"That you are gay does not matter.
God made you like that and
loves you like this and
I don’t care.
The Pope loves you like this.
YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH WHO YOU ARE."”
"THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH EXPLAINS THIS VERY WELL. IT SAYS ONE MUST NOT MARGINALIZE THESE PERSONS, THEY MUST BE INTEGRATED INTO SOCIETY. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE MUST BE LIKE BROTHERS AND SISTERS."
1. "LIVE AND LET LIVE."
Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, "Move forward and others do the same"
2. "BE GIVING OF YOURSELF TO OTHERS."
People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because "if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid."
3. "PROCEED CALMLY" IN LIFE.
To have "the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life."
4. "A HEALTHY SENSE OF LEISURE."
"Consumerism has brought us anxiety" and stress, causing people to lose a "healthy culture of leisure." Their time is "swallowed up" so people can't share it with anyone.
5. SUNDAYS SHOULD BE HOLIDAYS.
6. FIND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO CREATE DIGNIFIED JOBS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
7. RESPECT AND TAKE CARE OF NATURE.
Environmental degradation "is one of the biggest challenges we have," he said. "I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'"
8. STOP BEING NEGATIVE.
"Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'" the pope said. "Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy."
9. DON'T PROSELYTIZE; RESPECT OTHERS' BELIEFS.
"We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing," the pope said.
10. WORK FOR PEACE.
"We are living in a time of many wars," he said, and "the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive" and dynamic.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
Friday, 9 January 2015
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 3, 16 January 2015)
A hardened heart is unable to comprehend even the greatest miracles. But “how does a heart become hardened?”, Pope Francis asked during Mass at Santa Marta on Friday morning.
In the passage of the Gospel according to Mark (6:45-52), we read that the disciples “did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened”. Yet, Francis explained, “they were the Apostles, the ones closest to Jesus. But they didn’t understand”. Even witnessing the miracle, even having “seen that those people — more than 5,000 — had eaten of five loaves”, they didn’t comprehend. “Why? Because their hearts were hardened”.
The Pope said that many times in the Gospel, Jesus “speaks of hardness of the heart”, He rebukes “the stiff-necked people”, He weeps over Jerusalem, “which doesn’t understand who He is”. The Lord is faced with this hardness: it is “such work” for Jesus “to make this heart more docile, to remove the hardness, to make it loving”, Francis continued. And this work continues after the Resurrection, with the disciples of Emmaus and many others.
However, the Pontiff asked, “how does a heart become hardened? How is it possible that these people, who were always with Jesus, every day, who heard Him, saw Him... their hearts hardened. But how can a heart become like this?”. The Pope recounted: “Yesterday, I asked my secretary: Tell me, how does a heart become hardened? He helped me think a bit about this”. Francis went on to indicate a series of circumstances that each person might face in his or her own personal experience.
First of all, Francis said, the heart “becomes hardened through painful experiences, through harsh experiences”. This is the situation of those who “have lived a very painful experience and don’t want to begin another adventure”. This is just what happened to the disciples of Emmaus after the Resurrection, and the Pontiff set the scene: “‘There is too much, too much commotion, so let’s get away from here, because...’. — Because what? — ‘Eh, we were hoping this would be the Messiah, He wasn’t there, I don’t want to delude myself again, I don’t want to create illusions!’”.
This is a heart hardened by a “painful experience”. The same thing happened to Thomas: “No, no, I don’t believe it. Unless I place my finger there, I won’t believe it”. The disciples’ hearts were hard “because they had suffered”. And in this regard, Francis recalled a popular Argentine saying: “One who burns himself with milk will cry when he sees a cow”. In other words, he explained, “that painful experience keeps us from opening our heart”.
Another reason the heart becomes hardened is “becoming closed inside oneself: making a world within oneself”. This happens when man is “closed inside himself, in his community or in his parish”. It is a closing off which “can turn round many things”: such as “pride, sufficiency, thinking that I’m better than others”, or even “vanity”. The Pope indicated: “There are ‘mirror’ men and women, who are closed within themselves to watch themselves, constantly”; they could be defined as “religious narcissists”. They “have hard hearts because they are closed, they aren’t open. And they try to protect themselves with these walls they build around themselves”.
