifestation of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, the manifestation of the victory of light over darkness. Jesus’s tomb was not opened by a physical phenomenon, but by the Lord’s intervention. The angel’s appearance, Matthew continues, “was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. (v. 3). These details are symbols that confirm the intervention of God himself, bearer of a new era, of the last times of history because Jesus’s resurrection initiated the last times of history which can endure thousands of years, but they are the last times.

There is a twofold reaction in beholding this intervention on God’s part. That of the guards who cannot face the overwhelming power of God and are shaken by an interior earthquake: they became like dead men (see v. 4). The power of the Resurrection overthrows those who had been used to guarantee the apparent victory of death. And what did those guards have to do? To go to those who had given them orders to keep guard and to tell the truth. They had a choice to make: either to tell the truth or to allow themselves to be convinced by those who had given them the order to keep guard. And the only way to convince them was money. And those poor people, poor people, sold the truth, and with the money in their pockets they went on to say: “No, the disciples came and robbed the body”. The “Lord” money, even here, in Christ’s resurrection, is capable of having the power to deny it. The women’s reaction is different because they were expressly invited by the angel of the Lord not to be afraid, and in the end, they were not afraid – “Do not be afraid!” (v. 5) – and not to seek Jesus in the tomb.

We can reap a precious teaching from the angel’s words: we should never tire of seeking the risen Christ who gives life in abundance to those who meet him. To find Christ means to discover peace in our hearts. The same women of the Gospel, after initially being shaken – that is understandable – experience great joy in discovering the Master alive (see vv. 8-9). In this Easter Season, my wish is that everyone might have the same spiritual experience, welcoming in our hearts, in our homes and in our families the joyful proclamation of Easter: “Christ, having risen from the dead dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him” (Communion Antiphon). The Easter proclamation, Christ is alive, Christ accompanies my life, Christ is beside me. Christ knocks at the door of my heart so you can let him in, Christ is alive. In these days of Easter, it would be good for us to repeat this: the Lord is alive.

This certainty moves us to pray today and throughout the Easter Season: “Regina Caeli, Laetare – that is, Queen of Heaven, rejoice”. The angel Gabriel had greeted her thus the first time: “Rejoice, full of grace!” (see Lk 1:28). Now Mary’s joy is complete: Jesus lives, Love has conquered. May this be our joy as well!







Pope Francis Urbi et Orbi Easter Message 04.04.21


Pope Francis  Easter Urbi et Orbi 04.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Dear Brothers and Sisters, a good, happy and peaceful Easter!

Today, throughout the world, the Church’s proclamation resounds: “Jesus, who was crucified, has risen as he said. Alleluia!”

The Easter message does not offer us a mirage or reveal a magic formula. It does not point to an escape from the difficult situation we are experiencing. The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened. That is today’s scandal.

In the face of, or better, in the midst of this complex reality, the Easter message speaks concisely of the event that gives us the hope that does not disappoint: “Jesus who was crucified has risen”. It speaks to us not about angels or ghosts, but about a man, a man of flesh and bone, with a face and a name: Jesus. The Gospel testifies that this Jesus, crucified under Pontius Pilate for claiming he was the Christ, the Son of God, rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, just as he had foretold to his disciples.

Jesus took upon himself our weakness, our infirmities, even our death. He endured our sufferings and bore the weight of our sins. Because of this, God the Father exalted him and now Jesus Christ lives forever; he is the Lord.

The risen Christ is hope for all who continue to suffer from the pandemic, both the sick and those who have lost a loved one. May the Lord give them comfort and sustain the valiant efforts of doctors and nurses. Vaccines are an essential tool in this fight. I urge the entire international community, in a spirit of global responsibility, to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries.

The crucified and risen Lord is comfort for those who have lost their jobs or experience serious economic difficulties and lack adequate social protection. May he inspire public authorities to act so that everyone, especially families in greatest need, will be offered the assistance needed for a decent standard of living.

The risen Jesus is also hope for all those young people forced to go long periods without attending school or university, or spending time with their friends. 

May the light of the risen Jesus be a source of rebirth for migrants fleeing from war and extreme poverty. 

There are still too many wars and too much violence in the world! 

Dear brothers and sisters, once again this year, in various places many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, without being able to attend liturgical celebrations. We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely.

In embracing the cross, Jesus bestowed meaning on our sufferings and now we pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world. A good, happy and serene Easter to all of you!






Pope Francis Easter Vigil 03.04.21

Holy Saturday

Pope Francis Easter Vigil 03.04.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The women thought they would find a body to anoint; instead they found an empty tomb. They went to mourn the dead; instead they heard a proclamation of life. For this reason, the Gospel tells us, the women “were seized with trembling and amazement” (Mk 16:8); they were filled with trembling, fear and amazement. Amazement. A fear mingled with joy that took their hearts by surprise when they saw the great stone before the tomb rolled away and inside a young man in a white robe. Wonder at hearing the words: “Do not be afraid! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen” (v. 6). And a message: “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him” (v. 7). May we too accept this message, the message of Easter. Let us go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord has gone ahead of us. Yet what does it mean “to go to Galilee”?

To go to Galilee means, first, to begin anew. For the disciples it meant going back to the place where the Lord first sought them out and called them to follow him. The place of their first encounter and the place of their first love. From that moment on, leaving their nets behind, they followed Jesus, listening to his preaching and witnessing the miracles he performed. Yet, though they were always with him, they did not fully understand him. Frequently they misunderstood his words and in the face of the cross they abandoned him and fled. Even so, the Risen Lord once more appears as the one who goes ahead of them to Galilee. He says to them: “Let us start over from where we began. Let us begin anew. I want you to be with me again, in spite of everything”. In this Galilee, we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats.

This is the first Easter message that I would offer you: it is always possible to begin anew, because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures. From the rubble of our hearts – and each one of us knows the rubble of our hearts – God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history. He never ceases to go ahead of us: in the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn. In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and never lose hope.

Going to Galilee also means setting out on new paths. It means walking away from the tomb. The women were looking for Jesus in the tomb; they went to recall what they had experienced with him, which was now gone forever. They went to indulge in their grief. There is a kind of faith that can become the memory of something once beautiful, now simply to be recalled. Many people – including us – experience such a “faith of memories”, as if Jesus were someone from the past, an old friend from their youth who is now far distant, an event that took place long ago, when they attended catechism as a child. A faith made up of habits, things from the past, lovely childhood memories, but no longer a faith that moves me, or challenges me. Going to Galilee, on the other hand, means realizing that faith, if it is to be alive, must get back on the road. Let us go to Galilee, then, to discover that God cannot be filed away among our childhood memories, but is alive and filled with surprises. Risen from the dead, Jesus never ceases to amaze us.

