Posts Tagged ‘Roman Pontiff’

Defend others before the Father, Pope Francis urges

Vatican City, Jun 23, 2014 / 09:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily homily Pope Francis warned that those who judge others are “obsessed” and far from God, stating that in order to be close we must defend others rather than hastily accuse …

Pope encourages priests to work in joy, brotherhood

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2014 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his one day his visit to Italian town Cassano all’Jonio, Pope Francis met with the priests of the diocese, speaking of the joy of the priesthood, but also of the dangers of an individualistic culture.

“I would first of all like to share with you the joy of being priests. The ever new surprise of having been called by the Lord Jesus. Called to follow him, to be with him, to go to others bringing him, his word, his forgiveness,” the Pope stated in his June 21 address to the priests.

“There is nothing more beautiful for a man that this, right?”

Cassano all’Jonio is a small town in the province of Cosenza of Calabria, located in the south of Italy. The Vatican confirmed the pontiff’s visit there in April, following a statement made by the town’s Bishop Nuncio Galantino, secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, who had said that the pontiff had voiced his intention to visit the nuncio’s diocese.

Opening his speech to the priests, the Bishop of Rome thanked them for their welcome, revealing that he has “greatly desired this encounter with you who bear the burden of daily parish work.”

Drawing their attention to the “joy of being priests,” Pope Francis explained that there is no greater happiness than being called by God and to bring his word and mercy to others.

“When we priests are in front of the tabernacle, and we stop there for a moment, in silence, then we feel the gaze of Jesus upon us once again, and this gaze renews us, revives us” he said, observing that making this pause is not always easy.

“It’s not easy because we have taken on so many things, so many people” he noted, “but sometimes it’s not easy because we feel a certain discomfort, Jesus’ gaze troubles us a bit, also puts us in crisis…but this does us good!”

Being in prayerful silence allows Jesus to show us whether “we are working as good laborers, or (if) perhaps we have become a like ‘employees,’” the Roman Pontiff explained.

He reveals to us “If we are open ‘channels’ through which his abundant love flows, or if we put ourselves at the center,” the Pope observed, stating that if this happens “instead of being ‘channels,’ we become ‘screens’ that don’t help to encounter the Lord, or the light and strength of the Gospel.”

Moving to a second point, Pope Francis called the attention of those gathered to “the beauty of brotherhood: of being priests together.”

It is the beauty “of following the Lord not on our own, one-on-one, but together, despite the wide variety of gifts and personalities” he said, explaining that this variety “only enriches priests, this providential variety, of age, of talents…and all lived in communion, in fellowship.”

Going on, the Roman Pontiff pointed out that doing this is also not easy or immediate, “because we priests are also immersed in the subjective culture of today, this culture that exults the self until the point of idolization.”

There is also the problem of “a certain pastoral individualism that unfortunately is widespread within our dioceses” the Pope noted, encouraging the priests to “react to this with the choice of brotherhood.”

“I intentionally say ‘choice.’ It can’t be a thing left to chance, or favorable circumstances…No, it’s a choice that corresponds to the reality which constitutes us, to the gift that we have received but that should always be welcomed and cultivated: communion in Christ in the presbytery, around the bishop.”

Describing how this fraternity ought to be put into practice through concrete means that adapt to the times and the needs of their region, the pontiff explained that it must also always be done “in an apostolic perspective, with a missionary style, with brotherhood and simplicity of life.”

Pope Francis concluded by drawing the priests’ attention to one final aspect of their current ministry, which he stated is the importance of “your work with families and for the family.”

“It’s a work that the Lord asks us to do in a particular way in this time, which is a difficult time for both the family as an institution, and for families, because of the crisis” he said.

However “just when the time is difficult, God makes his closeness felt, his grace, the prophetic power of his Word” the pontiff observed, “and we are called to be witnesses, mediators of this closeness to families and of this prophetic strength for the family.”

“May we go forward, animated by our common love for the Lord and for the Holy Mother Church” he prayed, and “may the Virgin Mary protect and accompany you. May we remain united in prayer.”

Pope warns against false securities of wealth, vanity, power

Vatican City, Jun 20, 2014 / 11:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily at Friday’s Mass, Pope Francis cautioned attendees not to place their security in false treasures which enslave and weigh us down, but rather in the treasures of heaven that lead to freedom.