There is yet another reason that the heart becomes hardened: insecurity. It is experienced by those who think: “I don’t feel secure and I am trying to hang on to something to be secure”. This attitude is typical of people “who really stick to the letter of the law”. This happens, the Pontiff explained, “with the Pharisees, with the Sadducees, with the doctors of the law in the time of Jesus”. They would have objected: “But the law says this, it says this up to here...”, and thus “they would make another commandment”; in the end, “the poor souls, they were leaning on 300-400 commandments and they felt secure”.
In reality, Francis pointed out, all of them “were secure people, but as a man or woman in a prison cell is secure behind the bars: it’s a security without freedom”. However, it is actually freedom that “Jesus came to bring us”. St Paul, for example, rebukes James and Peter “because they do not accept the freedom that Jesus has brought us”.
Hence the response to the initial question: “How does a heart become hardened?”. The heart in fact, “when it hardens, is not free and if it isn’t free it’s because it does not love”. This concept is expressed in the day’s First Reading (1 Jn 4:11-18), in which the Apostle John speaks of “perfect love” which “casts out fear”. Indeed, “‘there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.’ He isn’t free. He always fears that something painful or sad might happen”, which could cause us to “go the wrong way in life or to risk eternal salvation”. Instead, this is only imagined, simply because that heart doesn’t love. The disciples’ hearts, the Pope explained, “were hardened because they still hadn’t learned how to love”.
Thus, here, we can ask: “Who teaches us how to love? Who frees us from this hardness?”. The Pope’s answer: “the Holy Spirit alone” can do so. “You can take a thousand courses in catechesis, a thousand courses in spirituality, a thousand courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you the freedom of the Son”. Only the Holy Spirit “moves your heart to say ‘Father’”; He alone “is capable of casting out, of breaking this hardness of the heart” and of making it “docile to the Lord. Docile to the freedom of love”. It is no coincidence that the disciples’ hearts were “hardened until the day of the Ascension”, when they said to the Lord: “Now the revolution will happen and the Kingdom will come!”. However, “they didn’t understand a thing”. In reality, “only when the Holy Spirit came, did things change”. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/cotidie/2015/documents/papa-francesco-cotidie_20150109_hardened-hearts.html
Therefore, the Pontiff concluded, “let us ask the Lord for the grace to have a docile heart: that He save us from the slavery of a hardened heart” and “lead us to that beautiful freedom of perfect love, the freedom of the children of God, which the Holy Spirit alone can give”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
THE GOD OF SURPRISES
Monday, 20 January 2014
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 4, 24 January 2014)
In his homily at Holy Mass, Pope Francis commented on the day’s Readings from the first Book of Samuel (15:16-23) and the Gospel of St Mark (2:18-22). The Holy Father began by noting that both readings help us “to reflect on the word of God” and “on our attitude towards God’s word”. Citing Hebrews, the Pope said that the word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12-13). Indeed, he said, “the word of God visits us and illumines the state of our heart, of our soul”; it “discerns”.
Pope Francis noted that the two readings “speak to us about about the disposition we should have in the presence of the word of God”; i.e., “docility”. “Docile to the word of God. The word of God is living. And therefore it comes and says what it wants to say: not what I expect it to say or what I hope it will say or what I want it to say”. The word of God “is free” and it comes as “a surprise, since our God is the God of surprises: he comes and always does new things. He is newness. The Gospel is newness. Revelation is newness”.
“Our God,” the Pope continued, “is a God who always does new things. And he asks from us docility to this newness”. In the Gospel passage, Pope Francis said, “Jesus is clear about this, he is very clear: new wine in fresh wine skins”. Thus, “God must be received with openness to what is new”. And this disposition “is called docility”.
The Pontiff therefore invited those present to ask themselves these questions: “Am I docile to the word of God, or do I always do what I believe the word of God is? Or do I make the word of God pass through an alembic and in the end it is something quite other than what God wants?”. “If I do this,” the Pope warned, citing the Gospel, “I am like a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment”. “And the tear is made worse: if I do this, I become worse”.
Yet, as the Holy Father explained, “adapting oneself to the word of God to be able to receive it” requires “an ascetic attitude”. He gave the example of an electric appliance. If it doesn’t work, one sometimes needs an adaptor. The same is true for us: we always need to adapt ourselves, to adjust ourselves to the newness of God’s word”. Essentially, he said, we need “to be open to new things”.