This, then, is the second message of Easter: faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is not outdated. He is alive here and now. He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams. He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present. Even if you feel that all is lost, please, let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: he will surely surprise you.

Going to Galilee also means going to the peripheries. Galilee was an outpost: the people living in that diverse and disparate region were those farthest from the ritual purity of Jerusalem. Yet that is where Jesus began his mission. There he brought his message to those struggling to live from day to day, the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor. There he brought the face and presence of God, who tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost, who goes to the very peripheries of existence, since in his eyes no one is least, no one is excluded. The Risen Lord is asking his disciples to go there even now: he asks us to go to Galilee, to the real “Galilee” of daily life, the streets we travel every day, the corners of our cities. There the Lord goes ahead of us and makes himself present in the lives of those around us, those who share in our day, our home, our work, our difficulties and hopes. In Galilee we learn that we can find the Risen One in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the enthusiasm of those who dream and the resignation of those who are discouraged, in the smiles of those who rejoice and the tears of those who suffer, and above all in the poor and those on the fringes.

Dear sister, dear brother: if on this night you are experiencing an hour of darkness, a day that has not yet dawned, a light dimmed or a dream shattered, go, open your heart with amazement to the message of Easter: “Do not be afraid, he has risen! He awaits you in Galilee”. Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, he always walks before you. And, with him, life always begins anew.









Pope Francis  Good Friday 02.04.21

The Way of the Cross


Pope Francis  The Way of the Cross 02.04.21



Pope Francis The Way of the Cross - Meditations - 02.04.21






Pope Francis Good Friday 02.04.21

Celebration of the Passion of the Lord


Pope Francis Good Friday Celebration of the Passion of the Lord 02.04.21





Pope Francis Holy Chrism Mass 01.04.21

Holy Thursday

Pope Francis Chrism Mass 01.04.2021

Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The Gospel shows us a change of heart among the people who were listening to the Lord. The change was dramatic, and it reveals the extent to which persecution and the cross are linked to the proclamation of the Gospel. The admiration aroused by the grace-filled words spoken by Jesus did not last long in the minds of the people of Nazareth. A comment that someone murmured went insidiously viral: “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Lk 4:22).
It was one of those ambiguous expressions that are blurted out in passing. One person can use it approvingly to say: “How wonderful that someone of such humble origin speaks with this authority!” Someone else can use it to say in scorn: “And this one, where did he come from? Who does he think he is?” If we think about it, we can hear the same words spoken on the day of Pentecost, when the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to preach the Gospel. Some said: “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?” (Acts 2:7). While some received the word, others merely thought that the apostles were drunk.

Strictly speaking, those words spoken in Nazareth might go either way, but if we look at what followed, it is clear that they contained a seed of violence that would then be unleashed against Jesus.

They were “words of justification” as for example, when someone says: “That is altogether too much!” and then either attacks the other person or walks away.

This time, the Lord, who at times said nothing or simply walked away, did not let the comment pass. Instead, he laid bare the malevolence concealed in the guise of simple village gossip. “You will quote me the proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’. What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here also in your own country!” (Lk 4:23). “Heal yourself…”

“Let him save himself”. There is the poison! Those same words will follow the Lord to the cross: “He saved others, let him save himself” (Lk 23:35). “And save us”, one of the thieves will add (cf. v. 39).

As always, the Lord refuses to dialogue with the evil spirit; he only replies in the words of Scripture. The prophets Elijah and Elisha, for their part, were accepted not by their own countrymen but by a Phoenician widow and a Syrian who had contracted leprosy: two foreigners, two people of another religion. 

Jesus’ words have the power to bring to light whatever each of us holds in the depths of our heart, often mixed like the wheat and the tares. And this gives rise to spiritual conflict. In this case, Jesus’ words were not accepted and this made the enraged crowd attempt to kill him.

It was not his hour, yet the swiftness with which the crowd’s fury was unleashed, and the ferocity of a rage prepared to kill the Lord on the spot, shows us that it is always his hour. That is what I would like to share with you today, dear priests: that the hour of joyful proclamation, the hour of persecution and the hour of the cross go together.

The preaching of the Gospel is always linked to the embrace of some particular cross. The gentle light of God’s word shines brightly in well-disposed hearts, but awakens confusion and rejection in those that are not. We see this over and over again in the Gospels.

The good seed sown in the field bears fruit – a hundred, sixty and thirty-fold – but it also arouses the envy of the enemy, who is driven to sow weeds during the night (cf. Mt 13:24-30.36-43).

The tender love of the merciful father irresistibly draws the prodigal son home, but also leads to anger and resentment on the part of the elder son (cf. Lk 15:11-32).

All this, dear brother priests, enables us to see that the preaching of the Good News is mysteriously linked to persecution and the cross.

There is an aspect of the cross that is an integral part of our human condition, our limits and our frailty. The serpent, who, seeing the crucified Lord defenceless, bites him in an attempt to poison and undo all his work. A bite that tries to scandalize – and this is an era of scandals – a bite that seeks to disable and render futile and meaningless all service and loving sacrifice for others. It is the venom of the evil one who keeps insisting: save yourself.

It is true that the cross is present in our preaching of the Gospel, but it is the cross of our salvation. Thanks to the reconciling blood of Jesus, it is a cross that contains the power of Christ’s victory, which conquers evil and delivers us from the evil one. To embrace it with Jesus and, as he did before us, to go out and preach it, will allow us to discern and reject the venom of scandal, with which the devil wants to poison us whenever a cross unexpectedly appears in our lives.







Pope Francis General Audience 31.03.21

The Easter Triduum


Pope Francis General Audience about Easter 31.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Already immersed in the spiritual atmosphere of Holy Week, we are on the eve of the Easter Triduum. From tomorrow until Sunday we will live the central days of the Liturgical Year, celebrating the mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. And we live this mystery every time we celebrate the Eucharist. When we go to Mass, we do not go only to pray, no: we go to renew, to bring about again, this mystery, the Paschal mystery. It is important not to forget this. It is as though we were to go to Calvary – it is the same – to renew, to bring about again the Paschal mystery.

On the evening of Holy Thursday, as we enter the Easter Triduum, we will relive the Mass known as in Coena Domini, that is, the Mass in which we commemorate the Last Supper, there, in that moment. This is the evening when Christ left his disciples the testament of his love in the Eucharist, not as a remembrance, but as a memorial, as his everlasting presence. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, as I said at the beginning, we renew this mystery of redemption. In this Sacrament, Jesus substituted the sacrificial victim – the Paschal lamb - with himself: his Body and Blood grant us salvation from the slavery of sin and death. The salvation from every form of slavery is there. It is the evening in which he asks us to love one another by becoming servants to one another, as he did in washing the disciples' feet, a gesture that anticipates his bloody oblation on the cross. And indeed, the Master and Lord will die the next day to purify not the feet, but the hearts and the entire life of his disciples. It was an oblation of service to us all, because with that service of his sacrifice he redeemed us all.

