Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis General Audience 22.05.24  

We now conclude our cycle of catecheses on the virtues by reflecting on the virtue of humility, by which we acknowledge that we are creatures of God and strive to live accordingly. Humility is in fact the door to the other virtues and, with poverty of spirit, the first of the Beatitudes. We see this in a particular way in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her humility is seen not only in joyful acceptance of the Lord’s will, but also in charity toward her cousin Elizabeth, in perseverance beneath the cross, and in her prayerful presence among the Apostles in the Upper Room, as they awaited the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May her example and powerful intercession help us to overcome our temptations to pride, to follow humbly in the footsteps of Jesus, and to bear witness to the joy and peace of his Kingdom.

Let us pray for peace. We need peace. The world is at war. Let us not forget tormented Ukraine, which is suffering a great deal. Let us not forget Palestine and Israel: may it stop, this war. Let us not forget Myanmar. And let us not forget the many countries at war. Brothers and sisters, we must prayer for peace in this time of war all over the world.

Lastly, my thoughts go to the sick, the elderly, the newlyweds and the young people. May the Holy Spirit, whose presence in the Church we recalled on the recent Solemnity of Pentecost, dwell always in your hearts, and help you to be strong in faith, generous in charity and persevering in hope.

May the Lord bless you, may Our Lady keep you; Please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.


Pope Francis  General Audience  22.05.24  

Vices and Virtues - Humility

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

We will conclude this cycle of catechesis by looking at a virtue which is not part of the seven cardinal and theological virtues, but which is at the base of Christian life: this virtue is humility. It is the great antagonist of the most mortal of sins, namely arrogance. Whereas pride and arrogance swell the human heart, making us appear to be more than we are, humility restores everything to its correct dimension: we are wonderful creatures, but we are limited, with qualities and flaws. From the beginning, the Bible reminds us that we are dust, and to dust we shall return (cf. Gen 3:19); indeed, “humble” derives from humus, that is, earth. And yet the delirium of omnipotence, which is so dangerous, often arises in the human heart, and this dose us a great deal of harm.

It takes very little to free ourselves from of arrogance; it suffices to contemplate a starry sky to restore the correct measure, as the Psalm says: “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (8:3-4). Modern science enables us to extend the horizon much, much farther, and to feel the mystery that surrounds us and which we inhabit even more.

Blessed are the people who hold in their heart this perception of their own smallness! These people they are preserved from an ugly vice: arrogance. In His Beatitudes, Jesus starts precisely from them: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3). It is the first Beatitude, because it is at the base of those that follow: indeed, meekness, mercy, and purity of heart stem from that inner sense of smallness. Humility is the gateway to all the virtues.

In the first pages of the Gospels, humility and poverty of spirit seem to be the source of everything. The announcement of the angel does not happen at the doors of Jerusalem, but in a remote village in Galilee, so insignificant that people used to say, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46). But it is exactly from there that the world is reborn. The chosen heroine is not a little queen who grew up coddled, but an unknown girl: Mary. She herself is the first to be astonished when the angel brings God’s announcement. And in her hymn of prayer, it is indeed this wonder that stands out: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden” (Lk 1:46-48). God is – so to speak – attracted by the smallness of Mary, which is above all an inner smallness. And He is also attracted by our smallness, when we accept it.

From here on, Mary will be careful not to take centre stage. Her first decision after the angelic annunciation is to go and help, to go and serve her cousin. Mary heads towards the mountains of Judea to visit Elizabeth: she assists her in the last months of her pregnancy. But who sees this gesture? No-one, other than God. The Virgin does not seem to want to emerge from this concealment. Just as, when a woman’s voice from the crowd proclaims her blessedness: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” (Lk 11:27). But Jesus immediately replies: “Blessed rather are those that hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:28). Not even the most sacred truth of her life – being the Mother of God – becomes a reason for her to boast before men. In a world marked by the pursuit of appearance, of showing oneself to be superior to others, Mary walks decisively, by the sole power of God's grace, in the opposite direction.

We can imagine that she, too, has known difficult moments, days when her faith advanced in darkness. But this never made her humility waver, which in Mary was a granitic virtue. I want to highlight this: humility is a granitic virtue. Let us think of Mary: she is always small, always without self-importance, always free of ambition. This smallness of hers is her invincible strength: it is she who remains at the foot of the cross, while the illusion of a triumphant Messiah is shattered. It will be Mary, in the days leading up to Pentecost, who will gather up the flock of disciples, who had not been able to keep vigil just one hour with Jesus, and had abandoned Him when the storm came.

Brothers and sisters, humility is everything. It is what saves us from the Evil One, and from the danger of becoming his accomplices. And humility is the source of peace in the world and in the Church. Where there is no humility, there is war, there is discord, there is division. God has given us an example of this in Jesus and Mary, for our salvation and happiness. And humility is precisely the way, the path to salvation. Thank you!


Pope Francis  Holy Mass   19.05.24

Feast of Pentecost  

The account of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:1-11) shows us two areas of the Holy Spirit’s working in the Church: in us and in mission, with two characteristics: power and gentleness.

The Spirit’s work in us is powerful, as symbolized by the signs of wind and fire, which are often associated with God’s power in the Bible (cf. Ex 19:16-19). Without such power we would never be able to defeat evil on our own, nor overcome the “desires of the flesh” that Saint Paul refers to, those drives of the soul: “impurity, idolatry, dissension, and envy” (cf. Gal 5:19-21). They can be overcome with the Spirit who gives us the power to do so, for he enters into our hearts that are “parched, stiff and cold” (cf. Sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus). These drives spoil our relationships with others and divide our communities, yet the Spirit enters into our hearts and heals everything.

Jesus too shows us this when, prompted by the Spirit, he withdraws for forty days and is tempted in the desert (cf. Mt. 4:1-11). During that time his humanity also grows, is strengthened and prepared for mission.

At the same time, the Paraclete’s working in us is also gentle: powerful and gentle. The wind and the fire do not destroy or reduce to ashes whatever they touch: the one fills the house where the disciples are, and the other rests gently, in the form of flames, on the head of each. This gentleness, too, is a feature of God’s way of acting, one that we frequently encounter in the Scriptures.

It is reassuring to see how the same sturdy, calloused hand that first breaks up the clods of our passions, then gently, after planting the seeds of virtue, “waters” them and “tends” them (cf. Sequence). He lovingly protects these virtues, so that they can grow stronger and so that, after the toil of combatting evil, we may taste the sweetness of mercy and communion with God. The Spirit is like this: powerful, giving us the power to overcome, and also gentle. We speak about the anointing of the Spirit, the Spirit anoints us for he is with us. As a beautiful prayer of the early Church says: “Let your gentleness, O Lord, and the fruits of your love, abide with me” (Odes of Solomon, 14:6).

The Holy Spirit, who descended upon the disciples and remained at their side, that is, as the “Paraclete”, transformed their hearts and instilled in them “a serene courage which impelled them to pass on to others their experience of Jesus and the hope which motivated them” (SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Redemptoris Missio, 24). Peter and John would later testify before the Sanhedrin, after being told “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18): “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (v. 20). And they possessed the power of the Holy Spirit to speak of these things.

This is also true of us, who received the Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. From the “Upper Room” of this Basilica, like the Apostles, we too are being sent forth, particularly at the present time, to proclaim the Gospel to all. We are sent into the world “not only geographically but also beyond the frontiers of race and religion, for a truly universal mission” (Redemptoris Missio, 25). Thanks to the Spirit, we can and must do this with his own power and gentleness.

With the same power: that is, not with arrogance and impositions – a Christian is not arrogant, for his or her power is something else, it is the power of the Spirit – nor with calculation and cunning, but with the energy born of fidelity to the truth that the Spirit teaches us in our hearts and causes to grow within us. Consequently, we surrender to the Spirit, not to worldly power. We tirelessly proclaim peace to those who desire war, proclaim forgiveness to those who seek revenge, we proclaim welcome and solidarity to those who bar their doors and erect barriers, we proclaim life to those who choose death, we proclaim respect to those who love to humiliate, insult and reject, we proclaim fidelity to those who would sever every bond, thereby confusing freedom with a bleak and empty individualism. Nor are we intimidated by hardship, derision or opposition, which, today as always, are never lacking in the apostolate (cf. Acts 4:1-31).

At the same time that we act with this power, our proclamation seeks to be gentle, welcoming to everyone. Let us not forget this: everyone, everyone, everyone. Let us not forget the parable of those who were invited to the feast but did not want to go: “Go therefore to the streets and bring everyone, everyone, everyone, both the bad and the good, everyone” (cf. Mt 22:9-10). The Spirit grants us the power to go forth and call everyone with gentleness, he grants us the gentleness to welcome everyone.

All of us, brothers and sisters, are in great need of hope, which is not optimism; no, it is something else. We need hope. Hope is depicted as an anchor, there at the shore, and in clinging to its rope, we move toward hope. We need hope, we need to lift our gaze to horizons of peace, fraternity, justice and solidarity. This alone is the way of life, there is no other. Naturally, it is not always easy; indeed, there are times that the path is winding and uphill. Yet we know that we are not alone, we have the certainty that, by the help of the Holy Spirit and by his gifts, we can walk together and make that path more and more inviting for others as well.