In his reflection, the Pope then turned to the passage from the first Book of Samuel. “Saul, God’s chosen one, God’s anointed, had forgotten that God is surprise and newness. He had forgotten it. He was enclosed in his thoughts and plans. And so he reasoned in a human way. The Lord said to him: utterly destroy all that they have”. However, as the Pope explained, the custom “whenever anyone conquered, was to take the spoils” to divide them; “and a part of the spoils was used to offer sacrifice”. Saul had therefore selected several beautiful animals for the Lord: “he reasoned according to his own thoughts, according to his heart, enclosed in his habits. And God, our God, is not a God of habits, he is a God of surprises”.
Thus Saul “did not obey God’s word, he was not docile to God’s word”. We read in the Scripture that Samuel “reproved him” for this, saying: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?” Samuel “makes him feel that he hasn’t obeyed: he has not been a servant, he has been lord. He has set himself up as master of God’s word. Indeed, Samuel then also says: “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”.
“The word of God continues forward through Samuel,” the Pope added: “rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness the sin of idolatry” (v. 23).
Samuel’s words “make us think about the nature of Christian freedom, about the nature of Christian obedience”. “Christian freedom and Christian obedience consist in being docile to the word of God; in having the courage to become fresh skins for this new wine … the courage to discern always, to discern … what the spirit is doing in my heart, what the spirit wants in my heart, where the spirit is leading me in my heart; and to obey”.
Pope Francis concluded his homily by repeating the two key words of the day: “to discern and to obey”. And he prayed: “Let us ask for the grace of docility to God’s word, to this word that is living and active, that discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
HOW TO CREATE DIALOGUE
Friday, 24 January 2014
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 5, 31 January 2014)
Pope Francis continued his reflection on the first book of Samuel (24:3-21), which recounts the confrontation between Saul and David. “Yesterday,” the Pope reminded those who were present at the morning celebration of Mass, “we heard the word of God, which allowed us to see what jealousy does, what envy does in families and in Christian communities. We saw this story played out in the opposition Saul harboured in his heart against David: so jealous was he that he wanted to kill him”.
“Today,” the Pope continued, “the word of God allows us to see another attitude, that of David”, who “knew very well” that he was “in danger; he knew that the king wanted to kill him. And he found himself in a situation in which he could have killed the king, and the story would have ended there”. And yet “he chose another path”; he preferred “to draw near, to seek to clarify the situation, to explain himself, he chose the path of dialogue to make peace”.
Instead, Saul “brooded over bitterness in his heart”. He insulted David “because he believed him to be his enemy. And this bitterness grew in his heart”. Unfortunately, the Pope said, “these imaginings always grow stronger when we listen to them within ourselves. And they create a wall that distances us from the other person”. Ultimately, we end up “isolated in the bitter broth of our resentment”.
Yet David, “by the Lord’s inspiration”, breaks this mechanism of hatred “and says no, I want to talk to you”. And thus it is, the Pope explained, "that the path of peace begins, with dialogue”. But, he warned, “dialogue is not easy, it is difficult”. And yet, it is only “with dialogue that we build bridges of peace in relationships rather than walls that distance us”.
“For dialogue to occur, what we need above all else is humility. It was David who, in humility, said to the king: look, ‘I could have killed you, I could have done this to you, but I don’t want to do it! I want to be close to you because you are the authority, you are the Lord’s anointed!’”. David’s act was an “act of humility”.
We don’t need to raise our voice in order to dialogue “what we need is meekness”. And “we need to consider that the other person has something more that we do”, as David did. Looking at Saul, he said to himself: “He is the Lord’s anointed, he is more important than I am”. We need to do what we prayed for in the opening of Mass: become all things to all”.
“Humility, meekness, becoming all things to all” are three basic elements of dialogue. However, the Holy Father noted, even though “it is not written in the Bible, to do this we have to eat a lot of crow: yet we must do it because that’s how peace is made!” Peace is made “with humility and humiliation”, by seeking always to “see in the other person the image of God”. Solutions to so many problems are found “through dialogue in families, in communities, in all quarters”. It requires a readiness to acknowledge to another person: “But listen, excuse me, this is what I thought...”. The right attitude is “to humble oneself: it is always good to make a bridge, always always!”. This is in keeping with the manner of someone who wants “to be Christian”; even if, as the Pope admitted, “it is not easy, it is not easy!”. And yet “Jesus did this, he humbled himself unto the end, he showed us the way”.
