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05 2020



Pope Francis Regina Caeli  31.05.20 

Solemnity of Pentecost

Pope Francis Solemnity of Pentecost Regina Caeli 31.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, in memory of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian Community. Today's Gospel  (John 20: 19-23) takes us back to Easter evening and shows us the risen Jesus appearing in the Upper Room, where the disciples have taken refuge. They were afraid. "He stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you!" (see 19). These first words spoken by the Risen One: "Peace be with you" are to be considered more than a greeting: they express forgiveness, the forgiveness granted to the disciples who, to tell the truth, had abandoned him. They are words of reconciliation and forgiveness. And we too, when we wish peace to others, are giving forgiveness and also asking for forgiveness. Jesus offers his peace precisely to these disciples who are afraid, who find it difficult to believe what they have seen, that is, the empty tomb, and underestimate the testimony of Mary of Magdala and the other women. Jesus forgives, always forgives, and offers his peace to his friends. Don't forget: Jesus never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who get tired of asking for forgiveness.
By forgiving and gathering the disciples around them, Jesus makes them a Church, his Church, which is a reconciled and mission-ready community. The encounter with the risen Lord turns the lives of the Apostles upside down and turns them into courageous witnesses. In fact, immediately afterwards he says, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (v. 21). These words make it clear that the Apostles are sent to prolong the same mission that the Father has entrusted to Jesus. "I send you": it is not time to be locked up, nor to regret: to regret the "good times", those times passed with the Master. The joy of the resurrection is great, but it is an expansive joy, which should not be kept for itself, it is to give it.

And in order to inspire mission, Jesus gives the Apostles his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is fire that burns away sins and creates new men and women; he is the fire of love with which the disciples can set the world on fire, that love of tenderness that prefers the little ones, the poor, the excluded.
The feast of Pentecost renews the awareness that within us dwells the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. He also gives us the courage to go out of the protective walls of our "Upper Rooms", our groups, without getting used to a quiet life or closing ourselves up in sterile habits. Let us now raise our thoughts to Mary. She was there, with the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit came, the protagonist of the first Community of the wonderful experience of Pentecost, and let us pray that she may obtain for the Church an ardent missionary spirit.



Pope Francis Pentecost Message 31.05.20

Pope Francis Pentecost Message 31.05.20 Thy Kingdom Come
For the full transcript and video click on the picture link above



Pope Francis Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost 31.05.20

Pope Francis Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost 31.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor 12:4), as the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians. He continues: “There are different forms of service, but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone” (vv. 5-6). Diversity and unity: Saint Paul puts together two words that seem contradictory. He wants to tell us that the Holy Spirit is the one who brings together the many; and that the Church was born this way: we are all different, yet united by the same Holy Spirit.
Let us go back to the origin of the Church, to the day of Pentecost. Let us look at the Apostles: some of them were fishermen, simple people accustomed to living by the work of their hands, but there were also others, like Matthew, who was an educated tax collector. They were from different backgrounds and social contexts, and they had Hebrew and Greek names. In terms of character, some were meek and others were excitable; they all had different ideas and sensibilities. They were all different. Jesus did not change them; he did not make them into a set of pre-packaged models. No. He left their differences and now he unites them by anointing them with the Holy Spirit. With the anointing comes their union – union in diversity.

Let us now focus on ourselves, the Church of today. We can ask ourselves: “What is it that unites us, what is the basis of our unity?”. We too have our differences, for example: of opinions, choices, sensibilities. But the temptation is always fiercely to defend our ideas, believing them to be good for everybody and agreeing only with those who think as we do. This is a bad temptation that brings division.
We might think that what unite us are our beliefs and our morality. But there is much more: our principle of unity is the Holy Spirit. He reminds us that first of all we are God’s beloved children; all equal, in this respect, and all different. The Spirit comes to us, in our differences and difficulties, to tell us that we have one Lord – Jesus – and one Father, and that for this reason we are brothers and sisters!  Let us look at the Church with the eyes of the Spirit and not as the world does. The world sees us only as on the right or left, with one ideology or the other; the Spirit sees us as sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus. The world sees conservatives and progressives; the Spirit sees children of God. A worldly gaze sees structures to be made more efficient; a spiritual gaze sees brothers and sisters pleading for mercy. The Spirit loves us and knows everyone’s place in the grand scheme of things: for him, we are not bits of confetti blown about by the wind, rather we are irreplaceable fragments in his mosaic.
If we go back to the day of Pentecost, we discover that the first task of the Church is proclamation. Yet we also see that the Apostles devised no strategy. In the world, unless there is tight organization and a clear strategy, things fall apart. In the Church, however, the Spirit guarantees unity to those who proclaim the message.