“Here is the message of Jesus: ‘if your treasure is in wealth, in vanity, in power, in pride, your heart will be chained there! Your heart will be enslaved by wealth, vanity, pride,” the Pope explained in his June 20 Mass.

“And what Jesus wants is that we have a free heart! This is today’s message.”

Speaking to those present in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the Roman Pontiff centered his reflections on the day’s Gospel, in which Christ warns his disciples not to store up treasure on earth.

This is “a prudent counsel” stated the Pope, noting that when Christ speaks of earthly treasure there are “mainly three,” and Jesus “always came back to the same subject.”

“The first treasure: gold, money, richness. But you are not secure with this because, maybe, they will steal it from you, no? I am not secure with these investments!”

“Maybe the stock market crashes and you remain with nothing! And then tell me, does one more dollar make you happier or not? Wealth, (it is a ) dangerous treasure, dangerous … ”

Acknowledging that although money “serves to do so many good things, to advance the family,” the Bishop of Rome explained that “if you build it up as a treasure, it will steal your soul!”

“Jesus in the Gospel returns to this topic, on wealth, on the danger of richness, on putting one’s hope in riches” he noted, stating that two other great temptations are those of vanity and power, which stem from pride.

On the contrary, Christ wants us to have “a free heart” the Pope observed, pointing out that “this is today’s message… ‘please, have a free heart,’ Jesus tells us. He speaks to us of the freedom of the heart.”

Going on, he emphasized that “you can only have a free heart with the treasures of heaven: love, patience, service to others, adoration of God.”

“These are the true riches that cannot be stolen. The other riches weigh down the heart. They weigh down the heart: they chain it, they do not give it freedom!”

Pope Francis then referred to Christs’ words that “the lamp of the body is the eye” and that “if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.”

“A luminous heart that is not chained, a heart that advances also ages well, because it ages like good wine: when good wine ages it’s a fine aged wine” the Roman Pontiff noted, explaining that on the other hand “the heart that is not illuminated is like the not-so-good wine.”

“Time passes and it breaks down and becomes vinegar” he stated, praying that God would give us the “spiritual prudence to understand better where my heart is at, and to what treasure my heart is attached.”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis prayed that the Lord give to all the strength “to unchain” our heart if it is chained, “so that it becomes free, becomes bright and give us this beautiful joy of being children of God: that true freedom.”

Pope Francis: God always prepares us for our mission

Vatican City, Jun 13, 2014 / 10:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily homily Pope Francis reflected on the mission given to each of us by God, stating that when the Lord asks us to do something, he always prepare us through a personal process.

“When the Lord wants to give us a mission, wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well, as he prepared Elijah,” the Pope explained in his June 13 daily Mass.

“The most important part of this…is the whole journey by which we arrive at the mission the Lord entrusts to us.”

Speaking to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the Roman Pontiff centered his address on the day’s first reading, taken from the First Book of Kings, in which the prophet Elijah searches for the Lord and finds him only in a small breeze.

Observing how often times we can be courageous servants of God one moment and afterward become depressed when someone in our mission frightens us, the Pope explained that it is always up to God to balance the extremes of human strength and fragility.

Elijah is an example of the story of every human being, he noted, recalling how he first searched for God in a strong wind, an earthquake and a fire, but did not find him until there was a soft breeze.

“The Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, the fire, but in that whisper of a light breeze, in the peace, or, as the original says, – the true original, a beautiful expression – it says: ‘The Lord was in a thread of silent sound,’” the pontiff stated.

Although the finding of God in “that thread of silent sound” might seem “to be a contradiction,” Elijah knew “how to discern where the Lord was,” the Pope continued, “and the Lord prepared him with the gift of discernment. And then He gave him the mission.”

Describing how Elijah’s mission was to anoint the new king of Israel as well as the prophet called to succeed himself, Pope Francis called attention to the delicate and sensitive way in which the prophet’s task was appointed to him, having once been courageous and zealous, but who now seemed defeated.

“The Lord prepares the soul, prepares the heart,” he said, “and He prepares it in trial, He prepares it in obedience, He prepares it in perseverance.”

Emphasizing how God always prepares us when he wants to give us a task, the pontiff explained that the most important element of our preparation is not necessarily our initial encounter with God, “the whole journey by which we arrive at the mission” he has given us.

“And this is the difference between the apostolic mission given us by the Lord, and a common task: ‘Ah, you have to complete this task, you have to do this or that…’ a human duty, honest, good…”

“But when the Lord gives a mission,” he noted, “He always has us enter into a process, a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer.”

Going on, the Bishop of Rome pointed out that to be faithful in this process means “allowing ourselves to be led by the Lord,” just as Elijah did when he overcame his fear of the queen Jezebel, who had threatened to kill him.

Recalling how Jezebel was “a wicked queen, and she killed her enemies,” Pope Francis explained that although Elijah was afraid, “the Lord is more powerful.”

However, going through this process of fear makes the prophet understand “that they, the great and the good, also need the help of the Lord and the preparation for the mission,” he observed.

“We see this: he walks, obeys, suffers, discerns, prays… he finds the Lord,” the Pope concluded, praying that the Lord give each of us “the grace to allow ourselves to prepare every day the way of our life, so that we can bear witness to the salvation of Jesus.”

May the World Cup be a ‘feast of solidarity,’ Pope exhorts

Vatican City, Jun 12, 2014 / 05:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a video message Pope Francis sent for the start of the World Cup, he outlined the importance of good sportsmanship, stating that this attitude helps in building a more peaceful society.

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Pope: Fear of the Lord an alarm reminding us of what’s right

Vatican City, Jun 11, 2014 / 05:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his general audience Pope Francis spoke on the Holy Spirit’s gift of Fear of the Lord, saying it does not mean we should be afraid of God, but rather serves as a reminder to do the ri…

Christianity meant to practiced not imagined, says Pope

Vatican City, Jun 9, 2014 / 08:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis centered his daily homily on the Beatitudes, stating that they are Jesus’ practical guide on how to live the Christian life, which often goes against what the world tells us.

Never forget your first love, Pope encourages priests

Vatican City, Jun 6, 2014 / 05:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis directed his daily homily today to his brother bishops and priests, telling them to always put love of God and their flock first, before pursuing a scholastic career.

“This is the question I ask myself, my brother bishops and priests: how is your love today, the love of Jesus? Is it like first love? Am I as in love today as on the first day?” the Pope asked in his June 6 homily.

Centering his reflections on the day’s Gospel passage from John in which Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” the Roman Pontiff asked those in attendance “How is your first love?” explaining that this question is not only for married couples, but also those consecrated in the Church.

Addressing his fellow priests and bishops, the Bishop of Rome asked whether they still love Jesus as much as they did when they first began their ministry, “Or does work and worries lead me to look at other things, and forget love a little?”

Observing how “There are arguments in marriage. That’s normal,” the Pope explained that “when there is no love, there are no arguments: it breaks.”

“Do I argue, with the Lord? This is a sign of love. This question that Jesus asks of Peter brings him to first love. Never forget your first love. Never.”

In addition to constantly renewing one’s initial love for the Lord, Pope Francis noted that a priest must always remember in his dialogue with Jesus to be a shepherd before wanting to be “a scholar of philosophy or theology.”

A priest must always be a “shepherd” in same way the Jesus showed to Peter in saying “feed my sheep” he said, and the rest will come later.

“Feed. With theology, philosophy, with petrology, with what you study, but feed. Be the shepherd. For the Lord has called us to this. And the bishop’s hands on our head is to be shepherds” the pontiff continued.

“This is a second question, is not it? The first is: ‘How is your first love?’ This, the second: ‘Am I a shepherd, or an employee of this NGO that is called the Church?’ There is a difference. Am I a shepherd?”

Going on, the Pope explained that this is “A question that I have to ask myself; that bishops need to ask, even priests: all of us. Feed. Lead. Go forward.”

He then went on to explain that there is not majesty or glory in being a priest, saying “No, brother. You will end up in the most common, even humiliating circumstances: in bed, having to be fed, dressed…useless, sick.”

“To end up like Him,” like Jesus, is the destiny of a priest, the Roman Pontiff observed, adding that this is a love which dies “as the seed of wheat that will bear fruit. But I will not see it.”

Drawing attention to what he described as the “strongest word” Jesus spoke in the Gospel, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of listening to his command “Follow me!”

Even “If we have lost the way or do not know how to respond to love, we do not know how to respond to being pastors, we do not know how to respond or we do not have the certainty that the Lord will not abandon us even in the worst moments of life, in sickness” he continued.