The Pope then offered another practical piece of advice: to open up dialogue “we need to not allow too much time to pass”. Problems should be addressed “as soon as possible, at the first possible opportunity once the storm has passed”. Right away, we need “to draw near in dialogue, because time makes walls grow, as it makes weeds grow and impede the growth of the wheat. Once walls have grown, reconciliation is so difficult; it is so difficult!”. The Bishop of Rome made reference to the Berlin Wall, which for many years had been an element of division, and he noted that the possibility “also exists in our hearts” of becoming like Berlin, of putting up a wall against others. Hence the Holy Father’s invitation “not to let too much time pass” and “to seek peace as soon as possible”.
In particular, the Pope wished to speak to spouses: “It is normal for you to argue, it is normal”. Seeing a smile from several couples who were present at morning Mass, he reminded them that “in marriage there are arguments, and sometimes even plates go flying”. However, he advised, “never end the day without making peace; without talking, which sometimes only takes a small gesture”.
“I am afraid of these walls that grow each day and breed resentment and even hatred,” the Pope said. He again pointed to young David: “he could have gotten perfect revenge”, he could have killed the king, but “he chose the path of dialogue with humility, meekness, sweetness”. Pope Francis concluded by asking “St Francis di Sales, the Doctor of gentleness and sweetness” to give “all of us the grace to build bridges with others, and never walls”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
DON’T BE LAZY
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 46, 14 November 2014)
How should our faith be? This is the Apostles’ question and ours as well. The answer is: “a faith that is set within the framework of service” to God and to our neighbour. A humble, freely given and generous service which is always “complete”. Only in this way is it possible to truly open oneself to the hope of the final encounter with Jesus. This was the Holy Father’s reflection during Tuesday morning’s Mass at Santa Marta.
Discussing the day’s reading from the Gospel according to Luke (17:7-10), the Pope referred back to a passage from the previous day, in which the disciples request: “Lord increase our faith”, to which Jesus responds: “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”. Francis explained that the Lord speaks of “a powerful faith”, one strong enough “to work great wonders”, but on one condition: that this be set “within the framework of service”. It calls for complete service, such as that of the “servant who worked all day” and when he gets home “he must serve the Lord”, prepare dinner for him, “and then relax”.
It seems, the Pontiff remarked, “somewhat demanding, a bit hard”: one might advise “this servant to go to the union to seek some counsel” on how to deal “with a master like this”. But what’s asked for is “complete” service because it is the same that Jesus practised: “He led the way with this conduct of service; He is the servant; He presents himself as the servant, the one who came to serve and not to be served”.
When set on the “path of service”, faith “will work miracles”. On the contrary, however, “a Christian who receives the gift of faith in Baptism, but then does not take it forth on the path of service, becomes a Christian without strength, unfruitful, a Christian for himself, to serve himself, to benefit himself. Although this Christian may go to heaven, the Pope said, “what a sad life!”.
It happens, then, that “so many of the Lord’s great things” are “wasted” because, as “the Lord clearly stated: service is exclusive”, and one cannot serve two masters: God and wealth. In this regard the Pontiff recalled “at the time of the Prophet Elijah, the Israelites”, who wanted to follow both Yaweh and Baal. Elijah said to them: “you are limping on both legs! Things cannot go on like this!”. Because, Francis emphasized, “we need one Lord”.
Pope Francis then went into the details of everyday life and the difficulties that a Christian has in putting the word of the Gospel into practice. “We can distance ourselves from this conduct of service”, he said, mostly out of “laziness”: we become “comfortable, as did those five inattentive maidens who were waiting for their bridegroom but without having enough oil in their lamps”. Laziness renders “the heart lukewarm”. Thus, out of convenience we are led to seek justifications: “If this one comes, or if that one knocks at the door, tell them I’m not home, because they’re coming to ask a favour, and no, I don’t want...”. In other words, laziness “distances us from service and leads to convenience, to selfishness”. And, the Pope commented, “so many Christians” are like this: “they are good, they go to Mass”, but go “only so far” with regard to service. Yet, he underscored, “when I say service, I mean everything: service to God in adoration, in prayer, in praise”, service “to our neighbour” and “service to the end”. Jesus “is strong” about this and advises: “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants’”. It is important that service be “freely given, without asking anything” in return.