Brothers and sisters, let us renew our faith in the presence of the Comforter, who is at our side, and continue to pray:

Come, Creator Spirit, enlighten our minds,

fill our hearts with your grace, guide our steps,

grant your peace to our world. Amen.

19.05.24 m

Pope Francis Regina Caeli  19.05.24 

Feast of Pentecost

The Holy Spirit is He who creates harmony, harmony! And He creates it from different, at times even conflictual, realities. Today, Feast of Pentecost, let us pray to the Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son, that He may create harmony in hearts, harmony in families, harmony in society, harmony in the entire world; may the Spirit make communion and fraternity grow between Christians of different denominations; give governors the courage to make gestures of dialogue, that lead to an end to wars. Today’s many wars: think of Ukraine – my thoughts go in particular to the city of Kharkiv, which suffered an attack two days ago; think of the Holy Land, of Palestine, of Israel; think of the many places where there are wars. May the Spirit guide the leaders of nations and all of us to open the doors to peace.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch, and arrivederci!

19.05.24 rc

The Gospel in your pocket 

How do we receive the Word of God? The response is clear: As one receives Jesus Christ. The Church tells us that Jesus is present in the Scripture, in His Word.

Always carry a small Gospel with you in your purse, in your pocket, and read a passage from the Gospel during the day. Not so much to learn something, but mostly to find Jesus, because Jesus actually is in His Word, in His Gospel.  Every time I read the Gospel, I find Jesus.  - Pope Francis 01.09.14

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Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   19.05.24

Feast of Pentecost

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

Today, Solemnity of Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles. In the Gospel of the liturgy, Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit and says that He will teach us “whatever He hears” (cf. Jn 16:13). But what does this expression mean? What has the Holy Spirit heard? What will He speak about?

He speaks to us with words that express wonderful sentiments, such as affection, gratitude, entrustment, mercy. Words that make us know a beautiful, luminous, concrete and lasting relationship such as the eternal Love of God: the words that the Father and the Son say to each other. They are precisely the transformative words of love, which the Holy Spirit repeats in us, and which it is good for us to listen to, because these words engender and make grow the same sentiments and the same intentions in our heart: they are fruitful words.

This is why it is important that we nourish ourselves every day with the Words of God, the Words of Jesus, inspired by the Spirit. And many times I say: read a passage from the Gospel, get a little pocket-sized Gospel and keep it with you, making the most of favourable moments to read it. The priest and poet Clemente Rebora, speaking of his conversion, wrote in his diary: “And the Word silenced my chatter!” (Curriculum vitae). The Word of God silences our superficial chatter and makes us say serious words, beautiful words, joyful words. “And the Word silenced my chatter!” Listening to the Word of God makes the chatter stop. This is how to give space in us to the voice of the Holy Spirit. And then in the Adoration – let us not forget the prayer of Adoration in silence - especially that which is simple, silent, like adoration. And there, saying good words within ourselves, saying them to the heart so as to be able to say them to others, afterwards, to each other. And in this way we see that they come from the voice of the Consoler, of the Spirit.

Dear sisters and brothers, reading and meditating on the Gospel, praying in silence, saying good words: they are not difficult things, no, we can all do them. They are easier than insulting, getting angry… And so, let us ask ourselves: what place do these words have in my life? How can I cultivate them, in order to listen better to the Holy Spirit, and become an echo of Him for others?

May Mary, present at Pentecost with the Apostles, make us docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

19.05.24 rc

Pope Francis May 2024

For the formation of men and women religious, and seminarians

Let us pray that men and women religious, and seminarians, grow in their own vocational journey through human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, that leads them to be credible witnesses of the Gospel.

Every vocation is a “diamond in the rough” that needs to be polished, worked, shaped on every side.

A good priest, sister or nun, must above all else be a man, a woman who is formed, shaped by the Lord’s grace, people who are aware of their own limitations, and willing to lead a life of prayer, of dedicated witness to the Gospel.

Beginning in the seminary and the novitiate, their preparation must be developed integrally, in direct contact with the lives of other people. This is essential.

Formation does not end at a certain moment, but continues throughout life, integrating the person intellectually, humanly, affectively, spiritually.

There’s also preparation to live in community – life in community is so enriching, even though it can be difficult at times.

Living together is not the same as living in community.

Let us pray that men and women religious, and seminarians, grow in their own vocational journey through human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, that leads them to be credible witnesses of the Gospel.

May 2024

Pope Francis Holy Mass 19.05.24 

Feast of Pentecost   

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