The secret of unity in the Church, the secret of the Spirit is gift. It is important to believe that God is gift, that he acts not by taking away, but by giving. Why is this important? Because our way of being believers depends on how we understand God. If we have in mind a God who takes away and who imposes himself, we too will want to take away and impose ourselves: occupying spaces, demanding recognition, seeking power. If we realize that what we are is his gift, free and unmerited, then we too will want to make our lives a gift. By loving humbly, serving freely and joyfully, we will offer to the world the true image of God. 
There are, so to speak, three main enemies of the gift, always lurking at the door of our hearts: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism. Narcissism makes us idolize ourselves, to be concerned only with what is good for us. The narcissist thinks: “Life is good if I profit from it”. Victimhood, is equally dangerous. Victims complain every day about their neighbour: “No one understands me, no one helps me, no one loves me, everyone has it in for me!” The victim’s heart is closed. Finally, there is pessimism. Here the unending complaint is: “Nothing is going well, society, politics, the Church…”. The pessimist gets angry with the world, but sits back and does nothing, thinking: “What good is giving? That is useless”. We need the Holy Spirit, the gift of God who heals us of narcissism, victimhood and pessimism. He heals us from the mirror, complaints and darkness.
Let us pray to him: Holy Spirit, revive in us the memory of the gift received. Free us from the paralysis of selfishness and awaken in us the desire to serve, to do good. Even worse than this crisis is the tragedy of squandering it by closing in on ourselves. Come, Holy Spirit: you are harmony; make us builders of unity. You always give yourself; grant us the courage to go out of ourselves, to love and help each other, in order to become one family. Amen.



Pope Francis presides over the recitation of the Holy Rosary on the eve of Pentecost Sunday

Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens 30.05.20  

Pope Francis Holy Rosary 30.50.20


United in prayer to invoke the help and assistance of Our Lady in the pandemic, and to entrust the whole of humanity to the Lord.

Shrines all over the world will join in the prayer, with special participation on the part of families. Some women and men representing various categories of people particularly affected by the virus will pray the Mysteries.

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




Pope Francis  General Audience 27.05.20 

Prayer of the Just

Pope Francis Prayer of the Just 27.05.20 General Audience
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Let us dedicate today's catechesis to the prayer of the just.
God's plan towards humanity is for the good, but in our every day lives we experience the presence of evil: it is an everyday experience. The first chapters of the book of Genesis describe the progressive expansion of sin in human life. Adam and Eve (cf. Gen 3: 1-7) doubt God's good intentions, thinking they are dealing with a jealous god who prevents their happiness. Hence the rebellion: they no longer believe in a generous Creator, who desires their happiness. Their hearts, yielding to the temptation of the evil one, are taken in by the delirium of omnipotence: "When you eat the fruit of the tree, you will become like God . But the experience goes in the opposite direction: their eyes open and they discover that they are naked (see 7), they don't have anything. Don't forget this: the tempter is a bad payer, he pays badly.