The Pope continued to speak about another manner of moving away “from the conduct of service”, which is that of “taking control of situations”. This is what happened to the Apostles too, who moved the people away “so as not to disturb Jesus”, but in reality it was also for their own comfort: that is, “they took control of the Lord’s time, they took control of the Lord’s power: they wanted it for their little group”. Actually, “they took control of this conduct of service, turning it into a framework of power”. This is explained, said Francis, “when among themselves, they discussed who was the greatest”; and “it is understood when the mother of James and John went to ask the Lord that one of her sons be prime minister and the other the minister of the economy, with all the power in hand”. The same thing happens to Christians who “rather than servants” become “masters: masters of the faith, masters of the kingdom, masters of salvation. This happens, it is a temptation for all Christians”.
The Lord, however, speaks to us of serving “in humility”, as did “He who, being God, humbled himself, lowered himself, debased himself: to serve. It is service in hope, and this is the joy of Christian service”, which lives, as St Paul writes to Titus: “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. The Lord will “knock at the door” and “will come to find us” in that moment, the Pope said, hoping: “Please, let Him find us in this conduct of service”.
Certainly, in life “we must really struggle against the temptations that seek to distance us” from this disposition, such as that of laziness, which “leads to convenience” and drives us to provide “incomplete service”; and the temptation to “take control of the situation”, which “leads to arrogance, to pride, to mis-treating people, to feeling important ‘because I’m a Christian, I have salvation’”. The Lord, the Pontiff concluded, “gives us these two great graces: humility in service, in order that we’re able to say: ‘we are unworthy servants’”, and “the hope in awaiting the appearing” of the Lord who “will come to find us”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
THEY SHALL BE FIRST
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 51, 19 December 2014)
The basic condition for walking the “path of salvation” is a “contrite heart”, one that is capable of recognizing its own sins. Thus, the Lord’s “judgment” will not be one to frighten, but to offer hope. For this reason, the two Readings that Pope Francis reflected on during Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, have the very “structure of a judgment”.
The Pope first referred to the passage from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah (3:1-2, 9-13), which begins with a threat: “Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted”, and then a judgment: “to the tyrannical city”, the city that “hears no voice, accepts no correction; In the Lord she has not trusted, to her God she has not drawn near”. Those people are sentenced: the “sentence” is expressed in the term “woe”. For the others, there is instead a promise: “I will change and purify the lips of the peoples”, the prophet writes. “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia”, those who pray to me “will bring me offerings. On that day you need not be ashamed of all your deeds, your rebellious actions against me”.
Who was Zephaniah talking about? He was speaking about those who drew near “to the Lord because the Lord had forgiven”, the Pope explained. These people were “the saved ones”; the others were “the proud, who didn’t hear the voice of the Lord, who didn’t accept correction, didn’t trust in the Lord”.
To the penitent, who were capable of recognizing: “Yes, we are sinners”, Francis highlighted, the Lord reserved forgiveness and addressed “this word, which is one of those hope-filled [words] of the Old Testament: ‘I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord’”.
Here the Pope identified “the three characteristics of the faithful People of God: humility, poverty and trust in the Lord”. And this is “the path of salvation”. The others, however, “heard no voice, accepted no correction, and did not trust in the Lord”, and therefore “they cannot receive salvation”: they are “closed” to salvation, the Holy Father explained.
The same thing happens today: “When we see the holy People of God, who are humble, who have their treasure in the faith in the Lord, in the trust in the Lord; the humble, poor people who confide in the Lord”, here we meet “the saved ones”, for “this is the path” that the Church must take.
A similar dynamic is found in the day’s Reading from the Gospel of Mathew (21:28-32), in which Jesus also proposes “to the chief priests, to the elders, the elders, of the people”, to the entire “‘network’ of people who waged war”, a “judgment” to reflect upon. He presented them the case of the two sons whom the father asks to go to work in the vineyard. One answers: “I won’t go to the field. I don’t want to”. But then he goes. Meanwhile the other says: “Yes, sir”, but then thinks: “The old man has no strength, I’ll do what I want, he can’t punish me”. And therefore, “he doesn’t go, he doesn’t obey”.