Good Friday is the day of penance, fasting and prayer. Through the texts of the Sacred Scripture and the liturgical prayers, we will gather as though we were on Calvary to commemorate the redemptive Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. In the intensity of the rite, through the Liturgical Action, the Crucifix will be presented to us to adore. Adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation. We will carry in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor, the rejected of this world; we will remember the "sacrificed lambs", the innocent victims of wars, dictatorships, everyday violence, abortions... Before the image of the crucified God, we will bring, in prayer, the many, the too many who are crucified in our time, who only from Him can receive comfort and meaning in their suffering. And nowadays there are many: do not forget the crucified of our time, who are the image of Jesus Crucified, and Jesus is in them.

Ever since Jesus took upon himself the wounds of humanity and death itself, God’s love has irrigated these deserts of ours, he has enlightened our darkness. Because the world is in darkness. Let us make a list of all the wars that are being fought in this moment; of all the children who die of hunger; of children who have no education; of entire populations destroyed by wars, by terrorism. Of the many, many people who, just to feel a bit better, need drugs, the drug industry that kills … It is a disaster, it is a desert! There are small “islands” of the people of God, both Christian and of all other faiths, that hold in their heart the desire to be better. But let us tell the truth: in this Calvary of death, it is Jesus who suffers in his disciples. During his ministry, the Son of God disseminated life by the handful, healing, forgiving, reviving… Now, in the hour of his supreme Sacrifice on the cross, he brings to fulfilment the task entrusted to him by the Father: he enters into the abyss of suffering, he enters into these disasters of this world, to redeem and transform. And also to free every one of us from the power of darkness, of pride, of resistance to being loved by God. And this, only God’s love can do this. By his wounds we have been healed (see 1 Pt 2: 24), the apostle Peter says, by his death we have been reborn, all of us. And thanks to him, abandoned on the cross, no-one will ever again be alone in the darkness of death. Never, he is always beside us: we need only open our heart and let ourselves be looked upon by him.

Holy Saturday is the day of silence, lived by the first disciples in mourning and bewilderment, shocked by Jesus’ ignominious death. While the Word is silent, while Life is in the tomb, those who had hoped in him were put to a difficult test, they feel like orphans, perhaps even orphaned by God. This Saturday is also Mary's day: she too lived it in tears, but her heart was full of faith, full of hope, full of love. The Mother of Jesus had followed her Son along the path of sorrows and remained at the foot of the cross, with her soul pierced. But when it all seemed to be over, she kept watch, she kept vigil, in expectation, maintaining her hope in the promise of God who raises the dead. Thus, in the world’s darkest hour, she became the Mother of believers, the Mother of the Church and sign of hope. Her witness and her intercession sustain us when the weight of the cross becomes too heavy for each one of us.

In the darkness of Holy Saturday, joy and light will break through with the rites of the Easter Vigil and, in the late evening, the festive singing of the Alleluia. It will be an encounter in faith with the Risen Christ, and the joy of Easter will continue throughout the following fifty days, until the coming of the Holy Spirit. He who was crucified is risen! All questions and uncertainties, hesitations and fears are dispelled by this revelation. The Risen One gives us the certainty that good always triumphs over evil, that life always conquers death, and it is not our end to descend lower and lower, from sorrow to sorrow, but rather to rise up high. The Risen One is the confirmation that Jesus is right in everything: in promising us life beyond death and forgiveness beyond sins. The disciples doubted, they did not believe. The first to believe and to see was Mary Magdalene; she was the apostle of the resurrection who went to announce that she had seen Jesus, who had called her by name. And then, all the disciples saw him. But, I would like to pause at this point: the guards, the soldiers, who were in the tomb to prevent the disciples from coming and taking his body, they saw him; they saw him alive and risen. His enemies saw him, and then they pretended not to have seen him. Why? Because they were paid. Here is the true mystery of what Jesus once said: “There are two masters in the world, two, no more: two. God and money. He who serves money is against God”. And here it is money that changed reality. They had seen the wonder of the resurrection, but they were paid to keep quiet. Think of the many times that Christian men and women have been paid not to acknowledge in practice the resurrection of Christ, and did not do what Christ asked us to do, as Christians.

Dear brothers and sisters, again this year we will live the Easter celebrations in the context of the pandemic. In many situations of suffering, especially when they are borne by people, families and populations already tried by poverty, disasters or conflicts, Christ’s Cross is like a beacon that indicates the port to ships that are still afloat on stormy seas. Christ’s Cross is a sign of the hope that does not disappoint; and it tells us that not even one tear, not one sigh is lost in God’s plan. Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace of serving him and acknowledging him, and of not letting ourselves be paid to forget him.








Pope Francis Angelus 28.03.21 Palm Sunday

:Pope Francis  Angelus on Palm Sunday 28.03.21

We have begun Holy Week. For the second time we will live it within the context of the pandemic. Last year we were more shaken up; this year it is more trying for us. And the economic crisis has become heavy.

In this historical and social situation, what is God doing? He takes up the cross. Jesus takes up the cross, that is, he takes on the evil that this situation entails, the physical and psychological evil – and above all the spiritual evil – because the Evil One is taking advantage of the crisis to disseminate distrust, desperation, and discord.

And us? What should we do? The one who shows us is the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is also his first disciple. She followed her Son. She took upon herself her own portion of suffering, of darkness, of confusion, and she walked the way of the passion keeping the lamp of faith lit in her heart. With God’s grace, we too can make that journey. And, along the daily way of the cross, we meet the faces of so many brothers and sisters in difficulty: let us not pass by, let us allow our hearts to be moved with compassion, and let us draw near. When it happens, like the Cyrenian, we might think: “Why me?” But then we will discover the gift that, without our own merit, has touched us.

Let us pray for all the victims of violence, in particular the victims of this morning's attack in Indonesia, in front of the Cathedral of Makassar.

May the Madonna who always precedes us on the path of faith help us.






Pope Francis Palm Sunday 28.03.21

Passion of the Lord

Commemoration of the Lord's entrance into Jerusalem

Pope Francis - Palm Sunday  - 28.03.2021
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Every year this liturgy leaves us amazed: we pass from the joy of welcoming Jesus as he enters Jerusalem to the sorrow of watching him condemned to death and then crucified. That sense of interior amazement will remain with us throughout Holy Week. Let us reflect more deeply on it.

