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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!

22.05.24



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  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  Meeting with Priests and Consecrated Persons  18.05.24

Pastoral visit to Verona


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

This Gospel image reminds us of at least two things I would like to dwell upon with you: the first is the call, the call received and always to be accepted; and the second is the mission, to be carried out with boldness.

The first foundation of our consecration and ministry: to accept the call we have received, to welcome the gift with which God has surprised us. If we lose this consciousness and this memory, we risk putting ourselves at the centre, instead of the Lord; without this memory we risk getting agitated about projects and activities that serve our cause more than that of the Kingdom; we even risk living the apostolate in the logic of self-promotion and consensus-seeking, trying to advance our career, and this is very bad, instead of spending our lives for the Gospel and for free service to the Church.

18.05.24 cpe



Pope Francis  General Audience  15.05.24  

Vices and Virtues - Charity


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

Today we will talk about the third theological virtue, charity. The other two, let us remember, were faith and hope: today we will talk about the third, charity. It is the culmination of the entire itinerary we have undertaken with the catecheses on the virtues. To think of charity immediately expands the heart, and it expands the mind, it evokes the inspired words of Saint Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians. Concluding that wonderful hymn, Saint Paul cites the triad of the theological virtues and exclaims: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13).

Paul addresses these words to a community that is anything but perfect in fraternal love: the Christians of Corinth were rather litigious, there were internal divisions, and there were those who claimed always to be right and did not listen to others, regarding them as inferior. Paul reminds them that knowledge puffs up, whereas charity builds up (cf. 1 Cor 8:1). The Apostle then records a scandal that touches even the moment of maximum union of a Christian community, the “Lord’s supper”, the Eucharistic celebration: even there, there are divisions, and there are those who take advantage of this to eat and drink, excluding those who have nothing (cf. 1 Cor 11:18-22). In the face of this, Paul gives a stark judgement: “When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat” (v. 20), you have another ritual, which is pagan, it is not the Lord’s supper.

Who knows, perhaps in the community of Corinth, no-one thought they had committed a sin, and those harsh words of the Apostle sounded somewhat incomprehensible for them. Probably they were all convinced they were good people, and if questioned on love, they would have answered that love was certainly a very important value for them, just like friendship or the family. In our days too, love is on the lips of many “influencers” and in the refrains of many songs. We speak a lot about love, but what is love?

“But the other love?”, Paul seems to ask to his Christians of Corinth. Not the love that rises, but the one that descends; not the one that takes, but the one that gives; not the one that appears, but the one that is hidden. Paul is concerned that in Corinth - as among us today too - there is confusion and that there is actually no trace of the theological virtue of love, the one that comes to us only from God. And if even in words everyone assures that they are good people, that they love their family and friends, in reality they know very little about the love of God.

The Christians of antiquity had several Greek words at their disposal to define love. In the end, the word “agape” emerged, which we normally translate as “charity”. Because in truth Christians are capable of all the forms of love in the world: they too fall in love, more or less as it happens to everyone. They too experience the benevolence that is felt in friendship. They too feel love for their country and the universal love for all humanity. But there is a greater love, a love which comes from God and is directed towards God, which enables us to love God, to become His friends, and enables us to love our neighbour as God loves him or her, with the desire to share the friendship with God. This love, because of Christ, drives us where humanly we would not go: it is the love for the poor, for those who are not lovable, for those who do not care for us and are not grateful. It is love for what no-one would love, even for one’s enemy. Even for the enemy. This is “theological”: this comes from God, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Jesus preaches, in the Sermon on the Mount: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (Lk 6:32-33). And he concludes: “But love your enemies” – we are used to speaking badly of our enemies – “love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish” (v. 35). Let us remember this: “Love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return”. Let us not forget this!

In these words, love reveals itself as a theological virtue and assumes the name of charity. Love is charity. We immediately realize that it is a difficult, indeed impossible love to practice if one does not live in God. Our human nature makes us love spontaneously what is good and beautiful. In the name of an ideal or a great affection we can even be generous and perform heroic acts. But the love of God goes beyond these criteria. Christian love embraces what is not lovable, it offers forgiveness – how difficult it is to forgive! How much love it takes to forgive! – Christian love blesses those who curse, whereas, faced with an insult or a curse, we are accustomed to replying with another insult, with another curse. It is a love so ardent that it seems almost impossible, and yet it is the only thing that will remain of us. Love is the “narrow gate” through which we will pass in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Because at the twilight of life, we will not be judged on generic love; we will be judged precisely on charity, on the real love we had. And Jesus says this to us, which is so beautiful: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). This is the beautiful thing, the greatest thing about love. Onwards and upwards!

15.05.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   12.05.24

Ascension of the Lord


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

And now, I would like to wish a happy Sunday to the young people of Genoa.

Today, in Italy and in other countries, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated. The Gospel of the Mass states that Jesus, after entrusting the task of continuing His work to the Apostles, “was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19). This is what the Gospel says: He “was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God”.

Jesus’ return to the Father appears to us not as His detachment from us, but rather like preceding us to the destination, which is Heaven. Just as, when in the mountains, one ascends to a summit: one walks, with difficulty, and finally, at a turn in the path, the horizon opens up and one sees the panorama. Then the whole body finds the strength to tackle the final ascent. The whole body - arms, legs and every muscle - tenses up and concentrates to reach the peak.

And we, the Church are precisely that body that Jesus, having ascended to Heaven, pulls along with Him, like a roped party. It is He who awakens us and communicates to us, with His Word and with the grace of the Sacraments, the beauty of the Homeland towards which we are headed. Hence, we too, His members – we are the members of Jesus – ascend with joy together with Him, our leader, knowing that the step of one is a step for all, and that no-one must be lost or left behind, because we are but one body (cf. Col 1:18; 1 Cor 12:12-27).

Listen carefully: step by step, one rung at a time, Jesus shows us the way. What are these steps that must be taken? Today’s Gospel says: “preach the Gospel, baptize, cast out demons, pick up serpents, lay hands on the sick” (cf. Mk 16:16.18); in summary, to perform the works of love: to give life, bring hope, steer away from any form of wickedness and meanness, respond to evil with good, be close to those who suffer. This is the “step by step”. And the more we do this, the more we let ourselves be transformed by the Spirit, the more we follow His example, as in the mountains, we feel the air around us become light and clean, the horizon broad and the destination near, words and gestures become good, the mind and heart expand and breathe.

And so we can ask ourselves: is the desire for God, the desire for His infinite love, for His life that is eternal life, alive in me? Or am I a bit dulled and anchored to passing things, or money, or success, or pleasure? And does my desire for Heaven isolate me, does it seal me off, or does it lead me to love my brothers and sisters with a big and selfless heart, to feel that they are my companions on the journey towards Paradise?

May Mary, She who has already arrived at the destination, help us to walk together with joy towards the glory of Heaven.

12.05.24



Pope Francis  Second Vespers   09.05.24  

Ascension of the Lord


Amid shouts of joy, Jesus ascends to heaven, where he takes his seat at the right hand of the Father. As we have just heard, he embraced death so that we might be heirs to life eternal (cf. 1 Pet 3:22). The Ascension of the Lord is not his separation or removal from us, but rather the fulfilment of his mission. Jesus first descended to us, so that we might ascend to the Father. He came down to us in order to raise us on high. He descended even to the depths of the earth, so that the gates of heaven might open wide above us. He destroyed our death, that we might receive life, forever.

This is the basis of our hope. Christ, in ascending to heaven, brings to the very heart of God our humanity, with all its hopes and expectations, so that that “we, his members, might be confident of following where he, our Head and Founder, has gone before” (Preface I of the Ascension of the Lord).