Jesus asks his interlocutors: “Which of the two did his father’s will?”. Was it “the first, the one who said ‘no’”, the rebellious one who later “thought of his father” and decided to obey, or was it the second? At this point Jesus offers his judgment: “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you”. They “will be the first”. And He explains why: “‘When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him’. You didn’t listen to John: the baptism of penitence.... The tax collectors and prostitutes, however, believed. You, on the contrary, saw these things but then you didn’t repent a bit”.
What “did these people do” to deserve this judgment? “They didn’t listen”, the Pope explained, “to the Lord’s voice, they didn’t accept correction, they didn’t trust in the Lord”. One could ask: “But Father, what a scandal that Jesus said this, that the tax collectors, who betrayed the homeland because they collected taxes to pay the Romans”. Will they really “go first to the Kingdom of Heaven?”. And the same for “the prostitutes, who are throw-away women”? And finally, “Lord, have you gone mad? We are pure, we are Catholics, we partake in communion every day, we go to Mass”. And yet, Francis underscored, they “will go first if your heart is not a contrite heart”. And “if you have not listened to the Lord, haven’t accepted correction, haven’t trusted in Him”, then yours is not a contrite heart.
The Lord, the Pontiff continued, doesn’t want these “hypocrites who were scandalized” by what “Jesus said about the tax collectors and about the prostitutes, but then secretly went to them, whether to unleash their passions or to do business”. They considered themselves “pure”, but in reality, “the Lord doesn’t want them”.
Today’s liturgy makes us think about this judgment which is “a judgment that gives us hope when we look at our sins”. Indeed, all of us, “we are sinners”. Every one of us is well aware of our list of sins; however, Francis said, each one of us can say: “Lord, I offer You my sins, the only thing that we can offer You”.
In order to better understand this, the Pontiff recalled the “life of a saint who was very generous” and offered everything to the Lord: “The Lord asked him for something and he did it”. The saint always listened and always followed the Lord’s will. Yet the Lord once said to him: “You still haven’t given me one thing”. And he, “who was so good”, answered: “But, Lord, what haven’t I given You? I’ve given you my life, I work for the poor, I work for the catechesis, I work here, I work there...”. The Lord pressed on: “You haven’t given me one thing”. And the saint repeated, “What Lord?”. And the Lord concluded, “Your sins”.
And this was the lesson the Pope wanted to highlight: that, when we are able to say: “Lord, these are my sins, they aren’t this man’s or that woman’s.... They’re mine. You take them. This way I’ll be saved”. When we are able to do this, then “we will be that beautiful people — ‘the humble and poor people’ — who trust in the name of the Lord”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
ONLY THE HUMBLE UNDERSTAND
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 49, 5 December 2014)
The grandeur of the mystery of Jesus can be known only by humbling and abasing oneself like Jesus, who went so far as to be “marginalized” and who certainly did not present himself as “a general or a ruler”. Thus, theologians who do not “do theology on their knees” might have a lot to say, but “can’t understand a word”. Thus, Francis proposed humility and meekness during Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday morning.
“The liturgical texts that the Church offers us today bring us closer to the mystery of Jesus, to the mystery of his person”, the Pontiff noted. And in fact, he explained, the passage from the Gospel of Luke (10:21-24) “says that Jesus exalted in the joy of the Holy Spirit and praised the Father”. After all, “this is the interior life of Jesus: his relationship with the Father, the relationship of praise, in the Spirit, the very Holy Spirit who unites that relationship”. This is “the mystery of the interiority of Jesus, what He felt”.
Jesus “declares that those who see Him see the Father”, Francis continued. He says, to be precise: “yea, Father for such was thy gracious will”. And “no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.
The Father, the Pope emphasized, “is known only by Jesus: Jesus knows the Father”. And therefore, “when Philip went to Jesus and said: show us the Father”, the Lord answered him: “Philip, he who has seen me has seen the Father”. In fact “the union between them is great: He is the image of the Father; He is the closeness and the tenderness of the Father to us”. And, “the Father draws close to us in Jesus”.
Francis then indicated that “in the farewell speech after the Last Supper”, Jesus repeats several times: “Father, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me”. And Jesus “promises the Holy Spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit who creates this unity, as he does between the Father and the Son”. And “Jesus joyfully exalts in the Holy Spirit”.
This leads toward the “mystery of Jesus”, the Pontiff explained. However, “this mystery does not remain just between them. It has been revealed to us”. Thus, the Father “was revealed by Jesus: He makes the Father known to us; He introduces us to this interior life that He has”. The Pope then asked, who does Jesus reveal the Father to? “To whom does He give this grace?”. Jesus himself gives the answer, as read in the Gospel of Luke: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes”.
For this reason, “only those with the heart of babes are capable of receiving this revelation”. Only those with a “humble, meek heart, which feels the need to pray, to open up to God, to feel poor” have this capacity. In a word, “only those who go forth with the first beatitude: the poor in spirit”.
Of course, the Pope acknowledged, “so many can learn science, even theology”. However, “if they don’t do this theology on their knees, humbly, that is, like babes, they can’t understand a word”. Perhaps “they may tell us many things, but they won’t understand a word”. For “only this poverty is capable of receiving the revelation that the Father gives through Jesus”. What’s more, “Jesus comes not as an army general”, not as “a powerful ruler”. He will instead sprout, “as a shoot”, like in the First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (11:1-10): “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse”. Thus, Pope Francis said, “He is a shoot, He is humble, He is meek, and He has come for the humble, for the meek, to bring salvation to the sick, to the poor, to the oppressed, as He himself says in the Fourth Chapter of Luke, when He is in the Synagogue in Nazareth”. And Jesus has come “for the marginalized: He marginalized himself; He does not have a nonnegotiable value, being equal to God”. Indeed, the Pope indicated, “He humbled himself, He debased himself”. He “became an outcast, He humiliated himself” in order to “give us the mystery of the Father and his own”.
The Pope remarked that “we cannot receive this revelation outside, outside of the world into which Jesus brings it: in humility, debasing himself”. We can never forget that “the Word was made flesh, He marginalized himself in order to bring salvation to the marginalized”. And “when the great John the Baptist, in prison, did not understand how things were there with Jesus, because he was somewhat perplexed, he sent his disciples to ask: ‘John asks you: is it you or must we wait for another?’”.
Jesus doesn’t answer John’s question: “I am the Son”. He says instead: “Look, you have seen all of this; tell John what you have seen”: in other words, that “lepers are healed, the poor receive the good news, and the outcast are found”.
According to Francis, it is obvious that “the grandeur of the mystery of God is known only in the mystery of Jesus, and the mystery of Jesus is really a mystery of lowering oneself, abasing oneself, humiliating oneself, and bringing salvation to the poor, to those who are destroyed” by sickness, sins and difficult situations.
“Outside of this framework, we cannot understand the mystery of Jesus”, the Pope emphasized. “We can’t understand this anointing of the Holy Spirit which makes us rejoice, as we heard in the Gospel, praising the Father, and which leads to bring the Good News to the poor and the marginalized”.
From this perspective, in the season of Advent, Francis encouraged us to pray and ask the Lord to lead us ever closer “to his mystery, and to do so on the path that He wants us to take: the path of humility, the path of meekness, the path of poverty, the path of feeling ourselves sinners”. For this is how, the Pope concluded, “He comes to save us, to free us”.
MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
A Church of ‘yes’
Thursday, 2 May 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 19,8 May 2013)
The Church is “the community of the yes”, molded by the Holy Spirit. This was the image meditated upon by Pope Francis on Thursday morning, 2 May, at Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Concelebrating were: Cardinal Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka; Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini of Portoviejo, Ecuador; and Mons. Raphaël Kutaïmi, former Rector of the Syro-Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, injured in the attack in October 2010 when 50 faithful were killed during Mass.
Also present were a group of colleagues from the Vatican Museums and those responsible for the insert of L'Osservatore Romano “Women Church World”: Ritanna Armeni, Lucetta Scaraffia, Giulia Galeotti and the artist Isabella Ducrot, who designed the border of our commemorative issues at the election and inauguration of Francis’ Pontificate, as well as the editor-in-chief of our paper.
During the homily the Pontiff dwelt on the Church which left the Cenacle of Pentecost after the prayer of the apostles with Mary. A Church, he highlighted, ever encouraged by the Holy Spirit, and which spread throughout the world bit by bit, bringing the Good News among the pagans.
Commenting on the Acts of the Apostles (15:7-21) and the Gospel of John (15:9-11)