From the start, Jesus leaves us amazed. His people give him a solemn welcome, yet he enters Jerusalem on a lowly colt. His people expect a powerful liberator at Passover, yet he comes to bring the Passover to fulfilment by sacrificing himself. His people are hoping to triumph over the Romans by the sword, but Jesus comes to celebrate God’s triumph through the cross. What happened to those people who in a few days’ time went from shouting “Hosanna” to crying out “Crucify him”? What happened? They were following an idea of the Messiah rather than the Messiah. They admired Jesus, but they did not let themselves be amazed by him. Amazement is not the same as admiration. Admiration can be worldly, since it follows its own tastes and expectations. Amazement, on the other hand, remains open to others and to the newness they bring. Even today, there are many people who admire Jesus: he said beautiful things; he was filled with love and forgiveness; his example changed history, … and so on. They admire him, but their lives are not changed. To admire Jesus is not enough. We have to follow in his footsteps, to let ourselves be challenged by him; to pass from admiration to amazement.

What is most amazing about the Lord and his Passover? It is the fact that he achieves glory through humiliation. He triumphs by accepting suffering and death, things that we, in our quest for admiration and success, would rather avoid. Jesus – as Saint Paul tells us – “emptied himself… he humbled himself” (Phil 2:7.8). This is the amazing thing: to see the Almighty reduced to nothing. To see the Word who knows all things teach us in silence from the height of the cross. To see the king of kings enthroned on a gibbet. Seeing the God of the universe stripped of everything and crowned with thorns instead of glory. To see the One who is goodness personified, insulted and beaten. Why all this humiliation? Why, Lord, did you wish to endure all this?

Jesus did it for us, to plumb the depths of our human experience, our entire existence, all our evil. To draw near to us and not abandon us in our suffering and our death. To redeem us, to save us. Jesus was lifted high on the cross in order to descend to the abyss of our suffering. He experienced our deepest sorrows: failure, loss of everything, betrayal by a friend, even abandonment by God. By experiencing in the flesh our deepest struggles and conflicts, he redeemed and transformed them. His love draws close to our frailty; it touches the very things of which we are most ashamed. Yet now we know that we are not alone: God is at our side in every affliction, in every fear; no evil, no sin will ever have the final word. God triumphs, but the palm of victory passes through the wood of the cross. For the palm and the cross are inseparable.

Let us ask for the grace to be amazed. A Christian life without amazement becomes drab and dreary. How can we talk about the joy of meeting Jesus, unless we are daily astonished and amazed by his love, which brings us forgiveness and the possibility of a new beginning? When faith no longer experiences amazement, it grows dull: it becomes blind to the wonders of grace; it can no longer taste the Bread of life and hear the Word; it can no longer perceive the beauty of our brothers and sisters and the gift of creation. It has no other course than to take refuge in legalisms, in clericalisms and in all these things that Jesus condemns in chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew.

During this Holy Week, let us lift our eyes to the cross, in order to receive the grace of amazement. Can we still be moved by God’s love? Have we lost the ability to be amazed by him? Why? Maybe our faith has grown dull from habit. Maybe we remain trapped in our regrets and allow ourselves to be crippled by our disappointments. Maybe we have lost all our trust or even feel worthless. But perhaps, behind all these “maybes”, lies the fact that we are not open to the gift of the Spirit who gives us the grace of amazement.

Let us start over from amazement. Let us gaze upon Jesus on the cross and say to him: “Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!” Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again, for the grandeur of life lies not in possessions and promotions, but in realizing that we are loved. And the grandeur of life lies precisely in the beauty of love. In the crucified Jesus, we see God humiliated, the Almighty dismissed and discarded. And with the grace of amazement we come to realize that in welcoming the dismissed and discarded, in drawing close to those ill-treated by life, we are loving Jesus. For that is where he is: in the least of our brothers and sisters, in the rejected and discarded, in those whom our self-righteous culture condemns.

Today’s Gospel shows us, immediately after the death of Jesus, a splendid icon of amazement. It is the scene of the centurion who, upon seeing that Jesus had died, said: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39). He was amazed by love. How did he see Jesus die? He saw him die in love, and this amazed him. Jesus suffered immensely, but he never stopped loving. This is what it is to be amazed before God, who can fill even death with love. In that gratuitous and unprecedented love, the pagan centurion found God. His words – Truly this man was the Son of God! – “seal” the Passion narrative. The Gospels tell us that many others before him had admired Jesus for his miracles and prodigious works, and had acknowledged that he was the Son of God. Yet Christ silenced them, because they risked remaining purely on the level of worldly admiration at the idea of a God to be adored and feared for his power and might. Now it can no longer be so, for at the foot of the cross there can be no mistake: God has revealed himself and reigns only with the disarmed and disarming power of love.

Brothers and sisters, today God continues to fill our minds and hearts with amazement. Let us be filled with that amazement as we gaze upon the crucified Lord. May we too say: “You are truly the Son of God. You are my God”.






Pope Francis General Audience 24.03.21

Prayer in communion with Mary

Pope Francis  To pray in communion with Mary  General Audience 24.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today the catechesis is dedicated to prayer in communion with Mary. It occurs precisely on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation. We know that the main pathway of Christian prayer is the humanity of Jesus. In fact, the confidence typical of Christian prayer would be meaningless if the Word had not become incarnate, giving us in the Spirit His filial relationship with the Father. 

Christ is the Mediator, Christ is the bridge that we cross to turn to the Father. Each prayer we raise to God is through Christ, with Christ and in Christ and it is fulfilled thanks to his intercession. The Holy Spirit extends Christ’s mediation through every time and every place.

Due to Christ’s one mediation, other references that Christians find for their prayer and devotion take on meaning, first among them being the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

She occupies a privileged place in the lives of Christians, and therefore, in their prayer as well, because she is the Mother of Jesus. Her hands, her eyes, her behaviour are a living “catechism”, always indicating the hinge, she always points out the centre: Jesus. Mary is completely directed toward Him (see CCC, 2674) to such an extent that we can say she is more disciple than Mother. She is the first disciple.

This is the role Mary fulfilled throughout her entire earthly life and which she forever retains: to be the humble handmaid of the Lord, nothing more.

Jesus extended Mary’s maternity to the entire Church when He entrusted her to his beloved disciple shortly before dying on the cross. From that moment on, we have all been gathered under her mantle. But as a Mother, not as a goddess, not as co-redeemer: as Mother. It is true that Christian piety has always given her beautiful titles, as a child gives his or her mamma: how many beautiful things children say about their mamma whom they love so much! How many beautiful things. But we need to be careful: the things the Church, the Saints, say about her, beautiful things, about Mary, subtract nothing from Christ’s sole Redemption. He is the only Redeemer.

And so, we began to pray to her using several expressions present in the Gospels directed to her: “full of grace”, “blessed are you among women” (see CCC, 2676f.).  With the Our Father, after the praise we add the supplication: we ask that Mary pray for us sinners, that she might intercede with her tenderness, “now and at the hour of our death”. Now, in the concrete situations of life, and in the final moment, so that she might accompany us – as Mother, as the first disciple – in our passage to eternal life.