“He says, ‘Follow me.’ This is our certainty. In the footsteps of Jesus. On that path. ‘Follow me.’”

Concluding his homily, the pontiff asked that the Lord give all priests and bishops “the grace to always find or remember our first love, to be pastors, not to be ashamed of ending up humiliated on a bed or even losing our faculties.”

“And that He always give us the grace to follow Jesus, in the footsteps of Jesus: the grace to follow Him.”

Pope: the Church is not a rental house, but a home

Vatican City, Jun 5, 2014 / 05:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis focused his daily homily on Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his disciples, cautioning that there are many in the Church who call themselves Catholic, but are only half committed.

Gift of knowledge attunes us to vision of God, Pope says

Vatican City, May 21, 2014 / 05:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his general audience address Pope Francis spoke on the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge, explaining that it enlightens our human perspective and helps us to see God in the whole of creation.

“The gift of knowledge puts us in tune with God’s gaze on things and on people” the Pope reflected in his May 21 weekly general audience, continuing his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“Through this spiritual gift, we are enabled to see every person, and the world around us, in the light of God’s loving plan.”

Addressing the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Pontiff noted that “This knowledge does not limit itself to the human knowledge of nature,” but instead “allows us to perceive the greatness of God and his love for his creatures” through creation.

“In a sense, we see the beauty, harmony and goodness of all creation with the eyes of God its maker” he continued, observing that “As is clear from the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi and so many other saints, the gift of knowledge gives rise to grateful contemplation of the world of nature and joyful praise of the Creator.”

Noting how “the beauty and immensity of creation speaks to us of the Creator and invites us to worship him,” the Pope drew attention to the bible’s account of creation in Genesis, saying that it “underscores that God himself was happy with his work: all was good and man was ‘very good.’”

This gift, he went on, teaches us to “exercise wise stewardship” over our resources “for the benefit of the whole human family.”

He then described how the gift of knowledge also “prevents us from restricting our vision to the persons and things of this world alone, forgetting that in their order, value and beauty they point beyond themselves to God,” who is “their source and ultimate end.”

Seeing with the vision of God, he explained, is “A kind and respectful gaze that warns us of the danger of believing we are the total owners of creation, disposing of it as we like and without limits.”

“Creation is not our property, and much less of just a few. It is rather a gift that God has given us so that we take care of it and use it with respect for the benefit of all.”

Bringing his reflections to a close, the Roman Pontiff encouraged those present to ask the Holy Spirit “to help us grow in the knowledge which enables us to perceive the love with which God guides the world, to respond with gratitude and to praise him for his infinite goodness and love.”

“May we see everything around us as God’s work, and our fellow men as brothers and sisters.”

Speaking of his upcoming trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis noted how “this Saturday, I will travel to the Holy Land, the Land of Jesus.”

“It will be a strictly religious trip” he explained, stating that “in first place I will meet my brother Bartholomew the First, as a homage for the 50th anniversary of the encounter between Paul VI and Athenagoras I.”

“Peter and Andrew will meet again and this is beautiful! The second reason for this trip is to pray for peace on this Land that suffers so much. I ask you to pray for this trip.”

Following his address Pope Francis made a series of appeals, asking attendees to pray for victims of the floods ravishing the Balkans, for Catholics in China and for the first-ever Burmese native who be beatified Saturday, May 31, in Aversa, Italy.

“My thoughts go out again to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who have been hard hit by floods, with subsequent loss of life, numerous people displaced and extensive damage,” he stated.

“Unfortunately, the situation has worsened, so I invite you to join me in prayer for the victims and all those who are suffering from this calamity. Let our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community not be lacking to these our brothers and sisters.”

Going on, the Pope noted that May 24 marks the celebration of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, “who is venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.”

“I ask all the faithful to pray that, under the protection of the Mother Help of Christians, Catholics in China continue to believe, to hope, to love and to be, in all circumstances, a leaven of harmonious coexistence among their fellow citizens.”

Finally the Bishop of Rome spoke of the upcoming beatification of Fr. Mario Vergara and the lay catechist Isidore Ngei Ko Lat who were killed in 1950 in Burma, out of hatred for the Christian faith.

The pontiff prayed that “their heroic fidelity to Christ be an encouragement and example to missionaries,” especially “catechists in mission lands who carry out important and irreplaceable Apostolic work, for which the whole Church is grateful.”

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