Brothers and sisters, it is this hope, based on Christ who died and rose again, that we wish to celebrate, ponder and proclaim to the whole world in the coming Jubilee, which is almost upon us. This hope has nothing to do with mere “human” optimism or the ephemeral expectation of some earthly benefit. No, it is something real, already accomplished in Christ, a gift daily bestowed upon us until the time when we will be one in the embrace of his love. Christian hope – as Saint Peter writes – is “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Pet 1:4). Christian hope sustains the journey of our lives, even when the road ahead seems winding and exhausting. It opens our eyes to future possibilities whenever resignation or pessimism attempt to imprison us. It makes us see the promise of good at times when evil seems to prevail. Christian hope fills us with serenity when our hearts are burdened by sin and failure. It makes us dream of a new humanity and gives us courage in our efforts to build a fraternal and peaceful world, even when it seems barely worth the effort. Such is hope, the gift that the Lord bestowed on us in Baptism.

Dear brothers and sisters, in this Year of Prayer, as we prepare for the celebration of the Jubilee, let us lift up our hearts to Christ, and become singers of hope in a culture marked by much despair. By our actions, our words, the decisions we make each day, our patient efforts to sow seeds of beauty and kindness wherever we find ourselves, we want to sing of hope, so that its melody can touch the heartstrings of humanity and reawaken in every heart the joy and the courage to embrace life to the full.

What we – all of us – need, then, is hope. Hope does not disappoint: let us never forget this. Hope is needed by the society in which we live, often caught up only in the present and incapable of looking to the future. Hope is needed by our age, caught up in an individualism that is frequently content merely to scrape along from day to day. Hope is needed by God’s creation, gravely damaged and disfigured by human selfishness. Hope is needed by those peoples and nations who look to the future with anxiety and fear. As injustice and arrogance persist, the poor are discarded, wars sow seeds of death, the least of our brothers and sisters remain at the bottom of the pile, and the dream of a fraternal world seems an illusion. Hope is needed by our young people, often confused and uncertain, yet desirous of living lives of happiness and fulfilment. Hope is needed by the elderly, no longer revered or listened to by a culture obsessed with efficiency and excess. Hope too is needed by the sick and those who suffer in body and spirit; they can find comfort in our closeness and care.

Furthermore, dear brothers and sisters, hope is needed by the Church, so that when she feels wearied by her exertions and burdened by her frailty, she will always remember that, as the Bride of Christ, she is loved with an eternal and faithful love, called to hold high the light of the Gospel, and sent forth to bring to all the fire that Jesus definitively brought to the world.

Each of us has need of hope in our lives, at times so weary and wounded, our hearts that thirst for truth, goodness and beauty, and our dreams that no darkness can dispel. Everything, within and outside of us, cries out for hope and continues to seek, even without knowing it, the closeness of God. To us it seems – as Romano Guardini once said – that ours is a time of distance from God, a time when the world gorges itself on material things and the word of the Lord goes unheard. Yet Guardini went on to say: “If, however, there comes a time, and it will come, once darkness has lifted, a time when people will ask God: ‘Lord, where were you?’, then they will once more hear his answer: ‘Closer to you than ever before!’ It may be that God is closer to our age than to the Baroque with its sumptuously decorated churches, to the Middle Ages with its rich profusion of symbols, to the Christianity of the origins with its youthful courage in the face of death… Yet God expects… that we remain faithful. From this, there may arise a faith that is no less firm, perhaps even more pure, and in any case more intense than it was even in the times of interior richness” (Die Annahme seiner selbst. Den Menschen erkennt nur, wer von Gott weiß, Mainz, 1987, 76-77).

Brothers and sisters, may the Lord, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, grant us the grace to rediscover hope, to proclaim hope and to build hope.

09.05.24



Pope Francis  General Audience  08.05.24  

Vices and Virtues - Hope


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

In the last catechesis we began to reflect on the theological virtues. There are three of them: faith, hope and charity. Last time, we reflected on faith. Now it is the turn of hope. “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1817). These words confirm to us that hope is the answer offered to our heart, when the absolute question arises in us: “What will become of me? What is the purpose of the journey? What is the destiny of the world?”.

We all realize that a negative answer to these questions produces sadness. If there is no meaning to the journey of life, if at the beginning and the end there is nothing, then we ask ourselves why we should walk: hence man’s desperation, the sensation of the pointlessness of everything, is born. And many may rebel: “I have striven to be virtuous, to be prudent, just, strong, temperate. I have also been a man or woman of faith.... What was the use of my fight, if it all ends here?”. If hope is missing, all the other virtues risk crumbling and ending up as ashes. If no reliable tomorrow, no bright horizon, were to exist, one would only have to conclude that virtue is a futile effort. “Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well” said Benedict XVI (Encyclical Letter Spe salvi, 2).

Christians have hope not through their own merit. If they believe in the future, it is because Christ died and rose again and gave us His Spirit. “Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present” (ibid., 1). In this sense, once again, we say that hope is a theological virtue: it does not emanate from us, it is not an obstinacy we want to convince ourselves of, but it is a gift that comes directly from God.

To many doubting Christians, who had not been completely born again to hope, the Apostle Paul sets before them the new logic of the Christian experience, and he says: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:17-19). It is as if he said: if you believe in the resurrection of Christ, then you know with certainty that no defeat and no death is forever. But if you do not believe in the resurrection of Christ, then everything becomes hollow, even the preaching of the Apostles.

Hope is a virtue against which we sin often: in our bad nostalgia, in our melancholy, when we think that the happiness of the past is buried forever. We sin against hope when we become despondent over our sins, forgetting that God is merciful and greater than our heart. And let us not forget this, brothers and sisters: God forgives everything, God forgives always. We are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness. But let us not forget this truth: God forgives everything, God forgives always. We sin against hope when we become despondent over our sins; we sin against hope when the autumn in us cancels out the spring; when God's love ceases to be an eternal fire and we do not have the courage to make decisions that commit us for a lifetime.

The world today is in great need of this Christian virtue! The world needs hope, just as it needs patience, a virtue that walks in close contact with hope. Patient men are weavers of goodness. They stubbornly desire peace, and even if some of them are hasty and would like everything, and straight away, patience is capable of waiting. Even when around us many have succumbed to disillusionment, those who are inspired by hope and are patient are able to get through the darkest of nights. Hope and patience go together.

Hope is the virtue of those who are young at heart; and here age does not count. Because there are also the elderly with eyes full of light, who live permanently striving towards the future. Think of the two great elderly people of the Gospel, Simeon and Anna: they never tired of waiting and they saw the last stretch of their earthly journey blessed by the encounter with the Messiah, whom they recognized in Jesus, brought to the Temple by His parents. What grace if it were like that for all of us! If after a long pilgrimage, setting down our saddlebags and staff, our heart were filled with a joy never before felt, and we too could exclaim: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace / according to thy word; / for mine eyes have seen thy salvation / which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, / a light for revelation to the Gentiles, / and for glory to thy people Israel” (Lk 2:29-32).

Brothers and sisters, let us go ahead and ask for the grace to have hope, hope with patience. Always look towards that definitive encounter; always look to see that the Lord is always near us, that death will never, never be victorious. Let us go ahead and ask the Lord to give us this great virtue of hope, accompanied by patience. Thank you.

08.04.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   05.05.24

Friendship


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

Today the Gospel tells us about Jesus who says to the Apostles: “I do not call you servants any longer, but friends” (cf Jn 15:15). What does this mean?

In the Bible the “servants” of God are special people, to whom He entrusts important missions, such as, for example, Moses (cf. Ex 14:31), King David (cf. 2 Sam 7:8), the prophet Elijah (cf. 1 Re 18:36), up to the Virgin Mary (cf. Lk 1:38). They are people in whose hands God places His treasures (cf. Mt 25:21). But all of this is not enough, according to Jesus, to say who we are for Him, it is not enough: He wants more, something greater, that goes beyond goods and plans themselves: it takes friendship.