Mary is always present at the bedside of her children when they depart this world. If someone is alone and abandoned, she is Mother, she is there, near, as she was next to her Son when everyone else abandoned him.

Mary was and is present in these days of the pandemic, near to the people who, unfortunately, have concluded their earthly journey all alone, without the comfort of or the closeness of their loved ones. Mary is always there next to us, with her maternal tenderness.

Prayers said to her are not in vain. The Woman who said “yes”, who promptly welcomed the Angel’s invitation, also responds to our supplications, she hears our voices, even those that remain closed in our hearts that haven’t the strength to be uttered but which God knows better that we ourselves do. She listens as Mother. Just like, and more than, every good mother, Mary defends us from danger, she is concerned about us even when we are concentrated on our own things and lose a sense of the way, and when we put not only our health in danger, but also our salvation. Mary is there, praying for us, praying for those who do not pray. To pray with us. Why? Because she is our Mother.






Pope Francis Angelus 21.03.21

We wish to see Jesus

Pope Francis  We wish to see Jesus - 21.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the liturgy proclaims the Gospel in which Saint John refers to an episode that occurred in the final days of Christ’s life, shortly before the Passion (cf. Jn 12:20-33). While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, several Greeks, curious because of what he had been doing, express the wish to see him. They approach the apostle Philip and say to him: “We wish to see Jesus” (v. 21). “We wish to see Jesus”. Philip tells Andrew and then together they report it to the Teacher. In the request of those Greeks we can glimpse the request that many men and women, of every place and every time, pose to the Church and also to each one of us: “We wish to see Jesus”.

And how does Jesus respond to that request? In a way that makes us think. He says: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (vv. 23-24). These words do not seem to respond to the request those Greeks made. In reality, they surpass it. In fact, Jesus reveals that for every man and woman who wants to find him, He is the hidden seed ready to die in order to bear much fruit. As if to say: if you wish to know me, if you wish to understand me, look at the grain of wheat that dies in soil, that is, look at the cross.

The sign of the Cross comes to mind, which over the centuries has become the symbol par excellence of Christians. Even today, those who wish to “see Jesus”, perhaps coming from countries and cultures where Christianity is not well-known, what do they see first? What is the most common sign they encounter? The Crucifix, the Cross. In churches, in the homes of Christians, even worn on their persons. The important thing is that the sign be consistent with the Gospel: the cross cannot but express love, service, unreserved self-giving: only in this way is it truly the “tree of life”, of overabundant life.

Today too, many people, often without saying so, implicitly would like to “see Jesus”, to meet him, to know him. This is how we understand the great responsibility we Christians and of our communities have. We too must respond with the witness of a life that is given in service, a life that takes upon itself the style of God – closeness, compassion and tenderness – and is given in service. It means sowing seeds of love, not with fleeting words but through concrete, simple and courageous examples, not with theoretical condemnations, but with gestures of love. Then the Lord, with his grace, makes us bear fruit, even when the soil is dry due to misunderstandings, difficulty or persecution, or claims of legalism or clerical moralism. This is barren soil. Precisely then, in trials and in solitude, while the seed is dying, that is the moment in which life blossoms, to bear ripe fruit in due time. It is in this intertwining of death and life that we can experience the joy and true fruitfulness of love, which always, I repeat, is given in God’s style: closeness, compassion, tenderness.

May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus, to walk, strong and joyful, on the path of service, so that the love of Christ may shine in our every attitude and become more and more the style of our daily life.








Pope Francis Video Message for Ireland's Knock Shrine 19.03.21

On the elevation of the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, Ireland to an International Sanctuary of Special Eucharistic and Marian Devotion

Pope Francis Knock Video Message 19.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click here

Ever since the apparition of August 21, 1879, when the Blessed Virgin Mary, together with Saint Joseph and Saint John the Apostle, appeared to some villagers, the Irish people, wherever they have found themselves, have expressed their faith and devotion to Our Lady of Knock. You have been a missionary people. We cannot forget how many priests left their homeland in order to become missionaries of the Gospel. Nor can we forget the many lay people who emigrated to far-away lands but still kept their devotion to Our Lady.

The arms of the Virgin, out stretched in prayer, continue to show us the importance of prayer as the message of hope which goes out from this Shrine.
 
The elevation of the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock to an International Sanctuary of Special Eucharistic and Marian Devotion is a great responsibility. You accept to always have your arms wide open as a sign of welcome to every pilgrim who may arrive from any part of the world, asking nothing in return but only recognizing him as a brother or a sister who desires to share the same experience of fraternal prayer.









Pope Francis Message for World Day of Vocations 19.03.21

Saint Joseph: The Dream of Vocation

St Joseph
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

8 December last, the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, marked the beginning of a special year devoted to him.  He was not famous or even noteworthy: the Gospels do not report even a single word of his. Still, through his ordinary life, he accomplished something extraordinary in the eyes of God.

God looks on the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), and in Saint Joseph he recognized the heart of a father, able to give and generate life in the midst of daily routines. Vocations have this same goal: to beget and renew lives every day.




Pope Francis General Audience 17.03.21

Prayer and the Holy Spirit


Pope Francis - Prayer and the Holy Spirit  General Audience 17.03.2021
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we will complete the catechesis on prayer as a relationship with the Holy Trinity, in particular with the Holy Spirit.

The first gift of every Christian existence is the Holy Spirit. It is not one of many gifts, but rather the fundamental Gift. The Spirit is the gift that Jesus had promised to send us. Without the Spirit there is no relationship with Christ and with the Father, because the Spirit opens our heart to God’s presence and draws it into that “vortex” of love that is the very heart of God. We are not merely guests and pilgrims on a journey on this earth; we are also guests and pilgrims of the Trinity. We are like Abraham, who one day, welcoming three wayfarers in his own tent, encountered God. If we can truly invoke God, calling him “Abba - Daddy”, it is because the Holy Spirit dwells in us; He is the One who transforms us deep within and makes us experience the moving joy of being loved by God as his true children. All the spiritual work within us towards God is performed by the Holy Spirit, this gift. He works within us to carry forward out Christian life towards the Father, with Jesus.

That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action. This is the work of the Spirit in us. He “reminds” us of Jesus and makes him present to us, so that he is not reduced to a character from the past: that is, the Spirit brings Jesus to the present in our consciousness. If Christ were only far away in time, we would be alone and lost in the world. But in the Spirit everything is brought to life: the possibility of encountering Christ is open to Christians of every time and place. He is not distant, the Spirit is with us.