Evil becomes even more disruptive with the second human generation: it is the story of Cain and Abel (cf. Gen 4: 1-16). And so the story of the first fraternity ends in a murder. I think, today, of human fraternity .... wars everywhere.
Cain's descendants develop crafts and arts, but violence also develops, expressed by the sinister song of Lamech, which sounds like a hymn of revenge. And so evil spreads like wildfire.
Yet, in these first pages of the Bible, another story is also written, less apparent, much more humble and devout, which represents the redemption of hope. Even though almost everyone behaves  atrociously, making hatred and conquest the great engine of human affairs, there are people capable of praying to God with sincerity, able to write the destiny of man in a different way. And finally there is the story of Noah, a just man who "walked with God".
Reading these stories, one gets the impression that prayer is an embankment, and man's refuge from the wave of evil that grows in the world. We also pray to be saved from ourselves. It is important to pray: "Lord, please, save me from myself, from my ambitions, from my passions." The prayers of the first pages of the Bible are men who work for peace: in fact, prayer, when it is authentic, liberates from the instincts of violence and is a gaze toward God, so that he might return to take care of the heart of man.
Prayer cultivates flower beds of rebirth in places where human hatred has only been able to sow a desert. And prayer is powerful, because it attracts the power of God and the power of God always gives life: always. He is the God of life, and he renews us.
That is why the God's lordship passes through the chain of these men and women, who are often misunderstood or marginalized in the world. But the world lives and grows thanks to the power of God that these servants attract with their prayers. It is important that children learn to pray. Perhaps, they will be forgotten, take another path; but the first prayers learned as a child remain in the heart, because they are a seed of life, the seed of dialogue with God.
God's path and God's story has passed down through the remnant  of humanity that has not conformed to the law of the strongest, but has asked God to perform his miracles, and above all to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.





Pope Francis Regina Caeli  24.05.20

  Solemnity of the Lord's Ascension

Pope Francis Solemnity of the Lord's Ascension Regina Caeli 24.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today, in Italy and in other countries, we celebrate the solemnity of the Lord's Ascension. The passage of the Gospel ( Mt 28: 16-20) shows us the Apostles who gather in Galilee, "on the mountain that Jesus had told them to go to" (v. 16). Here on the mountain the final meeting of the Risen Lord with his followers takes place. 

This time, on the mountain, he is no longer the Master who acts and teaches, but he is the Risen One who asks the disciples to act and to proclaim, entrusting them with the mandate to continue his work.

He invests them with the mission to all the people. He says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (28: 19-20). The contents of the mission entrusted to the Apostles are these: to proclaim, baptize, and to teach how to walk the path laid down by the Master, that is the living Gospel. This message of salvation implies first of all the duty of witness - without witness one cannot proclaim - to which we, today's disciples, are also called to explain the reason for our faith. Faced with such a demanding task, and thinking of our weaknesses, we feel inadequate, as the Apostles themselves surely felt. But we should not be discouraged, remembering the words Jesus addressed to them before ascending to Heaven: "I am with you always until the end of the age" (see 20). 

This promise ensures the constant and consoling presence of Jesus among us. But how is this presence be realized? Through his Spirit, which leads the Church to walk through history as a companion of every person. That Spirit, sent by Christ and the Father, works the remission of sins and sanctifies all those who are repentant and open themselves with confidence to his gift. 

Jesus is present in the world but in another style. A presence that is revealed in the Word, in the Sacraments, in the constant and inner action of the Holy Spirit. The feast of Ascension tells us that Jesus, although having ascended to Heaven to dwell gloriously at the right of the Father, is still and is always among us: this is the source of our strength, our perseverance and our joy, precisely from the presence of Jesus among us with the strength of the Holy Spirit.

May the Virgin Mary accompany our journey with her maternal protection: from her may we learn the gentleness and courage to be witnesses in the world of the Risen Lord.





Pope Francis  General Audience 20.05.20 

The Mystery of Creation

Pope Francis The Mystery of Creation 20.05.20 General Audience
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Let us continue the catechesis on prayer, considering the mystery of creation. Life, the simple fact that we exist, opens the heart of man to prayer.
The first page of the Bible resembles a great hymn of thanksgiving. God, with his word, calls into life, and everything enters existence. With the word, he separates light from darkness, alternates day and night, alternates the seasons, opens a colour palette with the variety of plants and animals. In this overflowing forest that quickly overcomes chaos, man finally appears. So good, but also beautiful: you see the beauty of all creation!
The beauty and mystery of creation generate in the heart of man the first movement that stirs prayer. 

This is how the Eighth Psalm, which we heard at the beginning, says: "When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man, that you care for him?" (Psalm 8: 4-5). Man in prayer contemplates the mystery of existence around him, he sees the starry sky that towers over him and wonders what the design of love must be behind such a wonderful work!... And, in this boundless vastness, what is man? "Almost nothing," says another Psalm (89: 48): a being who is born, a being that dies, a very fragile creature. Yet, throughout the universe, the human being is the only creature aware of so much profusion of beauty. A small being who is born, dies, here today and gone tomorrow, he is the only one aware of this beauty. We are aware of this beauty!
By nature we are almost nothing, today we are and tomorrow we are not, but by vocation, by our calling we are the children of the great King!
It's an experience that many of us have had. If the story of life, with all its bitterness, sometimes risks suffocating the gift of prayer in us, it is enough to contemplate a starry sky, a sunset, a flower, to rekindle the spark of thanksgiving. This experience is perhaps the basis of the first page of the Bible.

Starting from the great account of creation, someone begins to find reasons for thanksgiving, to praise God for existence. Prayer is the first force of hope. You pray and hope grows, it goes on. I would say that prayer opens the door to hope.
The men and women who pray know that hope is stronger than discouragement. They believe that love is more powerful than death, and that one day it will triumph, albeit in times and ways that we do not know. The men and women of prayer reflect light on their faces: because, even on the darkest days, the sun does not stop illuminating them. Prayer illuminates you: it brightens your soul, brightens your heart and brightens your face. Even in the darkest times, even in times of greatest pain.
We are all bearers of joy. Have you thought about this? Or do you prefer to bring bad news, things that are sad? This life is the gift that God has given us: and it is too short to consume it in sadness, in bitterness. We praise God, content simply to exist.  
We are the children of the Creator, able to read his signature in all creation; that creation that we do not care about today, but in that creation there is the signature of God who did it out of love. The Lord makes us understand this more and more deeply and leads us to say "thank you": and that "thank you" is a beautiful prayer.





Pope Francis  Holy Mass in Memory of the Centenary of the Birth of St John Paul II 18.05.20

Pope Francis Holy Mass in Memory of the Centenary of the Birth of St John Paul II 18.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

"The Lord loves his people" (Psalm 149: 4 ) we sang this refrain in the chorus and also a truth that the people of Israel repeated, they liked to repeat: "The Lord loves his people" and in difficult times, "the Lord loves" you have to wait to see how this love will manifest itself. When the Lord sent out of  this love a prophet, or a man of God, the reaction of the people was: "The Lord has visited his people"), because he loves them, he has visited them.
And today we can say here: a hundred years ago the Lord visited his people, sent a man, prepared him to be a bishop and lead the Church. By remembering St. John Paul II we repeat this: "The Lord loves his people," the Lord visited his people, sent a pastor.
And what are, let's say, "the traits" of a good shepherd that we can find in St. John Paul II? Many! But let's just talk about three.  Prayer, closeness to the people, and love for justice. St. John Paul II was a man of God because he prayed and prayed so much. He knew well that the first task of a bishop is to pray and this was not said by Vatican II, St Peter said it, when he made the Deacons with the Twelve, they said: "And to us bishops, prayer and the proclamation of the Word" (Acts 6: 4). A bishop's first task is to pray. And he taught us that when a bishop examines his conscience in the evening, he has to ask himself: how many hours today have I prayed?

The second trait, a man of closeness. He was not a man detached from the people, indeed he went to visit the people and travelled the whole world, finding his people, searching for his people, making himself close. And closeness is one of God's traits with his people. Let us remember that the Lord said to the people of Israel, "Look, what other people have their gods as close as I am with you?"  A shepherd is close to the people, on the contrary, if he is not, he is not a shepherd, he is a manager, he is an administrator, perhaps good but he is not a shepherd. And St. John Paul II gave us the example of this closeness: close to the great and the small, the neighbours and the distant, always close, he was close.
The third trait, a love for justice. But complete justice! A man who wanted justice, social justice, the justice for the people, justice to drive out war. For this reason St. John Paul II was a man of mercy because justice and mercy go together, they cannot be distinguished, they are together: justice is justice, mercy is mercy, but one without the other is not found. Let us think about how he promoted the devotion to Saint Faustina whose liturgical memory from today will be for the whole Church. He had felt that God's justice had this face of mercy, this attitude of mercy. And this is a gift that he has left us: justice in mercy and merciful justice.
Let us pray to him today, that he will grant to all of us, especially the pastors of the Church but to all, the grace of prayer, the grace of closeness and the grace of justice in mercy, merciful justice.






Pope Francis Regina Caeli  17.05.20 

Observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis Observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit - Regina Caeli 17.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

This Sunday's Gospel passage (John 14: 15-21) presents two messages: the observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus links love for him to the observance of the commandments, and he insists on this in his farewell address: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments".

Jesus asks us to love him, but he explains: this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling, no, it demands the willingness to follow his path, that is, the will of the Father. And this is summarised in the commandment of reciprocal love – the first love – given by Jesus himself: "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13: 34). He did not say, "Love me, as I have loved you," but "love one another as I have loved you." He loves us without asking us to do the same in return. Jesus love is gratuitous , he never asks us for love in return. And he wants his gratuitous love to become the concrete form of life among us: this is his will.
To help the disciples walk this path, Jesus promises that he will pray to the Father to send "another Paraclete" (v. 16), that is, a consoler, a defender who will take his place and give them the intelligence to listen and the courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, who is the Gift of God's Love that descends into the heart of the Christian. After Jesus died and rose again, his love is given to those who believe in him and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit himself guides them, enlightens them, strengthens them, so that everyone can walk in life, even through adversity and difficulty, in joys and sorrows, remaining in Jesus' path. This is possible precisely by remaining docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, through His presence at work in us, He can not only console but transform hearts, opening them to truth and love.

Faced with the experience of error and sin – which we all do – the Holy Spirit helps us not to succumb and enables us to grasp and live fully the meaning of Jesus' words: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments".
May the Virgin Mary help us to live the Gospel with joy, knowing that we are sustained by the Spirit, a divine fire who warms our hearts and illuminates our steps.






Pope Francis  General Audience 13.05.20 

Christian Prayer

Pope Francis Christian Prayer 13.05.20 General Audience
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we take the second step in the journey of catechesis on prayer, which began last week.
Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of all religions, and probably also to those who do not profess any religion. Prayer is born within the secrecy of ourselves, in that inner place that spiritual authors often call the heart.

Prayer is an impulse, it is an invocation that goes beyond ourselves: something that is born in the depths of our person and reaches out. Prayer is the voice of an "I" groping, groping, groping, in search of a "You". The meeting between the "I" and the "You" cannot be done with calculators: it is a human encounter and many times we proceed to grope to find the "You" that my "I" is looking for.
Christian prayer, on the other hand, comes from a revelation: the "You" has not been shrouded in mystery, but has entered into a relationship with us. The prayer of the Christian enters into a relationship with the God with a tender face, who does not want to incite any fear to men. Christians turn to Him daring to call him in a confident way by the name of "Father". Indeed, Jesus uses the other word: "Dad."
Christianity has banned all feudal relations from the connection with God. In the heritage of our faith there are no expressions such as "subjection", "slavery" or "vassal"; but words like "covenant," "friendship," "promise," "communion," "closeness."  Jesus says : "Everything you ask of my Father in my name, I will give you"!

God is the friend, the ally, the groom. In prayer we can establish a relationship of confidence with him. To God we can ask for anything, anything; to explain everything, to tell everything. It does not matter if in our relationship with God we feel at fault: we are not good friends, we are not grateful children, we are not faithful spouses. He continues to love us. 
God is a faithful ally: if men stop loving, he continues to love, even if love leads him to Calvary. God is always near the door of our hearts and waits for us to open. And sometimes he knocks on the heart but he is not intrusive: he waits. God's patience with us is the patience of a father, of one who loves us so much. I'd say, it's the patience of a dad and a mom together. Always close to our hearts, and when he knocks he does so with tenderness and with much love.
Let us place ourselves in prayer in the merciful arms of God, to feel embraced in that mystery of happiness to feel like guests who did not deserve so much honour. And let us repeat to God is it possible that You know only love? He doesn't know hate. He's hated, but he doesn't know hate. He only knows love. This is the God to whom we pray. This is the glowing core of every Christian prayer. The God of love, our Father who waits for us and accompanies us.






Pope Francis Regina Caeli  10.05.20

 Two remedies to being troubled and how to reach Heaven

Pope Francis Two remedies to being troubled and how to reach Heaven - Regina Caeli 03.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

In today's Gospel passage (John 14:1-12) we hear the beginning of Jesus' so-called "farewell discourse." These are the words he addressed to the disciples at the end of the last Supper, just before facing the Passion. In such a dramatic moment Jesus began by saying, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." He says it to us, too, in the dramas of life. But how can we make sure that our hearts are not troubled? Because our hearts do become troubled.

The Lord points out two remedies to being troubled. The first is, "Believe in me" (14: 1). It would seem to be rather theoretical, or abstract advice. Instead Jesus wants to tell us something specific. He knows that, in life, the worst anxiety, anguish, comes from the feeling of not being able to cope, from feeling alone and without points of reference when faced with events. This anguish, in which difficulties are added to difficulties, cannot be overcome alone. We need Jesus' help, and that is why Jesus asks us to have faith in him, that is, not to rely on ourselves, but on him. Because liberation from being troubled requires trust. Relying on Jesus, taking the leap.

And Jesus has risen and is alive precisely to be always by our side. So we can say to him, "Jesus, I believe that you have risen and that you are by my side. I believe that you are listening to me. I bring you what upsets me, my troubles: I have faith in you and I entrust myself to you."

Then there is a second remedy to being troubled, which Jesus expresses with these words: "In my Father's house there are many rooms.  I'm going to prepare a place for you" (14: 2). This is what Jesus did for us: he reserved us a place in Heaven. It is the certainty that consoles us: there is a reserved place for everyone. We are expected, we are precious. God is in love with us, we are his children. 

The dwelling place that awaits us is Paradise. Here we are passing through. We are made for Heaven, for eternal life.

But how to reach Heaven? What's the way? This is the decisive sentence of Jesus. Today he says: "I am the way" (14: 6). To ascend to Heaven the way is Jesus: it is to have a living relationship with him, it is to imitate him in love, it is to follow his steps. 

There are ways that do not lead to Heaven: the ways of worldliness, the ways of self-assertion, the ways of selfish power. And there is the way of Jesus, the way of humble love, of prayer, of meekness, of trust, of service to others. It is not the way that puts me at the centre, it is the way of Jesus being the centre of my life. It is to go ahead every day asking him: "Jesus, what do you think of my choice? What would you do in this situation, with these people?" It will do us good to ask Jesus, who is the way, for the directions to Heaven.
May Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, help us to follow Jesus, who opened Heaven for us.






Pope Francis  General Audience 06.05.20
 
The Mystery of Prayer

Pope Francis Prayer 06.05.20 General Audience
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we begin a new series of catechesis on the theme of prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith, it is its most proper expression. Like a cry that comes out of the heart of those who believe and trust in God. 

Let's think of the story of Bartimaeus, a character from the Gospel ( Mark 10: 46-52 ). He was blind, sitting begging on the side of the road on the outskirts of his city, Jericho. One day he hears that Jesus would pass by. He would do everything possible to meet Jesus. But he's completely alone, and no one cares. And what does Bartimaeus do? Cries out. And he calls out, and he keeps screaming. Using the only weapon in his possession: his voice. He begins to cry out, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" (10: 47). 

His repeated outcry is annoying, and does not seem polite, and many reproach him, telling him to be silent. But Bartimaeus is not silent, indeed, he cries even louder: "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!"  That so beautiful. The stubbornness of those who seek grace and knock, knock at the door of God's heart. That expression: "Son of David", is very important; it means "the Messiah". It is a profession of faith that comes out of the mouth of that man despised by everyone.

And Jesus hears his cry. Bartimaeus' prayer touches his heart, the heart of God, and the doors of salvation open for him. Jesus has him called. He sprang to his feet and those who used to tell him to remain silent, now lead him to the Master. Jesus speaks to him, asks him to express what he desires– this is important – and then the cry becomes a request: "May I see again, Lord!" (10: 51).
Jesus tells him, "Go, your faith has saved you"(10: 52). He recognizes in this poor, helpless, despised man, the power of his faith in its entirety, which attracts God's mercy and power.

Faith is having two hands raised, a voice crying out to implore the gift of salvation.