Since childhood we learn how beautiful this experience is: we offer friends our toys and the most beautiful gifts; then, growing up, as teenagers, we confide our first secrets to them; as young people we offer loyalty; as adults we share satisfactions and worries; as seniors we share the memories, considerations and silences of long days. The Word of God, in the Book of Proverbs, tells us that “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (27:9). Let us think a moment of our friends, and thank the Lord for them! A space for thinking about them…

Friendship is not the fruit of calculation, nor of compulsion: it is born spontaneously when we recognize something of ourselves in the other. And, if it is true, a friendship is so strong that it does not fail even in the face of betrayal. “A friend loves at all times” (Pr 17:17) – states the Book of Proverbs again – as Jesus shows us when He says to Judas, who betrays Him with a kiss: “Friend, why are you here?” (Mt 26:50). A true friend does not abandon you, even when you make mistakes: he corrects you, perhaps he reproaches you, but he forgives you and does not abandon you.

And today Jesus, in the Bible, tells us that for Him we are precisely this, friends: dear people beyond all merit and expectation, to whom He extends His hand and offers His love, His Grace, His Word; with whom – with us, friends – He shares what is dearest to Him, all that He has heard from the Father (cf. Jn 15:15). Even to the point of making himself fragile for us, of placing Himself in our hands without defence or pretence, because He loves us. The Lord loves us, as a friend He wants our good and He wants us to share in his.

And so let us ask ourselves: what face does the Lord have for me? The face of a friend or of a stranger? Do I feel loved by Him as a dear person? And what is the face of Jesus that I show to others, especially to those who err and need forgiveness?

May Mary help us to grow in friendship with Her Son and to spread it around us.

05.05.24



Pope Francis  General Audience  01.05.24  

Vices and Virtues - Faith


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

Today I would like to talk about the virtue of faith. Together with charity and hope, this virtue is described as theologal. There are three theologal virtues: faith, hope and charity. Why are they theologal? Because they can be lived – this virtue, the three theologal virtues – only thanks to the gift of God. The three theologal virtues are the great gifts that God gives to our moral capacity. Without them, we could be prudent, just, strong and temperate, but we would not have eyes that see even in the dark, we would not have a heart that loves even when it is not loved, we would not have a hope that dares against all hope.

What is faith? This question: what is faith? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, it explains that faith is the act by which the human being freely commits himself to God (1814). In this faith, Abraham was the great father. When he agreed to leave the land of his ancestors to head for the land that God would show him, he would probably have been judged insane: why leave the known for the unknown, the certain for the uncertain? But why do this? It is insane, isn’t it? But Abraham sets off, as if he could see the invisible: this is what the Bible says about Abraham. “He went, not knowing where he was to go”. This is beautiful. And it will again be the invisible that makes him go up the mountain with his son Isaac, the only son of the promise, who only at the last moment will be spared from sacrifice. In this faith, Abraham becomes the father of a long line of descendants. Faith made him fruitful.

Moses was be a man of faith when, welcoming God’s voice even more than one doubt could have shaken him, he continued to stand firm and trust in the Lord, and even defend the people who were so often lacking in faith.

The Virgin Mary was a woman of faith when, receiving the annunciation of the Angel, which many would have dismissed as too demanding and risky, answered, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). And, with her heart full of faith, with her heart full of trust in God, Mary set out on a path of which she knew neither the route nor the dangers.

Faith is the virtue that makes the Christian. Because to be Christians is not first and foremost about accepting a culture, with the values that accompany it, but being Christian is welcoming and cherishing a bond, a bond with God: God and I, myself and the amiable face of Jesus. This bond is what makes us Christians.

With regard to faith, an episode of the Gospel comes to mind. Jesus’ disciples were crossing the lake, and are surprised by the storm. They think they can get by with the strength of their arms, with the resources of their experience, but the boat starts to fill up with water and they are seized by panic (cf. Mk 4: 35-41). They do not realize that they have the solution before their very eyes: Jesus is there with them on the boat, in the midst of the storm, and Jesus “was asleep”, says the Gospel. When they finally awaken Him, fearful and even angry that He would let them die, Jesus rebukes them: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (Mk 4:40).

Here, then, is the great enemy of faith: it is not intelligence, nor is it reason, as, alas, some continue obsessively to repeat; but the great enemy of fear. For this reason, faith is the first gift to welcome in Christian life: a gift that must be welcomed and asked for daily, so that it may be renewed in us. It is seemingly a small gift, yet it is the essential one. When we were brought to the baptismal font, our parents, after announcing the name they had chosen for us, were asked by the priest – this happened in our baptism: “What do you ask of the Church of God?” And the parents answered: “Faith, baptism!”

For Christian parents, aware of the grace that has been given them, that is the gift to ask for their child too: faith. With it, parents know that, even in the midst of the trials of life, their child will not drown in fear. See, the enemy is fear. They also know that, when the child ceases to have a parent on this earth, he will continue to have a God the Father in heaven, who will never abandon him. Our love is so fragile, and only God's love conquers death.

Certainly, as the Apostle says, faith is not for all (cf. 2 Thess 3:2), and we too, who are believers, often realize that we have only a short supply. Often Jesus can rebuke us, as He did with His disciples, for being “men of little faith”. But it is the happiest gift, the only virtue we are permitted to envy. Because those who have faith are inhabited by a force that is not only human; indeed, faith “triggers” grace in us and opens the mind to the mystery of God. As Jesus once said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you” (Lk 17:6). Therefore, let us too, like the disciples, repeat to Him: Lord, increase our faith! (Lk 17:5). It is a beautiful prayer! Shall we say it all together? “Lord, increase our faith”. Let us say it together  “Lord, increase our faith”. Too quiet… a bit louder:  “Lord, increase our faith”! Thank you.

01.05.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   28.04.24

Pastoral visit to Venice


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

Dear brothers and sisters!

From here, like every Sunday, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the many situations of suffering in the world.

I am thinking of Haiti, where a state of emergency is in force and the population is desperate due to the collapse of the healthcare system, the scarcity of food and the violence that is driving people to flee. Let us entrust to the Lord the work and decisions of the new Transitional Presidential Council, which took office last Thursday in Port-au-Prince, so that, with the renewed support of the international Community, it may lead the country to achieve the peace and stability it so badly needs.

I think of beleaguered Ukraine, Palestine and Israel, of the Rohingya and the many populations who suffer because of war and violence. May the God of Peace enlighten hearts so that the will for dialogue and reconciliation may grow in everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, thank you again for your welcome! Thank you to the Patriarch. I carry you with me in prayer; and you too, please, do not forget to pray for me, because this job is not easy!

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Pope Francis  Holy Mass  28.04.24

Pastoral visit to Venice


Jesus is the vine; we are the branches.  Like a patient farmer, God, the merciful and good Father, tenderly cultivates us so that our lives may be filled with much fruit. This is why Jesus urges us to safeguard the invaluable gift of our relationship with him, upon which our life and fruitfulness depend. He persistently repeats, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. […]  Abide in me, and I in you. […] He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (Jn 15:4-5). Only those who remain united with Jesus will bear fruit. Let us pause to consider this.

Jesus is about to conclude his earthly mission. At the Last Supper with those who will become his apostles, he entrusts to them several key words, along with the Eucharist. This is one of those words: “remain”, keep the connection with me alive, remain united to me as branches to the vine. Using this imagery, Jesus revisits a biblical metaphor that was well-known to the people and found in prayers, as in the psalm that says, “Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine” (Ps 80:15).  Israel is the vineyard that the Lord planted and cared for. When the people fail to produce the fruits of love that the Lord expects, the prophet Isaiah issues an indictment using the parable of a farmer who plows his vineyard, removed the stones, and planted choice vines, expecting it to produce good wine, but it yielded only sour grapes. The prophet concludes: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, the men of Judah, are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!” (Is 5:7). Jesus himself, drawing from Isaiah, recounts the dramatic parable of the murderous vineyard workers, highlighting the contrast between God’s patient work and his people’s rejection (cf. Mt 21:33-44).

Thus, while the metaphor of the vine expresses God’s loving care for us, it also warns us that if we sever this connection with the Lord, we cannot produce fruits of good life and we run the risk of becoming dry branches. It is a shame to become dry branches, those branches that get cast aside.