This is the experience of so many people who pray: men and women whom the Holy Spirit has formed according to the “measure” of Christ, in mercy, in service, in prayer, in catechesis… It is a grace to be able to meet people like this: you realise that a different life pulses in them, the way they look “beyond”. We can think not only of monks and hermits; they are also found among ordinary people, people who have woven a long history of dialogue with God, sometimes of inner struggle, that purifies their faith. These humble witnesses have sought God in the Gospel, in the Eucharist received and adored, in the face of a brother or sister in difficulty, and they safeguard his presence like a secret flame.

The first task of Christians is precisely to keep alive this flame that Jesus brought to the earth (see Lk 12:49), and what is this flame? It is love, the Love of God, the Holy Spirit. Without the fire of the Spirit, His prophecies are extinguished, sorrow supplants joy, routine substitutes love, and service turns into slavery. The image of the lighted lamp next to the Tabernacle, where the Eucharist is reserved, comes to mind. Even when the church empties and evening falls, even when the church is closed, that lamp remains lit, and continues to burn; no one sees it, yet it burns before the Lord. This is how the Spirit is in our heart, always present like that lamp.

There are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all. Very often it happens that we do not pray, we don’t feel like praying, or many times we pray like parrots, with the mouth, but our heart is not in it. This is the moment to say to the Spirit: “Come, come Holy Spirit, warm my heart. Come and teach me to pray, teach me to look to the Father, to look to the Son. Teach me the path of faith. Teach me how to love and, above all, teach me to have an attitude of hope”. It means calling on the Spirit continually, so he may be present in our lives.

It is therefore the Spirit who writes the history of the Church and of the world. We are open books, willing to receive his handwriting. And in each of us the Spirit composes original works, because there is never one Christian who is completely identical to another. In the infinite field of holiness, the one God, the Trinity of Love, allows the variety of witnesses to flourish: all are equal in dignity, but also unique in the beauty that the Spirit has willed to be released in each of those whom God's mercy has made his children. Let us not forget, the Spirit is present, he is present in us. Let us listen to the Spirit, let us call to the Spirit - he is the gift, the present that God has given us - and say to him: “Holy Spirit, I do not know your face - we do not know it - but I know that you are the strength, that you are the light, that you are able to make me go forth, and to teach me how to pray. Come, Holy Spirit”. This is a beautiful prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit”.




Pope Francis Angelus 14.03.21

God’s love

Pope Francis Angelus - 4th Sunday of Lent - 14.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

On this fourth Sunday of Lent, the Eucharistic liturgy begins with this invitation: “Rejoice, Jerusalem...". (see Is 66:10). What is the reason for this joy? In the middle of Lent, what is the reason for this joy? Today’s Gospel tells us: God “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). This joyful message is the heart of the Christian faith: God’s love found its summit in the gift of his Son to a weak and sinful humanity. He gave his Son to us, to all of us.

This is what appears in the nocturnal dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus, like every member of the people of Israel, awaited the Messiah, identifying him as a strong man who would judge the world with power. Instead, Jesus challenges this expectation by presenting himself in three forms: the Son of man exalted on the cross; the Son of God sent into the world for salvation; and that of the light that distinguishes those who follow the truth from those who follow lies.

Jesus presents himself first of all as the Son of man (vv. 14-15). The text alludes to the account of the bronze serpent (see Nm 21: 4-9) which, by God's will, was mounted by Moses in the desert when the people were attacked by poisonous snakes; whoever had been bitten and looked at the bronze serpent was healed. Similarly, Jesus was lifted up on the cross and those who believe in him are healed of sin and live.

The second aspect is that of the Son of God (vv.16-18). God the Father loves humanity to the point of “giving” his Son: he gave him in the Incarnation and he gave him in handing him over to death. The purpose of God's gift is the eternal life of every person: in fact, God sends his Son into the world not to condemn it, but so that the world that it might be saved through Jesus. Jesus' mission is a mission of salvation, of salvation for everyone.

The third name that Jesus gives himself is “light” (vv. 19-21). The Gospel says: "The light has come into the world, but people have loved darkness more than light" (v. 19). The coming of Jesus into the world leads to a choice: whoever chooses darkness will face a judgment of condemnation, whoever chooses light will have a judgment of salvation. The judgement is always the consequence of the free choice of each person: whoever practices evil seeks the darkness, evil always hides, it covers itself. Whoever seeks the truth, that is, who practices what is good, comes to the light, illuminates the paths of life. Whoever walks in the light, whoever approaches the light, cannot but do good works. This is what we are called to do with greater dedication during Lent: to welcome the light into our conscience, to open our hearts to God's infinite love, to his mercy full of tenderness and goodness, to his forgiveness. Do not forget that God always forgives, always, if we humbly ask for forgiveness. It is enough just to ask for forgiveness, and he forgives. In this way we will find true joy and be able to rejoice in God's forgiveness, which regenerates and gives life.

May Mary Most Holy help us not to be afraid of letting ourselves be “thrown into crisis” by Jesus. It is a healthy crisis, for our healing: so that our joy may be full






Pope Francis Holy Mass 14.03.21

500 years of Christianity in the Philippines

Pope Francis Mass for Philippines 14.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son” (Jn 3:16). This is the heart of the Gospel; this is the source of our joy. The Gospel message is not an idea or a doctrine. It is Jesus himself: the Son whom the Father has given us so that we might have life. The source of our joy is not some lovely theory about how to find happiness, but the actual experience of being accompanied and loved throughout the journey of life. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son”. Brothers and sisters, let us dwell on these two thoughts for a moment: “God so loved” and “God gave”.
First of all, God so loved. Jesus’ words to Nicodemus – a Jewish elder who wanted to know the Master – help us to see the true face of God. He has always looked at us with love, and for the sake of love, he came among us in the flesh of his Son. In Jesus, he went in search of us when we were lost. In Jesus, he came to raise us up when we fell. In Jesus, he wept with us and healed our wounds. In Jesus, he blessed our life forever. The Gospel tells us that whoever believes in him will not perish (ibid.). In Jesus, God spoke the definitive word about our life: you are not lost, you are loved. Loved forever.

If hearing the Gospel and practicing our faith don’t enlarge our hearts and make us grasp the immensity of God’s love – maybe because we prefer a glum, sorrowful and self-absorbed religiosity – then this is a sign that we need to stop and listen once more to the preaching of the Good News. God loves you so much that he gave you his entire life. He is not a god who looks down upon us from on high, indifferent, but a loving Father who becomes part of our history. He is not a god who takes pleasure in the death of sinners, but a Father concerned that that no one be lost. He is not a god who condemns, but a Father who saves us with the comforting embrace of his love.