Faith is a cry; disbelief stifles that cry. That was the attitude of the people, who were trying to keep him quiet: they were not people of faith, he was. Faith is a protest against a painful condition for which we do not understand the reason; to disbelieve is to just suffer a situation that we have adapted to. Faith is the hope of being saved; disbelief is to get used to the evil that oppresses us and to continue like that.

 Around him there were people who explained that crying out was useless, that it would be an unanswered voice, that it was noisy and just disturbed, that would he please stop crying out: but he did not remain silent. And in the end he obtained what he desired.

Stronger than any argument to the contrary, in the heart of man there is a voice that prays. We all have this voice inside. A voice that comes out spontaneously, without anyone commanding it, a voice that questions the meaning of our journey here below, especially when we are in darkness: "Jesus, have mercy on me! Jesus, have mercy on me!" This is a beautiful prayer.

But perhaps, these words, are they not inscribed on all of creation? Everything prays and pleads for the mystery of mercy to find its ultimate fulfilment. It is not only Christians who pray: they share the cry of prayer with all men and women.This silent cry of creation, which presses into every creature and emerges above all in the heart of man, because man is a "beggar before God". It's a beautiful definition. Thank you.





Pope Francis Regina Caeli  03.05.20 
 
God's voice and the voice of the evil one 

Pope Francis God's Voice and the voice of the evil one - Regina Caeli 03.05.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

The fourth Sunday of Easter, which we celebrate today, is dedicated to Jesus the Good Shepherd. The Gospel says, "The sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep, by name" (John 10: 3). The Lord calls us by name, calls us because he loves us. But, the Gospel then tells us, there are other voices not to be followed: those of strangers, thieves and robbers who want evil for the sheep.
These different voices resonate within us. There is the voice of God, who speaks kindly to the conscience, and there is the tempting voice that leads to evil. How can we recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd from that of the thief, how can we distinguish God's inspiration from the suggestion of the evil one?
We can learn to discern these two voices: in fact they speak two different languages, that is, they have opposite ways of knocking on our hearts. They speak different languages. As we know how to distinguish one language from another, we can also distinguish the voice of God and the voice of the evil one. The voice of God never forces us: God proposes himself, he does not impose himself. Instead, the evil voice seduces, assails, forces: it arouses dazzling illusions, tempting emotions that are fleeting. At first it flatters us, it makes us believe that we are all-powerful, but then leaves us with emptiness inside and accuses us: "You are worth nothing". God's voice, on the other hand, corrects us, with so much patience, but always encourages us, consoles us: it always nourishes hope. The voice of God is a voice that has a horizon, instead the voice of the evil one leads you to a wall, it takes you to a corner.
Another difference. The voice of the enemy distracts us from the present and wants us to focus on the fears of the future or the sadness of the past – the enemy does not want the present –: it brings back the bitterness, the memories of the wrongs suffered, of those who hurt us, so many bad memories. Instead, God's voice speaks to the present: "Now you can do good, now you can exercise the creativity of love, now you can renounce the regrets and remorse that hold your heart captive." It enlivens us, it brings us forward, but it speaks of the present: now.
In addition: the two voices raise different questions in us. What comes from God will be, "What is good for me?" Instead, the tempter will insist on another question: "What do I want to do?" What would I like: the evil voice always revolves around the self, its impulses, its needs, everything and immediately. It's like the whims of children: everything right now. The voice of God, on the other hand, never promises cheap joy. It invites us to go beyond our self to find the true good, peace. Let us remember: evil never gives us peace, it puts frenzy first and leaves bitterness after. That's the style of evil.
Finally, the voice of God and that of the tempter, speak in different "environments": the enemy prefers darkness, falsehood, gossip; the Lord loves sunlight, truth, sincere transparency. The enemy will say to us: "Close yourself in on yourself, for no one understands you and listens to you, do not trust others!".  Good, on the other hand, invites us to open up, to be transparent and trusting in God and in others.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this time many thoughts and concerns lead us to turn inwards. Let us pay attention to the voices that reach our hearts. Let's ask ourselves where they come from. Let us ask for the grace to recognize and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, who brings us out of the enclosures of selfishness and leads us to the pastures of true freedom. May Our Lady, Mother of good Counsel, guide and accompany our discernment.