Brothers and sisters, against the backdrop of the image used by Jesus, I also think of the long history that links Venice to vineyards and wine production, the care of many viticulturists, and the numerous vineyards that arose on the islands of the Lagoon and in the gardens between the city’s alleys, and those in which monks produced wine for their communities. Within this historical memory, it is not difficult to grasp the message of the parable of the vine and the branches: faith in Jesus, the bond with him, does not imprison our freedom. On the contrary, it opens us to receive the sap of God’s love, which multiplies our joy, takes care of us like a skilled vintner and brings forth shoots even when the soil of our life becomes arid. And our heart often becomes arid.

Yet, the metaphor that came from Jesus’ heart can also be interpreted while thinking of this city built on water, recognized for its uniqueness as one of the most picturesque places in the world. Venice is one with the waters upon which it sits. Without taking care of and safeguarding this natural environment, it could even cease to exist. Similarly, our life is also immersed forever in the springs of God’s love. We were regenerated in Baptism, reborn to new life from water and the Holy Spirit, and grafted into Christ, like the branches in the vine. The sap of this love flows through us, without which we become dry branches, bearing no fruit. When Blessed John Paul I was Patriarch of this city, he once said that Jesus “came to bring people eternal life”. And he continued: “That life is in Him, and from Him it passes to His disciples, like sap rising from the trunk to the branches of the vine. It is a fresh water that He gives, a fountain always bubbling forth” (cf. A. Luciani, Venice 1975-1976. Complete Works. Speeches, writings, articles, vol. vii, Padova 2011, 158).

Brothers and sisters, this is what matters: to remain in the Lord, to abide in him. Let us reflect on this for one minute: to remain in the Lord, to abide in him. This verb — to remain — should not be interpreted as something static, as if it were telling us to stand still, parked in passivity. Indeed, it invites us to move, because to remain in the Lord means to grow in relationship with him, to converse with him, to embrace his Word, to follow him on the path of the Kingdom of God. It thus involves following him on a journey, letting ourselves be challenged by his Gospel, and becoming witnesses of his love.

Therefore, Jesus says that whoever remains in him bears fruit. And it is not just any fruit! The fruit of the branches where the sap flows is the grape, and from the grape comes the wine, which is a quintessentially messianic sign. Jesus, the Messiah sent by the Father, brings the wine of God’s love into the heart of humanity and fills it with joy. He fills it with hope.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is the fruit we are called to bear in our lives, in our relationships, in the places we visit every day, in our society, at work. As we gaze upon this city of Venice today, we admire its enchanting beauty. Yet, we are also concerned about the many issues that threaten it: climate change, which impacts the waters of the Lagoon and the land; the fragility of constructions, of the cultural heritage, but also of people; the difficulty of creating an environment that is fit for human beings through adequate management of tourism; and moreover, all that these realities risk generating in terms of frayed social relations, individualism, and loneliness.

And we Christians, who are branches united to the vine, the vineyard of God who cares for humanity and created the world as a garden so that we may flourish and make it flourish — how do we Christians respond? By remaining united to Christ, we can bring the fruits of the Gospel into the reality we inhabit: fruits of justice and peace, fruits of solidarity and mutual care; carefully-made choices to preserve our environmental and human heritage. Let us not forget the human heritage, our great humanity, the one that God took on, in order to walk with us.  We need our Christian communities, neighbourhoods, and cities to become hospitable, welcoming and inclusive places. Venice, which has always been a place of encounter and cultural exchange, is called to be a sign of beauty available to all, starting with the least, a sign of fraternity and care for our common home. Venice, a land that makes brothers and sisters. Thank you.

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Pope Francis  Meeting with Young People  28.04.24

Pastoral visit to Venice


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! Even the sun is smiling!

It's wonderful to see you! Being together allows us to share the wonder that we are, even if just through a prayer, a look, and a smile. Indeed, we have all received a great gift, that of being God’s beloved children, and we are called to fulfill the Lord's dream: to bear witness and live His joy. There is nothing more beautiful. Have you ever had an experience so beautiful that you couldn't keep it to yourself but felt compelled to share it with others? We all have this experience, an experience so beautiful that one feels the need to share it. That’s why we are here today: to rediscover in the Lord the beauty that we are and to rejoice in the name of Jesus, a youthful God who loves young people and always surprises us. Our God always surprises us. Have you understood this? It is very important to be prepared for God’s surprises!

Friends, here in Venice, a beautiful city, we live together a beautiful moment of encounter. Tonight, when each of us will be at home, and then tomorrow and in the days to come, where do we start to welcome the beauty that we are and to embrace, where do we start to grasp this beauty? I suggest two verbs, to start again, two verbs that are both practical and maternal: two verbs indicating movement that animated the young heart of Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother. To spread the joy of the Lord and to help those in need, she "arose and went" (Lk 1:39). Arise and go. Do not forget these two verbs that Our Lady experienced before us.

First of all, arise. Get up from the ground, because we are made for Heaven. Rise from sadness to lift our gaze upward. Rise to stand in front of life, not to sit on the couch. Have you thought, imagined, what is a young person who spends his or her life sitting on the couch? Have you imagined this? Imagine this; and there are several “couches” that take hold of us and do not let us get up again. Arise to say "here I am!" to the Lord, who believes in us. Stand up to welcome the gift that we are, to recognize, before anything else, that we are precious and irreplaceable. “But father, Pope, or Mr. Pope, no, it’s not true, I am ugly…”. No, no, no-one is ugly, every one of us is beautiful and has a treasure within, a beautiful treasure to share and give to others. Do you agree about this or not? And this, listen carefully, is not self-esteem, no, it is reality! Recognizing this is the first step we should take in the morning when we wake up: get out of bed and accept yourself as a gift. You arise, and before diving into things to do, recognize who you are by thanking the Lord. You can say, "My God, thank you for life. My God, make me fall in love with my life”. Acknowledge who you are and thank the Lord. You can say to Him, “My God, thank you for life. My God, make me fall in love with life, with my life. My God, You are my life. My God, help me today for this, for that… You know, my God, I am in love, I am in love, help me, help me to make this love grow and then end up as a beautiful couple”. One can say so many beautiful things to the Lord. Then, pray the Our Father, where the first word is the key to joy. We say "Father" and recognize ourselves as a beloved son or beloved daughter. Remember that for God, you are not a digital profile, but a child, that you have a Father in heaven and therefore you are a child of heaven. “But, Father, this is too romantic!”. No, it is reality, dear friend, but we must discover it in our life, not in books, in life, in our life.

Yet, often we find ourselves fighting against a negative gravitational force that pulls down, an oppressive inertia that wants us to see everything in a shade of gray. At times this happens. What should we do? In order to arise – let's not forget – first we must let ourselves be picked up. May we allow the Lord to take us by the hand, since He never disappoints those who trust in Him, but always lifts up and forgives. You might say, "But I am not up to it: I feel fragile, weak, a sinner, I often fall!" But when you feel this way, please, change your “mindset”: do not look at yourself with your eyes, but think of how God looks upon you. When you make a mistake and fall, what does He do? He stands there, right next to you and smiles, ready to take your hand and lift you up. This is something beautiful: He is always there to lift you up.

I will tell you something that this suggests to me. Is it nice to look down at someone from above? Is it good or not good? No, it is not good. But when can one look down at a person from above, when? In order to help them up. The only time we can look down at a person from above, with beauty, is when we help them to get up. And this is what Jesus does with us, when we fall. He looks down on us from above. This is beautiful. Do you not believe it? Open the Gospel and see what He did with Peter, with Mary Magdalene, with Zacchaeus, and with many others: He worked miracles with their fragilities. The Lord works miracles with our fragilities.

And, somewhat in passing: do you read the Gospel? I will give you a piece of advice. Do you have a pocket copy of the Gospel? Always carry it with you and, at any time, open it and read a small passage. Always carry the little pocket Gospel with you. Agreed? [They answer: “Yes!”]. Onwards and upwards!

God knows that, besides being beautiful, we are fragile, and the two things go together. It is a bit like Venice, which is splendid and delicate at the same time. It is beautiful and delicate; it has some fragilities that need to be cared for. God does not hold our mistakes against us: “You have done this, you have done that…”. He does not hold this against us, but extends His hand. “But, Father, I have many, many things I am ashamed of”. But do not look at yourself, look at the hand that God extends to lift you up! Do not forget this: if you feel the weight of your conscience, look at the Lord and let yourself be taken by His hand. When we are down, He sees children to lift up, not evildoers to punish. Please, trust in the Lord! This is becoming a bit long, are you getting bored? [They answer: “No!”]. You are polite, good!

Once we have arisen, it is up to us to stay on our feet. First, we get up, then we stay on our feet, “remain” when we feel like sitting down, letting go, or giving up. It is not easy, but this is the secret. Yes, the secret to great achievements is perseverance. It is true that at times there is this fragility that pulls you down, but perseverance is what carries you forward, it is the secret. Today we live on quick emotions, momentary sensations, instincts that last for mere moments. Yet, we do not advance far this way. Sporting champions, as well as artists and scientists, show that great achievements are not reached in an instant or all at once. If this is true for sports, art, and culture, it is even truer for what matters most in life. What matters most in life? Love, faith. And to grow in faith and in love, we must persevere and keep going forward. Instead, here the risk is to leave everything to improvisation: I pray if I feel like it; I go to Mass when I feel like it; I do good if I feel up to it. This does not yield results: we need to persevere, day after day. We must do it together, because togetherness always helps us go forward. Together: “do-it-yourself” does not work in big things. That's why I tell you: don't isolate yourself, but seek others, experience God together, find a group to walk with so you don’t grow tired. You might say, “But around me, everyone is on their own with their cellphone, glued to social media and video games”. Yet, you must fearlessly go against the current: take life into your hands, get involved; turn off the TV and open the Gospel – is this too much? Put the cellphone down, and meet people! The cell phone is very useful, to communicate, it is useful, but be careful when the cellphone prevents you from meeting people. You can use the cellphone, that’s fine; but meet people. You know what an embrace, a kiss, a handshake is: people. Do not forget this: use the cellphone, but meet people.

I seem to hear your objection: “It's not easy, Father; it’s like swimming against the current!”. But you can’t say this here in Venice, because Venice itself tells us that only by rowing consistently can we go far. If you are Venetian citizens, you learn to row consistently in order to go far! Of course, rowing requires regularity; but perseverance brings rewards, even if the path is difficult. So, boys and girls, this is what it means to arise: letting yourself be taken by the hand by God to walk together!

And after getting up, go. To go means making oneself a gift, giving oneself to others, the capacity to fall in love; and this is a beautiful thing: a young woman, a young man who does not feel the capacity to fall in love or to be loving towards others, is missing something. Go towards people, walk, go forward.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, I am coming to an end, don’t worry!

Think of our Father, who created everything for us, God, who gave us everything: and we, who are His children, for whom do we create something beautiful? We live immersed in man-made products, which make us lose our awe for the beauty that surrounds us. Yet, creation invites us to be creators of beauty ourselves. Please, do not forget this: being creators of beauty, to create something that did not exist before. This is beautiful! And when you are married and have a son, a daughter, you will have made something that did not exist previously! And this is the beauty of youth, when it becomes maternity or paternity: making something that did not exist before. This is beautiful. Think within yourselves of the children you will have, and this must drive us forward. Do not be professionals of compulsive typing, but creators of new things! A prayer made with the heart, a page you write yourself, a dream you realize, a gesture of love for someone who cannot reciprocate. This is creating, imitating the style of God, who creates. It is the style of gratuitousness, which brings us out of the nihilistic logic of “I do to have” and “I work to earn”. This must be done – doing to have and working to earn – but it must not be the centre of your life. The centre is gratuitousness: bring to life a symphony of gratuitousness in a world that seeks profit! Then you will be revolutionaries. Go, give yourself without fear!

Young person who wants to take your life in your hands, arise! Open your heart to God, thank Him, and embrace the beauty that you are; fall in love with your life. Then go! Arise, fall in love, and go! Go out, and walk together with others; look for those who are alone, color the world with your creativity, and paint the streets of life with the Gospel. Please, paint the streets of life with the Gospel! Arise and go. Let us say it all together, for each other! [They repeat: “Arise and go!”]. I can’t hear you… [They repeat loudly: “Arise and go!”]. I like that! Jesus extends this invitation to you. He, to many people He helped and healed, said: "Arise and go" (cf. Lk 17:19). Listen to His call, repeat it inside you, and keep it in your heart. Arise and go! And what was it? [“Arise and go!”]. Thank you!

28.04.24 ym



Pope Francis  Meeting with Artists  28.04.24

Pastoral visit to Venice


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

I very much wanted to come to the Venice Art Biennale to return a visit, as is the good custom among friends. Last June, in fact, I had the joy of welcoming a large group of artists to the Sistine Chapel. Now I am coming “to your home” to meet you personally, to feel even closer to you and, in this way, to thank you for what you are and what you do. And at the same time, at the outset, I would like to send everyone this message: the world needs artists. This is demonstrated by the multitude of people of all ages who frequent art venues and events; I like to remember among them the Vatican Chapels, the first Pavilion of the Holy See built six years ago on the Island of San Giorgio, in collaboration with the Cini Foundation, as part of the Biennale of Architecture.

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Pope Francis  Meeting with Female Inmates  28.04.24

Pastoral visit to Venice


Dear sisters, dear brothers! We are all brothers and sisters, all of us, and no-one can disown the other, no-one!

I greet you all affectionately, especially you sisters, detainees in the Giudecca Women’s Prison. I very much wanted to meet you at the beginning of my visit to Venice to tell you that you have a special place in my heart.

I would like, therefore, for us to experience this moment not so much as an “official visit”, but rather as an encounter in which, thanks be to God, we can give each other time, prayer, closeness and fraternal affection. Today we will all leave this courtyard richer – perhaps I am the one who will leave the richer - and the good we will exchange will be precious.

It is the Lord who wants us to be together at this moment, having arrived by different paths, some very painful, also because of mistakes for which, in various ways, each person bears wounds and scars, every person bears scars. And God wants us together because He knows that each of us, here, today, has something unique to give and to receive, and that we are all in need of it. Each one of us has his or her own uniqueness, he or she has a gift and this is to be offered, to be shared.

Prison is a harsh reality, and problems such as overcrowding, the lack of facilities and resources, and episodes of violence, give rise to a great deal of suffering there. But it can also become a place of rebirth, of moral and material rebirth, where the dignity of women and men is not “placed in isolation”, but promoted through mutual respect and the nurturing of talents and abilities, perhaps dormant or imprisoned by the vicissitudes of life, but which can re-emerge for the good of all and which deserve attention and trust. No-one can take away a person’s dignity, no-one!

So, paradoxically, a stay in prison can mark the beginning of something new, through the rediscovery of the unsuspected beauty in us and in others, as symbolized by the artistic event you are hosting and the project to which you actively contribute; it can become a building site for reconstruction, in which to courageously look at and evaluate one’s own life, remove what is not needed, what is cluttering, harmful or dangerous, draw up a plan, and then start again by digging foundations and going back, in the light of experience, to putting brick upon brick, together, with determination. Therefore, it is fundamental also for the prison system to offer detainees the tools and room for human growth, for spiritual, cultural and professional growth, creating the conditions for their healthy reintegration. Please, do not “isolate dignity”, do not isolate dignity, but give new possibilities!

Let us not forget that we have all made mistakes to be forgiven, and have wounds to heal, myself included; and that we can all become the healed who bring healing, the forgiven who bring forgiveness, the reborn who bring rebirth.

Dear friends, let us renew today, you and I, together, our trust in the future: do not close the window, please; always look at the horizon, always look to the future, with hope. I like to think that hope is like an anchor, you know, which is anchored in the future, and we have the rope in our hands and go forward with the rope anchored in the future. Let us propose to begin each day by saying, “now is the right time”, today, “today is the right day” today, (cf. 2 Cor 6:2), “today I will start again”, always, for the rest of my life!

Thank you for this meeting, and I assure every one of you of my prayer. And you, pray for me, but please, not against me!

And this is the gift I will leave you. Look, it has something of the tenderness of the mother, and Mary has this tenderness with all of us, with all of us, she is the mother of tenderness. Thank you.

And now they are sending me away! Thank you, thank you very much, I will remember you! And keep going forward, bravely, don’t give up – onward with courage!

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Pope Francis  General Audience  24.04.24  

Vices and Virtues - Virtues


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

In recent weeks we have reflected on the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. They are the four cardinal virtues. As we have emphasized several times, these four virtues belong to a very ancient wisdom that predates even Christianity. Even before Christ, honesty was preached as a civic duty, wisdom as the rule for actions, courage as the fundamental ingredient for a life that tends towards the good, and moderation as the necessary measure not to be overwhelmed by excesses. This patrimony that is so ancient, the patrimony of humanity has not been replaced by Christianity, but focused on, enhanced, purified, and integrated in the faith.

There is therefore in the heart of every man and woman the capacity to seek the good. The Holy Spirit is given so that those who receive it can clearly distinguish good from evil, have the strength to adhere to good by shunning evil, and, in so doing, achieve full self-realization.

But in the journey that we are all making towards the fullness of life, which belongs to the destiny of every person – the destiny of each person is fulness, to be full of life – the Christian enjoys special assistance from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus. It is implemented through the gift of three other, distinctly Christian virtues, which are often mentioned together in the New Testament writings. These fundamental attributes, which characterize the life of the Christian, are three virtues that we often speak of together: faith, hope and charity.

Let’s say it together: faith, hope… I don’t hear anything! Louder!Faith, hope, and charity! Good job!

Christian writers soon called them “theological” virtues, insofar as they are received and lived out in relationship with God, to differentiate them from the other four, called “cardinal” insofar as they constitute the “hinge” [It., “cardine”] of a good life. These three are received in Baptism and come from the Holy Spirit. The one and the other, both the theological and the cardinal, put together in so many systematic reflections, have thus composed a wonderful septenary, which is often contrasted with the list of the seven deadly sins. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the action of the theological virtues: “the theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being” (n. 1813).

While the risk of the cardinal virtues is of generating men and women who are heroic in doing good, but all alone, isolated, the great gift of the theological virtues is existence lived in the Holy Spirit. The Christian is never alone. He does good not because of a titanic effort of personal commitment, but because, as a humble disciple, he walks in the footsteps of Jesus, the Master. He goes forward on the way. The Christian has the theological virtues, which are the great antidote to self-sufficiency. How often do certain morally irreproachable men and women run the risk of becoming conceited and arrogant in the eyes of those who know them! It is a danger that the Gospel rightly warns us against, when Jesus advises the disciples: “You too, when you have done all that you have been commanded, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done what we ought to have done’” (Lk 17:10). Pride is a poison, a powerful poison: a drop of it is enough to spoil a whole life marked by goodness. A person may have performed a mountain of good deeds, may have reaped accolades and praise, but if he has done all this only for himself, to exalt himself, can he still call himself a virtuous person? No!

Good is not only an end, but also a means. Goodness needs a lot of discretion, a lot of kindness. Above all, goodness needs to be stripped of that sometimes too cumbersome presence that is our ego. When our “I” is at the centre of everything, everything is ruined. If we perform every action in life only for ourselves, is this motivation really so important? The poor “I” takes hold of everything and thus pride is born.

To correct all these situations, which sometimes become painful, the theological virtues are of great help. They are especially so in times of falling, because even those with good moral intentions sometimes fall We all fall in life, because we are all sinners. Just as even those who practice virtue daily sometimes make mistakes; we all make mistakes in life: intelligence is not always clear, will is not always firm, passions are not always governed, courage does not always overcome fear. But if we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit – the Master of the interior life – He revives the theological virtues in us: then, if we have lost confidence, God reopens us to faith; with the strength of the Spirit, if we have lost confidence, God reopens us to faith; if we are discouraged, God awakens hope in us; and if our heart is hardened, God softens it with His love. Thank you.

24.04.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   21.04.24

Good Shepherd Sunday


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

This Sunday, is dedicated to Jesus the Good Shepherd. In today's Gospel (cf. Jn 10:11-18), Jesus tells us that, "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (v. 11). He highlights this aspect so much that He repeats it three times (cf. vv. 11, 15, 17). But in what sense, I ask myself, does the shepherd give his life for the sheep?

Being a shepherd, especially in Christ’s time, was not just a job, it was a way of life: it was not an occupation which took up a defined amount of time, but it meant sharing entire days, and even nights, with the sheep, living- I would say- in symbiosis with them. Indeed, Jesus explains that He is not a hired man who cares nothing for the sheep (cf. v. 13), but a man who knows them (cf. v. 14): He knows the sheep. This is the way things are, He, the Lord, the shepherd of us all, calls us by our name and, when we are lost, He looks for us until He finds us (cf. Lk 15:4-5). Moreover, Jesus is not just a good shepherd who shares the life of the flock; Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has sacrificed His life for us and, has given us His Spirit through His resurrection. 

This is what the Lord wants to tell us with the image of the Good Shepherd: not only that He is the guide, the Head of the flock, but above all that He thinks about every one of us, and that He thinks of each of us as the love of His life. Consider this: for Christ, I am important, He thinks of me, I am irreplaceable, worth the infinite price of His life. And this is not just a way of speaking: He truly gave His life for me, He died and rose again for me. Why? Because He loves me and He finds in me a beauty that I often do not see myself. 

Brothers and sisters, how many people today think of themselves as inadequate or even wrong! How many times do we think that our value depends on the goals we achieve, on whether we succeed in the eyes of the world, on the judgments of others! And how many times do we end up throwing ourselves away for trivial things! Today Jesus tells us that we are always infinitely worthy in His eyes. So, in order to find ourselves, the first thing to do is to place ourselves in His presence, allowing ourselves to be welcomed and lifted up by the loving arms of our Good Shepherd. 

Brothers, sisters, let us ask ourselves: am I able to find the time, every day, to embrace this assurance that gives value to my life? Am I able to find the time for a moment of prayer, of adoration, of praise, to be in the presence of Christ and to let myself be caressed by Him? Brother, sister, the Good Shepherd tells us that if you do this, you will rediscover the secret of life: you will remember that He gave His life for you, for me, for all of us. And that for Him, we are all important, each and every one of us.

May Our Lady help us to find in Jesus what is essential for life.

21.04.24



Pope Francis  General Audience  17.04.24  

Vices and Virtues - Temperance


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

Today I will talk about the fourth and final cardinal virtue: temperance. With the other three, this virtue shares a history that goes far back in time and does not only belong to Christians. For the Greeks, the practice of the virtues had happiness as its objective. The philosopher Aristotle wrote his most important treatise on ethics, addressing it to his son Nicomachus, to instruct him in the art of living. Why does everyone seek happiness, even though so few achieve it? This is the question. To answer this question, Aristotle confronts the theme of the virtues, among which enkráteia, that is, temperance, takes a prominent place. The Greek term literally means “power over oneself”. So, temperance is a power over oneself. This virtue is thus the capacity for self-mastery, the art of not letting oneself be overcome by rebellious passions, of establishing order in what Manzoni calls “the jumble of the human heart”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods”. The Catechism continues, “It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion, and does not follow the base desires, but restrains the appetites” (1809).

Therefore, temperance, as the Italian word says, is the virtue of the right measure. In every situation, one behaves wisely, because people who act always moved by impulse or exuberance are ultimately unreliable. People without temperance are always unreliable. In a world where many people boast about saying what they think, the temperate person instead prefers to think about what he says. Do you understand the difference? Not saying whatever comes into my mind, like so… no: thinking about what I have to say. He does not make empty promises but makes commitments to the extent that he can fulfill them.

Also with pleasures, the temperate person acts judiciously. The free course of impulses and total license accorded to pleasures end up backfiring on us, plunging us into a state of boredom. How many people who have wanted to try everything voraciously have found themselves losing the taste for everything! It is better, then, to seek the right measure: for example, to appreciate a good wine, to taste it in small sips is better than swallowing it all in one go. We all understand this.

The temperate person knows how to weigh words and dose them well. He thinks about what he says. He does not allow a moment’s anger to ruin relationships and friendships that can then only be rebuilt with difficulty. Especially in family life, where inhibitions are lower, we all run the risk of not keeping tensions, irritations, and anger in check. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent, but both require the right measure. And this applies to many things, for instance staying with others and staying alone.

If the temperate person knows how to control his own irascibility, this does not mean we always find him with a peaceful and smiling face. Indeed, at times it is necessary to be indignant, but always in the right way. These are the words: the just measure, the right way. A word of rebuke is at times healthier than a sour, rancorous silence. The temperate person knows that nothing is more uncomfortable than correcting another person, but he also knows that it is necessary; otherwise, one offers free reign to evil. In some cases, the temperate person succeeds in holding extremes together: he affirms absolute principles, asserts non-negotiable values, but also knows how to understand people and shows empathy for them. Shows empathy.

The gift of the temperate person is therefore balance, a quality as precious as it is rare. Indeed, everything in our world pushes to excess. Instead, temperance combines well with Gospel values such as smallness, discretion, modesty, meekness. The temperate person appreciates the respect of others but does not make it the sole criterion for every action and every word. He is sensitive, he is able to weep and is not ashamed, but he does not weep over himself. In defeat, he rises up again; in victory, he is capable of returning to his former reserved life. He does not seek applause but knows that he needs others.

Brothers and sisters, it is not true that temperance makes one grey and joyless. On the contrary, it lets one enjoy the goods of life better: staying together at the table, the tenderness of certain friendships, confidence with wise people, wonder at the beauty of creation. Happiness with temperance is the joy that flourishes in the heart of those who recognize and value what counts most in life. Let us pray to the Lord that He might give us this gift: the gift of maturity, of age, of emotional maturity, of social maturity. The gift of temperance.

17.04.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   14.04.24

Our Encounter with Jesus


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

Today the Gospel takes us back to the evening of Passover. The apostles are gathered in the Upper Room, when the two disciples return from Emmaus and tell of their encounter with Jesus. And as they are expressing the joy of their experience, the Risen One appears to all the community. Jesus arrives precisely while they are sharing the story of the encounter with Him. This makes me think that it is good to share, it is important to share faith. This account makes us reflect on the importance of sharing faith in the risen Jesus.

Every day we are bombarded with a thousand messages. Many of them are superficial and useless, others reveal an indiscreet curiosity or, worse still, arise from gossip and malice. They are news that have no purpose; on the contrary, they do harm. But there is also good news, positive and constructive, and we all know how good it is for us to hear good things, and how much better we are when this happens. And it is also good to share the realities that, for better or worse, have touched our lives, so as to help others.

And yet there is something we often struggle to talk about. What do we struggle to talk about? The most beautiful thing we have to tell: our encounter with Jesus. Every one of us has encountered the Lord and we struggle to speak about it. Each one of us could say so much about this: seeing how the Lord has touched us, and sharing this, not by being a lecturer to others, but by sharing the unique moments in which we perceived the Lord alive and close, who kindled joy in our hearts or dried our tears, who transmitted confidence and consolation, strength and enthusiasm, or forgiveness, tenderness. These encounters, that every one of us has had with Jesus, share them and transmit them. It is important to do this in the family, in the community, with friends. Just as it does good to talk about the good inspirations that have guided us in life, the good thoughts and feelings that help us so much to go forward, and also about our efforts and labours to understand and to progress in the life of faith, perhaps even to repent and retrace our steps. If we do this, Jesus, just as He did with the disciples of Emmaus on the evening of Passover, will surprise us and make our encounters and our environments even more beautiful.

Let us try, then, to remember, now, a powerful moment of our life of faith, a decisive encounter with Jesus. Everyone has had it, each one of us has had an encounter with the Lord. Let us take a moment’s silence and think: when did I find the Lord? When has the Lord been close to me? Let us think in silence. And this encounter with the Lord, did I share it to give glory to the Lord? And also, have I listened to others, when they have told me about this encounter with Jesus?

May Our Lady help us to share the faith to make our communities ever greater places of encounter with the Lord.

14.04.24



Pope Francis  General Audience  10.04.24  

Vices and Virtues - Fortitude


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

Today’s catechesis is dedicated to the third of the cardinal virtues, namely fortitude. Let us begin with the description given in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions” (1808). This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the virtue of fortitude.

Here, then, is the most “combative” of the virtues. If the first of the moral virtues, that is, prudence, was primarily associated with man's reason; and while justice found its abode in the will, this third virtue, fortitude, is often linked by scholastic authors to what the ancients called the “irascible appetite”. Ancient thought did not imagine a man without passions: he would be a stone. And the passions are not necessarily the residue of a sin; but they must be educated, they must be channelled, they must be purified with the water of Baptism, or better with the fire of the Holy Spirit. A Christian without courage, who does not turn his own strength to good, who does not bother anyone, is a useless Christian. Let us think about this! Jesus is not a diaphanous, ascetic God, who does not know human emotions. Quite the contrary. Faced with the death of His friend Lazarus, He breaks down in tears, and His impassioned spirit is apparent in some of His expressions, such as when He says: “I came to cast fire upon the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49); and confronted with the trade in the temple, He reacted with force (cf. Mt. 21: 12-13). Jesus had passion.

But let us now look for an existential description of this important virtue that helps us be fruitful in life. The ancients – both the Greek philosophers and Christian theologians – recognized a twofold development in the virtue of fortitude: one passive, the other active.

The first is directed within ourselves. There are internal enemies we must defeat, which go by the name of anxiety, anguish, fear, guilt: all forces that stir in our innermost selves and in some situations paralyse us. How many fighters succumb before they even begin the challenge! Because they are not aware of these internal enemies. Fortitude is first and foremost a victory against ourselves. Most of the fears that arise within us are unrealistic, and do not come true at all. It is better, then, to invoke the Holy Spirit and face everything with patient fortitude: one problem at a time, as we are able, but not alone! The Lord is with us, if we trust in Him and sincerely seek the good. Then in every situation we can count on God's providence to shield and armour us.

And then there is the second movement of the virtue of fortitude, this time of a more active nature. As well as internal trials, there are external enemies, which are the trials of life, persecutions, difficulties that we did not expect and that surprise us. Indeed, we can try to predict what will happen to us, but to a large extent reality is made up of imponderable events, and in this sea sometimes our boat is tossed about by the waves. Fortitude then makes us resilient sailors, who are not frightened or discouraged.

Fortitude is a fundamental virtue because it takes the challenge of evil in the world seriously. Some pretend it does not exist, that everything is going fine, that human will is not sometimes blind, that dark forces that bring death do not lurk in history. But it suffices to leaf through a history book, or unfortunately even the newspapers, to discover the nefarious deeds of which we are partly victims and partly perpetrators: wars, violence, slavery, oppression of the poor, wounds that have never healed and continue to bleed. The virtue of fortitude makes us react and cry out “no”, an emphatic “no” to all of this. In our comfortable Western world, which has watered everything down somewhat, which has transformed the pursuit of perfection into a simple organic development, which has no need for struggle because everything looks the same, we sometimes feel a healthy nostalgia for prophets. But disruptive, visionary people are very rare. There is a need for someone who can rouse us from the soft place in which we have lain down and make us resolutely repeat our “no” to evil and to everything that leads to indifference. “No” to evil and “no” to indifference; “yes” to progress, to the path that moves us forward, and for this we must fight.

Let us therefore rediscover in the Gospel the fortitude of Jesus, and learn it from the witness of the saints. Thank you.

10.04.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   07.04.24

Divine Mercy Sunday


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

Today, the second Sunday of Easter, dedicated by Saint John Paul II to Divine Mercy, the Gospel (cf. Jn 20:19-30) tells us that, by believing in Jesus, Son of God, we can have eternal life in His name (v. 31). “To have life”: what does it mean?

We all want to have life, but there are various ways of having it. For example, there are those who reduce existence to a frenetic race to enjoy and possess many things: to eat and drink, to enjoy themselves, to accumulate money and objects, to feel strong and new emotions, and so on. It is a road that at first sight seems pleasurable, but which does not satiate the heart. It is not in this way that one “has life”, because by following the path of pleasure and power one does not find happiness. Indeed, many aspects of existence remain unanswered, such as love, the inevitable experiences of pain, of limitations and of death. And then the dream we all have in common remains unfulfilled: the hope of living forever, of being loved without limit. Today the Gospel says that this fullness of life, to which every one of us is called, is realized in Jesus: it is He who gives us this fullness of life. But how can one gain access to it, how can one experience it?

Let us look at what happened to the disciples in the Gospel. They are going through the most tragic moment in life: after the days of the passion they shut themselves away in the Upper Room, afraid and discouraged. The Risen One comes to them and shows them His wounds (cf. v. 20): they were the signs of suffering and pain, they could stir feelings of guilt, yet with Jesus they become channels of mercy and forgiveness. In this way, the disciples see and touch with their hands the fact that with Jesus, life always wins, death and sin are defeated, with Jesus. And they receive the gift of His Spirit, which gives them a new life, as beloved sons – life as beloved sons – imbued with joy, love and hope. I will ask one thing: do you have hope? Each one of you, ask yourselves: “How is my hope?”

This is how to “have life” every day: it is enough to fix one’s eyes on the crucified and risen Jesus, encountering Him in the Sacraments and in prayer, recognizing that He is present, believing in Him, letting oneself be touched by His grace and guided by His example, experiencing the joy of loving like Him. Every encounter with Jesus, a living encounter with Jesus enables us to have more life. Looking for Jesus, letting ourselves be found – because He looks for us – opening our heart to the encounter with Jesus.

Let us ask ourselves, though: do I believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus, do I believe that Jesus is risen? Do I believe in His victory over sin, fear and death? Do I let myself be drawn into a relationship with the Lord, with Jesus? And do I let myself be prompted by Him to love my brothers and sisters, and to hope every day? Each one of you, think about this.

May Mary help us to have ever greater faith in Jesus, in the risen Jesus, to “have life” and to spread the joy of Easter.

07.04.24



Pope Francis  General Audience  03.04.24  

Vices and Virtues - Justice


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

Here we are at the second of the cardinal virtues: today will talk about justice. It is the quintessential social virtue. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it as “the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbour” (no. 1807). This is justice. Often, when justice is mentioned, the motto that represents it is also quoted: “unicuique suum” – that is, “to each his own”. It is the virtue of law, that seeks to regulate the relations between people equitably.

It is represented allegorically by the scales, because it aims to “even the score” between people, especially when they risk being distorted by some imbalance. Its purpose is that in society, everyone is treated in accordance with the dignity proper to them. But already the ancient masters taught that for this, other virtuous attitudes are necessary, such as benevolence, respect, gratitude, affability, and honesty: virtues that contribute to a good coexistence between people. Justice is a virtue for good coexistence between people.

We all understand how justice is fundamental for peaceful coexistence in society: a world without laws respecting rights would be a world in which it is impossible to live; it would resemble a jungle. Without justice, there is no peace. Without justice, there is no peace. Indeed, if justice is not respected, conflicts arise. Without justice, the law of the prevalence of the strong over the weak is entrenched, and this is not just.

But justice is a virtue that acts on both a large and small scale: it regards not only the courtroom, but also the ethics that characterize our daily lives. It establishes sincere relations with others: it realizes the precept of the Gospel, according to which Christian speech is “simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Mt 5:37). Half-truths, double-talk intended to deceive one’s neighbour, the reticence that conceals true intentions, are not attitudes in keeping with justice. The righteous person is upright, simple and straightforward; he does not wear masks, he presents himself for what he is, he speaks the truth. The words “thank you” are often found on his lips: he knows that no matter how generous we strive to be, we always remain indebted to our neighbour. If we love, it is also because we have been loved first.

In tradition we can find countless descriptions of the righteous person. Let us look at some of them. The righteous person reveres laws and respects them, knowing that they constitute a barrier protecting the defenceless from the tyranny of the powerful. The righteous person does not think only of his own individual wellbeing, but desires the good of society as a whole. Therefore, he does not give in to the temptation to think only of himself and of taking care of his own affairs, however legitimate they may be, as if they were the only thing that exists in the world. The virtue of justice makes it clear - and places this need in the heart - that there can be no true good for oneself if there is not also the good of all.

Therefore, the righteous person keeps watch over his own behaviour, so that it is not harmful to others: if he makes a mistake, he apologizes. In some situations, he goes so far as to sacrifice a personal good to make it available to the community. He desires an orderly society, where people give lustre to the office they hold, and not the office that gives lustre to people. He abhors recommendations and does not trade favours. He loves responsibility and is exemplary in promoting legality.

Furthermore, the righteous person shuns harmful behaviour such as slander, perjury, fraud, usury, mockery, and dishonesty. The righteous person keeps his word, returns what he has borrowed, pays fair wages to all labourers: a man who does not pay fare wages to workers not just, he is unjust.

None of us knows if, in our world, righteous people are numerous or as rare as precious pearls. But there are people who draw grace and blessings both upon themselves and upon the world in which they live. The righteous are not moralists who don the robe of the censor, but upright people who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Mt 5:6), dreamers who yearn in their hearts for universal brotherhood. And, today especially, we are all in great need of this dream. We need righteous men and women, and this will make us happy.

03.04.24



Pope Francis  Regina Caeli   01.04.24

Easter Monday


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

Today, Monday of the Octave of Easter, the Gospel (cf. Mt 28:1-15) shows us the joy of the women at the Resurrection of Jesus: the text says they abandoned the tomb with “great joy”, and “ran to tell His disciples” (v. 8). This joy, which is born precisely from the living encounter with the Risen One, is a powerful emotion, which impels them to spread and to tell what they have seen.

Sharing joy is a wondrous experience, which we learn from a very young age: think of a child who gets a good mark at school and cannot wait to show his or her parents, or a young person who achieves their first success in sport, or a family in which a child is born. Let us try to remember, each of us, a moment so happy that it was even difficult to put it into words, but which we wished to tell everyone about immediately!

So, the women, on Easter morning, live this experience, but in a much greater way. Why? Because the resurrection of Jesus is not just wonderful news or the happy ending of a story, but something that changes our lives completely, and changes it forever! It is the victory of life over death, this is the Resurrection of Jesus. It is the victory of hope over despondency. Jesus broke through the darkness of the tomb and lives for ever: His presence can fill anything with light. With Him, every day becomes a step in an eternal journey, every “today” can hope for a “tomorrow”, every end a new beginning, every instant is projected beyond the limits of time, towards eternity.

Brothers, sisters, the joy of the Resurrection is not something far away. It is very close, it is ours, because it was given to us on the day of our Baptism. Since then, we too, like the women, can meet the Risen One and He says to us, as He did to them: “Do not fear!” (v 10). Brothers and sisters, let us not give up the joy of Easter!

But how can we nurture this joy? Like the women did: by encountering the Risen One, because He is the source of a joy that never ceases. So, let us hasten to seek Him in the Eucharist, in His forgiveness, in prayer and in lived charity! Joy, when it is shared, grows. Let us share the joy of the Risen One.

And May the Virgin Mary, who at Easter rejoiced in her risen Son, help us to be joyful witnesses.

01.04.24