We now come to the second aspect: God “gave” his Son. Precisely because he loves us so much, God gives himself; he offers us his life. Those who love always go out of themselves. Love always offers itself, gives itself, expends itself. That is the power of love: it shatters the shell of our selfishness, breaks out of our carefully constructed security zones, tears down walls and overcomes fears, so as to give freely of itself. That is what loves does: it gives itself. And that is how lovers are: they prefer to risk self-giving over self-preservation. That is why God comes to us: because he “so loved” us. His love is so great that he cannot fail to give himself to us. When the people were attacked by poisonous serpents in the desert, God told Moses to make the bronze serpent. In Jesus, however, exalted on the cross, he himself came to heal us of the venom of death; he became sin to save us from sin. God does not love us in words: he gives us his Son, so that whoever looks at him and believes in him will be saved (cf. Jn 3:14-15).

The more we love, the more we become capable of giving. That is also the key to understanding our life. It is wonderful to meet people who love one another and share their lives in love. We can say about them what we say about God: they so love each other that they give their lives. It is not only what we can make or earn that matters; in the end, it is the love we are able to give.

This is the source of joy!  Sometimes we look for joy where it is not to be found: in illusions that vanish, in dreams of glory, in the apparent security of material possessions, in the cult of our image, and in so many other things. But life teaches us that true joy comes from realizing that we are loved gratuitously, knowing that we are not alone, having someone who shares our dreams and who, when we experience shipwreck, is there to help us and lead us to a safe harbour.

Dear brothers and sisters, five hundred years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel: the good news that God so loved us that he gave his Son for us. And this joy is evident in your people. We see it in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands. I have often said that here in Rome Filipino women are “smugglers” of faith! Because wherever they go to work, they sow the faith. It is part of your genes, a blessed “infectiousness” that I urge you to preserve. Keeping bringing the faith, the good news you received five hundred years ago, to others. I want to thank you, then, for the joy you bring to the whole world and to our Christian communities. I think, as I mentioned, of the many beautiful experiences in families here in Rome – but also throughout the world – where your discreet and hardworking presence became a testimony of faith. In the footsteps of Mary and Joseph, for God loves to bring the joy of faith through humble, hidden, courageous and persevering service.

On this very important anniversary for God’s holy people in the Philippines, I also want to urge you to persevere in the work of evangelization – not proselytism, which is something else. The Christian proclamation that you have received needs constantly to be brought to others. The Gospel message of God’s closeness cries out to be expressed in love for our brothers and sisters. God desires that no one perish. For this reason, he asks the Church to care for those who are hurting and living on the fringes of life. God so loves us that he gives himself to us, and the Church has this same mission. The Church is called not to judge but to welcome; not to make demands, but to sow seeds; not to condemn, but to bring Christ who is our salvation.

I know that this is the pastoral program of your Church: a missionary commitment that involves everyone and reaches everyone. Never be discouraged as you walk this path. Never be afraid to proclaim the Gospel, to serve and to love. With your joy, you will help people to say of the Church too: “she so loved the world!” How beautiful and attractive is a Church that loves the world without judging, a Church that gives herself to the world. May it be so, dear brothers and sisters, in the Philippines and in every part of the earth.





Pope Francis General Audience 10.03.21

The Apostolic Journey to Iraq

Pope Francis - Who sells weapons today to the terrorists? - General Audience 10.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In the past few days, the Lord allowed me to visit Iraq, carrying out a project of Saint John Paul II. Never before has a Pope been in the land of Abraham. Providence willed that this should happen now, as a sign of hope, after years of war and terrorism, and during a severe pandemic.

After this Visit, my soul is filled with gratitude – gratitude to God and to all those who made it possible: to the President of the Republic and the Government of Iraq; to the country’s Patriarchs and Bishops, together to all the ministers and members of the faithful of the respective Churches; to the religious Authorities, beginning with the Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani, with whom I had an unforgettable meeting in his residence in Najaf.

I strongly felt a penitential sense regarding this pilgrimage: I could not draw near to that tortured people, to that martyr-Church, without taking upon myself, in the name of the Catholic Church, the cross they have been carrying for years. I felt it particularly seeing the wounds still open from the destruction, and even more so when meeting and hearing the testimony of those who survived the violence, persecution, exile… And at the same time, I saw around me the joy of welcoming Christ’s messenger; I saw the hope of being open to a horizon of peace and fraternity, summed up in Jesus’s words that were the motto of the Visit: “You are all brothers” (Mt 23:8).

The Iraqi people have the right to live in peace; they have the right to rediscover the dignity that belongs to them. Their religious and cultural roots go back thousands of years: Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilization. Historically, Baghdad is a city of primary importance. For centuries, it housed the richest library in the world. And what destroyed it? War. War is always that monster that transforms itself with the change of epochs and continues to devour humanity. But the response to war is not another war; the response to weapons is not other weapons. And I asked myself: who was selling the weapons to the terrorists? Who sells weapons today to the terrorists – which are causing massacres in other areas, let’s think of Africa, for example? It is a question that I would like someone to answer.

The response is not war, but the response is fraternity. This is the challenge not only for Iraq. It is the challenge for many regions in conflict and, ultimately, the challenge for the entire world is fraternity. Will we be capable of creating fraternity among us? Of building a culture of brothers and sisters? Or will we continue the logic Cain began: war. Brothers and sisters. Fraternity.

For this reason, we met and we prayed with Christians and Muslims, with representatives of other religions, in Ur, where Abraham received God’s call about four thousand years ago. God is faithful to His promises and guides our steps toward peace still today.

The ISIS occupation caused thousands and thousands of inhabitants to flee, among them many Christians of a variety of confessions and other persecuted minorities, especially the Yazidi. The ancient identity of these cities has been ruined. Now they are trying hard to rebuild. The Muslims are inviting the Christians to return and together they are restoring churches and mosques. Fraternity is there. And, please, let us continue to pray for them, our sorely tried brothers and sisters, so they might have the strength to start over. And thinking of the many Iraqis who have emigrated, I want to say to them: you have left everything, like Abraham; like him, keep the faith and hope. Be weavers of friendship and of fraternity wherever you are. And if you can, return.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us praise God for this historic Visit and let us continue to pray for that land and for the Middle East. In Iraq, despite the roar of destruction and weapons, the palm, a symbol of the country and of its hope, has continued to grow and bear fruit. So it is for fraternity: like the fruit of the palm, it does not make noise, but the palm is fruitful and grows. May God, who is peace, grant a future of fraternity to Iraq, the Middle East and the entire world!





Pope Francis Holy Mass Erbil Iraq 07.03.2021


Pope Francis Holy Mass Erbil 07.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Saint Paul has told us that “Christ is the power and wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:22-25). Jesus revealed that power and wisdom above all by offering forgiveness and showing mercy. He chose to do so not by displays of strength or by speaking to us from on high, in lengthy and learned discourses. He did so by giving his life on the cross. He revealed his wisdom and power by showing us, to the very end, the faithfulness of the Father’s love; the faithfulness of the God of the covenant, who brought his people forth from slavery and led them on a journey of freedom (cf. Ex 20:1-2).

How easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking that we have to show others that we are powerful or wise, into the trap of fashioning false images of God that can give us security. 

In the Gospel reading we have just heard (Jn 2:13-25), we see how Jesus drove out from the Temple in Jerusalem the moneychangers and all the buyers and sellers. Why did Jesus do something this forceful and provocative? He did it because the Father sent him to cleanse the temple: not only the Temple of stone, but above all the temple of our heart. We need to be cleansed of the deceptive securities that would barter our faith in God with passing things, with temporary advantages. We need the baneful temptations of power and money to be swept from our hearts and from the Church. How do we purify our hearts? By our own efforts, we cannot; we need Jesus. He has the power to conquer our evils, to heal our diseases, to rebuild the temple of our heart.

God does not let us die in our sins. Even when we turn our backs on him, he never leaves us to our own devices. He seeks us out, runs after us, to call us to repentance and to cleanse us of our sins. The Lord wants us to be saved and to become living temples of his love, in fraternity, in service, in mercy.

Jesus not only cleanses us of our sins, but gives us a share in his own power and wisdom. He liberates us from the narrow and divisive notions of family, faith and community that divide, oppose and exclude, so that we can build a Church and a society open to everyone and concerned for our brothers and sisters in greatest need. At the same time, he strengthens us to resist the temptation to seek revenge, which only plunges us into a spiral of endless retaliation. The risen Lord makes us instruments of God’s mercy and peace, patient and courageous artisans of a new social order. Christian communities made up of simple and lowly people become a sign of the coming of his kingdom, a kingdom of love, justice and peace.

The Lord promises us that, by the power of the resurrection, he can raise us, and our communities, from the ruins left by injustice, division and hatred. For he, like the Good Samaritan of humanity, wants to anoint every hurt, to heal every painful memory and to inspire a future of peace and fraternity in this land.

Even amid great poverty and difficulty, many of you have generously offered concrete help and solidarity to the poor and suffering. Today, I can see at first hand that the Church in Iraq is alive, that Christ is alive and at work in this, his holy and faithful people.

Dear brothers and sisters, I commend you, your families and your communities, to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, who was united to her Son in his passion and death, and who shared in the joy of his resurrection. May she intercede for us and lead us to Christ, the power and wisdom of God.




Pope Francis Holy Mass at Baghdad 06.03.21


Pope Francis Holy Mass Baghdad 06.03.21


Click here for the full transcript of the homily





Pope Francis Interreligious Meeting 06.03.21

Plain of Ur, Iraq


Pope Francis Interreligious Meeting Plain of Ur 06.03.21


Click here for the full speech






Pope Francis Meeting with Bishops, Priests, Religious, Consecrated Persons, Seminarians, Catechists
Syro-Catholic Cathedral of “Our Lady of Salvation” in Baghdad 05.03.2021


Pope Francis meeting with Bishops - Baghdad 05.03.21


Click here for the full speech





Pope Francis Video message 04.03.21 
on the upcoming Apostolic Journey to Iraq 
5 to 8 March 2021 


Pope Francis Video message ahead of visit to Iraq 04.03.2021


Click here for the full message







Pope Francis General Audience 03.03.21  

Prayer and the Trinity

Pope Francis - Prayer and the Trinity  - General Audience  03.03.21
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In our journey of catechesis on prayer, today and next week we will see how, thanks to Jesus Christ, prayer opens us up to the Trinity –to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - to the immense sea of God who is Love. It is Jesus who opened up Heaven to us and projected us into a relationship with God. It was he who did this: he opened up to us this relationship with the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We really did not know how to pray: what words, what feelings and what language were appropriate for God.

Not all prayers are equal, and not all are convenient: the Bible itself attests to the negative outcome of many prayers, which are rejected. Perhaps God at times is not content with our prayers and we are not even aware of this. God looks at the hands of those who pray: to make them pure it is not necessary to wash them; if anything, one must refrain from evil acts.

But perhaps the most moving acknowledgment of the poverty of our prayer came from the lips of the Roman centurion who one day begged Jesus to heal his sick servant. He felt totally inadequate: he was not a Jew, he was an officer in the detested occupying army. But his concern for his servant emboldens him, and he says: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed” (v. 8). It is the phrase we also repeat in every Eucharistic liturgy. To dialogue with God is a grace: we are not worthy of it, we have no rights to claim, we “limp” with every word and every thought... But Jesus is the door that opens us to this dialogue with God.

Why should humanity be loved by God? There are no obvious reasons, there is no proportion… So much so that most mythologies do not contemplate the possibility of a god who cares about human affairs; on the contrary, they are considered bothersome and boring, entirely negligible. Remember God’s phrase to his people, repeated in Deuteronomy: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us?” This closeness of God is the revelation! This is God’s closeness, that opens us up to dialogue with him.

A God who loves humanity: we would never have had the courage to believe in him, had we not known Jesus. It is the scandal – it is a scandal! - that we find inscribed in the parable of the merciful father, or in that of the shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep (cf. Lk 15). We would not have been able to conceive or even comprehend such stories if we had not met Jesus. What kind of God is prepared to die for people? Which one? What kind of God loves always and patiently, without demanding to be loved in return? What God accepts the tremendous lack of gratitude of a son who asks for his inheritance in advance and leaves home, squandering everything?

It is Jesus who reveals God’s heart. Thus Jesus tells us through his life the extent to which God is a Father. The paternity that is closeness, compassion and tenderness. Do not forget these three words, that are God’s style. It is his way of expressing his paternity towards us. It is difficult for us to imagine from afar the love with which the Holy Trinity is filled, and the depth of the reciprocal benevolence that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Eastern icons offer us a glimpse of this mystery that is the origin and joy of the whole universe.

Above all, it was beyond us to believe that this divine love would expand, landing on our human shore: we are the recipients of a love that has no equal on earth. The Catechism explains: “The sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God our Father”. And this is the grace of our faith. We really could not have hoped for a higher vocation: the humanity of Jesus – God who came close to us in Jesus - made available to us the very life of the Trinity, and threw wide open this door of the mystery of the love of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.












Care for Our Common Home - Laudato Si'
  
Care for our common home / Laudato Si / Climate Change





Pope Francis Message for 54th World Day of Peace 01.01.2021

A CULTURE OF CARE AS A PATH TO PEACE
Peace
For the full transcript click on the picture link above


Fratelli Tutti

Fraternity / Fratelli Tutti / All Brothers and Sisters

Fratelli Tutti on fraternity and social friendship.
The signs of the times clearly show that human fraternity and care of creation form the sole way towards integral development and peace.
May Saint Francis accompany the Church’s path of fraternity, among believers of every religion, and among all peoples.





https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/home/the%20Holy%20Rosary.png






Pope Francis - Christ is Alive! 

Pope Francis - Christ is Alive

Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive.