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Pope tells Chilean youth to stay “connected” to Christ to be protagonists of ‎change

posted Jan 18, 2018, 5:24 PM by News Editor


Pope Francis on Wednesday urged young Chileans to be “protagonists of change” in the nation and in the Church by staying “connected” to Christ and doing what He would do in their place. Speaking to them at the National Shrine of Maipu dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel, in Santiago, the Argentinian Pope improvised amply in his native Spanish, underscoring the importance and experience of young people, saying he wants them to help the Church “to be more faithful to the Gospel,” and “draw closer to Jesus.”

Mobile phone

Pope Francis used the analogy of a mobile phone with battery running down and losing internet connection, to hit home his message of how to stay connected to Christ when faith begins to waver.“Without a connection, a connection to Jesus,” the Pope said, “we end up drowning our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and our faith, and so we get frustrated and annoyed,” and our hearts begin to falter. But the Pope cautioned, “Never think that you have nothing to offer or that nobody cares about you.”  Citing Chilean St. Albert Hurtado, he said it is the devil who makes us feel worthless.

Pope Francis pointed out that the disciples of John the Baptist followed Jesus, because they wanted the ‎‎“connection” to help them keep the flame alive in their hearts.  They ‎wanted to know how to charge the power cells of their heart.  They were looking for the password to ‎connect with the one who is “the way, and the truth and the life”. ‎

Jesus - password and power source

Pope Francis offered the young people the words of Hurtado as the password to log on: “What would Christ do in my place?”  This they can ask themseles at school, at university, outdoors, at home, among friends, at work, when taunted, the Pope said, “He is the password, the power source that charges our hearts, ignites our faith and makes our eyes sparkle.  And the only way not to forget the password, the Pope said, is by using it over and over, day after day. A time will come, he said,  when without realizing it, your heart will beat like Jesus’ heart and live the way Jesus lived.  Time and again, in his talk, Pope asked the young people their password. 

Gospel models

Pope Francis offered young Chileans several Gospel models to follow.  He urged them to be young Samaritans, who never walk past someone lying on the roadside.  He told them to be young Simons of Cyrene who help Christ carry his cross and help alleviate the sufferings of their brothers and sisters.  “Be like Zacchaeus, who turns his heart from materialism to solidarity.  Be like young Mary Magdalene, passionately seeking love, who finds in Jesus alone the answers she needs.  Have the heart of Peter, so that you can abandon your nets beside the lake.  Have the love of John, so that you can rest all your concerns in him.  Have the openness of Mary, so that you can sing for joy and do God’s will,” the Pope said. 
Before concluding, Pope Francis once more reminded the young men and women not to forget their password.


(From: Vatican News)

"Catechism is not enough to know Jesus, we need prayer" Pope Francis

posted Oct 21, 2016, 11:48 AM by News Editor


Vatican: Pope Francis said the catechism on its own is not sufficient to truly know Jesus and we need prayer, worship and to recognize ourselves as sinners. His words came during his morning Mass celebrated on Thursday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.

The cue for the Pope’s reflections during his homily came from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where the Apostle prayed that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in their hearts.

Noting that Paul spoke of plunging into the immense sea that is the person of Christ, Pope Francis asked “how can we know Christ, How can we understand His love that is beyond all knowledge?”

“Christ is present in the Gospel and we know Christ by reading the Gospel. And all of us do this, at least we hear the Gospel when we go to Mass. And studying the catechism teaches us who Christ is. But this is not enough. In order to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of Jesus Christ we need to enter into the habit, firstly of praying, as Paul did on his knees: “Father send me the Holy Spirit to know Jesus.”

But in order to truly know Christ, the Pope stressed that prayer on its own is not enough and as Paul said, in addition to praying he “worships this mystery” that is beyond our knowledge and in this spirit of worship or adoration he asks for this grace from the Lord.

“We cannot know the Lord without this habit of worship, to worship in silence, adoration. If I am not mistaken, I believe that this prayer of adoration is the least known by us, it’s the one that we do least. Allow me to say this, waste time in front of the Lord, in front of the mystery of Jesus Christ. Worship him. There in silence, the silence of adoration. He is the Saviour and I worship Him.” 

Pope Francis said the third requirement for truly knowing Christ was to know ourselves and as a result be accustomed to describing ourselves as sinners.

“We cannot worship without accusing ourselves. In order to enter into this bottomless and boundless sea that is the mystery of Jesus Christ, this thing is necessary. (Firstly), prayer:  ‘Father, send me the Holy Spirit so that he leads me to know Jesus.’  Secondly, worship the mystery, enter into the mystery and worship Him. And thirdly, accuse ourselves. ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ May the Lord give us too this grace that Paul implored for the Ephesians, this grace to know and earn Christ.




(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: 'Invest in the future by giving formation to young people'

posted Oct 21, 2016, 11:41 AM by News Editor   [ updated Oct 21, 2016, 11:45 AM ]


Vatican: Pope Francis on Friday spoke of the importance of promoting and supporting young people so they can face the challenges of life. “Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow” he said. The Pope was addressing members of the John Paul II Foundation that is celebrating the 35th anniversary from its foundation.

To those present in the Vatican for the occasion, Pope Francis said the anniversary is a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but it is also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.  The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization.

Pointing out that the work of the Foundation spans many countries and has benefited many students – especially in Eastern Europe – the Pope said: “I encourage you to continue in your commitment to promote and support the younger generation, so that it can face the challenges of life with evangelical sensitivity and with faith. Providing youth with formation is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow!”

The Pope also commented on the soon-to-end Holy Year of Mercy saying it has inspired us to reflect and to meditate on the greatness of Divine Mercy in a time in which man, thanks to enormous progress in various fields of technology and science, “tends to feel self-sufficient, as if   emancipated from a higher authority, and believes that everything depends upon himself”.

“As Christians, he said, we are aware that everything is a gift from God and that true wealth is not wealth, which indeed can enslave us, but love for God that sets us free”. Pope Francis also recalled his recent journey to Poland, where – he said – he experienced the joy of faith within the World Youth Day celebrations. He recalled the Polish Saint Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II whom, he said, were both apostles of Divine Mercy. 

Saint John Paul II, the Pope continued, in his Encyclical “Dives in misericordia”, says that especially through his life and action Jesus revealed how love is present in the world we live in: “love at work, a love that speaks to man and embraces the whole of humanity”. 

“This love is particularly noticeable when in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all those conditions that, in various ways, manifest man's physical and moral limitations and frailty” he said. And the Pope recalled Saint Faustina saying that in her diary, she wrote that the Lord Jesus himself had urged her to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others. “May the words, and especially the examples of the lives of these two luminous witnesses, Pope Francis concluded, always inspire your generous commitment”.

The John Paul II Foundation was established by Saint John Paul II in October 1981 when he celebrated the third anniversary of his election as Pontiff. His aim was to support Catholic education in former Soviet Union countries by providing fellowships and bursaries to students from Eastern Europe.  

 

(From Vatican Radio)

The devil seeks to divide the Church at the root of unity : Pope Francis

posted Sep 13, 2016, 11:08 AM by News Editor   [ updated Sep 13, 2016, 11:09 AM ]

Vatican: Divisions destroy the Church, and the devil seeks to attack the root of unity, the celebration of the Eucharist. That was the message of Pope Francis on Monday morning at the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, on the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Commenting on the reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians — where St Paul rebuked the Corinthians for their contentiousness — Pope Francis said, “The devil has two very powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money.” And this has happened from the beginning: “ideological, theological divisions that lacerate the Church. The devil sows jealousy, ambitions, ideas, but to divide! Or greed.” And, as happens after a war, “everything is destroyed. And the devil is pleased. And we, naïve as we are, are his game.” “It is a dirty war, that of divisions,” he repeated. “It’s like terrorism,” the war of gossiping in the community, that of language that kills”:

“And the divisions in the Church do not allow the Kingdom to grow; they do not allow the Lord to be seen as He is. Divisions make you see this part, this one against the other. Always against! There is no oil of unity, the balsam of unity. But the devil goes elsewhere, not only in the Christian community, he goes right to the root of Christian unity. And this happens here, in the city of Corinth, to the Corinthians. Paul rebukes them precisely because divisions arise, right at the heart of unity, that is, in the Eucharistic celebration.”

In the case of Corinth, riches make divisions between the rich and the poor precisely during the Eucharist. Jesus, the Pope said, “prayed to the Father for unity. But the devil seeks to destroy it” even there:

“I ask you to do everything possible to not destroy the Church with divisions; they are ideological, they come from greed and ambition, they come from jealousy. And above all to pray, and to keep the founts, the very roots of the unity of the Church, which is the Body of Christ; which we, every day, celebrate [in] His sacrifice in the Eucharist.”

Saint Paul speaks about the divisions among the Corinthians, two thousand years ago:

“Paul could say this to all of us today, to the Church of today. ‘Brothers, in this I cannot praise you, because you are gathered together not for the better, but for the worse!’ But the Church gathers everyone together — for the worse, for divisions: for the worse! To soil the Body of Christ in the Eucharistic celebration! And the same Paul tells us, in another passage: ‘He who eats and drinks the Body and the Blood of Christ unworthily, eats and drinks his own condemnation.’ Let us ask the Lord for the unity of the Church, that there may not be divisions. And for unity also in the root of the Church, which is precisely the sacrifice of Christ, which we celebrate every day.”

Among those present at the day’s Mass was Archbishop Arturo Antonio Szymanski Ramírez, the Archbishop emeritus of San Luis Potosí in Mexico, who turned 95 in January. Pope Francis noted his presence at the beginning of his homily, recalling that the Archbishop had taken part in the Second Vatican Council, and that he still helps in a parish. The Holy Father had received Archbishop Szymanski in an audience on Friday.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis to youth: "Jesus is calling you to leave a mark on history"

posted Sep 13, 2016, 10:59 AM by News Editor   [ updated Sep 13, 2016, 11:01 AM ]

Kraków: During the prayer vigil at WYD 2016, Pope Francis urged the young generation that Jesus is calling them to leave a mark on history.Below is the complete message given by Pope Francis.

Dear young people, good evening!

It is good to be here with you at this Prayer Vigil!

At the end of his powerful and moving witness, Rand asked something of us. He said: “I earnestly ask you to pray for my beloved country”. Her story, involving war, grief and loss, ended with a request for prayers. Is there a better way for us to begin our vigil than by praying?

We have come here from different parts of the world, from different continents, countries, languages, cultures and peoples. Some of us are sons and daughters of nations that may be at odds and engaged in various conflicts or even open war. Others of us come from countries that may be at “peace”, free of war and conflict, where most of the terrible things occurring in our world are simply a story on the evening news. But think about it. For us, here, today, coming from different parts of the world, the suffering and the wars that many young people experience are no longer anonymous, something we read about in the papers. They have a name, they have a face, they have a story, they are close at hand. Today the war in Syria has caused pain and suffering for so many people, for so many young people like our good friend Rand, who has come here and asked us to pray for his beloved country.

Some situations seem distant until in some way we touch them. We don’t appreciate certain things because we only see them on the screen of a cell phone or a computer. But when we come into contact with life, with people’s lives, not just images on a screen, something powerful happens. We feel the need to get involved. To see that there are no more “forgotten cities”, to use Rand’s words, or brothers and sisters of ours “surrounded by death and killing”, completely helpless. Dear friends, I ask that we join in prayer for the sufferings of all the victims of war and for the many families of beloved Syria and other parts of our world. Once and for all, may we realize that nothing justifies shedding the blood of a brother or sister; that nothing is more precious than the person next to us. In asking you to pray for this, I would also like to thank Natalia and Miguel for sharing their own battles and inner conflicts. You told us about your struggles, and about how you succeeded in overcoming them. Both of you are a living sign of what God’s mercy wants to accomplish in us.

This is no time for denouncing anyone or fighting. We do not want to tear down. We have no desire to conquer hatred with more hatred, violence with more violence, terror with more terror. We are here today because the Lord has called us together. Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family. We celebrate the fact that coming from different cultures, we have come together to pray. Let our best word, our best argument, be our unity in prayer. Let us take a moment of silence and pray. Let us place before the Lord these testimonies of our friends, and let us identify with those for whom “the family is a meaningless concept, the home only a place to sleep and eat”, and with those who live with the fear that their mistakes and sins have made them outcasts. Let us also place before the Lord your own “battles”, the interior struggles that each of your carries in his or her heart.

As we were praying, I thought of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Picturing them can help us come to appreciate all that God dreams of accomplishing in our lives, in us and with us. That day, the disciples were together behind locked doors, out of fear. They felt threatened, surrounded by an atmosphere of persecution that had cornered them in a little room and left them silent and paralyzed. Fear had taken hold of them. Then, in that situation, something spectacular, something grandiose, occurred. The Holy Spirit and tongues as of fire came to rest upon each of them, propelling them towards an undreamt-of adventure.

We have heard three testimonies. Our hearts were touched by their stories, their lives. We have seen how, like the disciples, they experienced similar moments, living through times of great fear, when it seemed like everything was falling apart. The fear and anguish born of knowing that leaving home might mean never again seeing their loved ones, the fear of not feeling appreciated or loved, the fear of having no choices. They shared with us the same experience the disciples had; they felt the kind of fear that only leads to one thing: the feeling of being closed in on oneself, trapped. Once we feel that way, our fear starts to fester and is inevitably joined by its “twin sister”, paralysis: the feeling of being paralyzed. Thinking that in this world, in our cities and our communities, there is no longer any room to grow, to dream, to create, to gaze at new horizons – in a word to live – is one of the worst things that can happen to us in life. When we are paralyzed, we miss the magic of encountering others, making friends, sharing dreams, walking at the side of others.

But in life there is another, even more dangerous, kind of paralysis. It is not easy to put our finger on it. I like to describe it as the paralysis that comes from confusing happiness with a sofa. In other words, to think that in order to be happy all we need is a good sofa. A sofa that makes us feel comfortable, calm, safe. A sofa like one of those we have nowadays with a built-in massage unit to put us to sleep. A sofa that promises us hours of comfort so we can escape to the world of videogames and spend all kinds of time in front of a computer screen. A sofa that keeps us safe from any kind of pain and fear. A sofa that allows us to stay home without needing to work at, or worry about, anything. “Sofa-happiness”! That is probably the most harmful and insidious form of paralysis, since little by little, without even realizing it, we start to nod off, to grow drowsy and dull while others – perhaps more alert than we are, but not necessarily better – decide our future for us. For many people in fact, it is much easier and better to have drowsy and dull kids who confuse happiness with a sofa. For many people, that is more convenient than having young people who are alert and searching, trying to respond to God’s dream and to all the restlessness present in the human heart.

The truth, though, is something else. Dear young people, we didn’t come into this work to “vegetate”, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark. It is very sad to pass through life without leaving a mark. But when we opt for ease and convenience, for confusing happiness with consumption, then we end up paying a high price indeed: we lose our freedom.

This is itself a great form of paralysis, whenever we start thinking that happiness is the same as comfort and convenience, that being happy means going through life asleep or on tranquillizers, that the only way to be happy is to live in a haze. Certainly, drugs are bad, but there are plenty of other socially acceptable drugs, that can end up enslaving us just the same. One way or the other, they rob us of our greatest treasure: our freedom.
My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, of the eternal “more”. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths. To blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, the joy that is born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy. To take the path of the “craziness” of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists. The God who asks us to devise an economy inspired by solidarity. In all the settings in which you find yourselves, God’s love invites you bring the Good News, making of your own lives a gift to him and to others.
You might say to me: Father, that is not for everybody, but just for a chosen few. True, and those chosen are all who are ready to share their lives with others. Just as the Holy Spirit transformed the hearts of the disciples on the day of Pentecost, so he did with our friends who shared their testimonies. I will use your own words, Miguel. You told us that in the “Facenda” on the day they entrusted you with the responsibility for helping make the house run better, you began to understand that God was asking something of you. That is when things began to change.

That is the secret, dear friends, and all of us are called to share in it. God expects something from you. God wants something from you. God hopes in you. God comes to break down all our fences. He comes to open the doors of our lives, our dreams, our ways of seeing things. God comes to break open everything that keeps you closed in. He is encouraging you to dream. He wants to make you see that, with you, the world can be different. For the fact is, unless you offer the best of yourselves, the world will never be different.

The times we live in do not call for young “couch potatoes” but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced. It only takes players on the first string, and it has no room for bench-warmers. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark. History today calls us to defend our dignity and not to let others decide our future. As he did on Pentecost, the Lord wants to work one of the greatest miracles we can experience; he wants to turn your hands, my hands, our hands, into signs of reconciliation, of communion, of creation. He wants your hands to continue building the world of today. And he wants to build that world with you.

You might say to me: Father, but I have my limits, I am a sinner, what can I do? When the Lord calls us, he doesn’t worry about what we are, what we have been, or what we have done or not done. Quite the opposite. When he calls us, he is thinking about everything we have to give, all the love we are capable of spreading. His bets are on the future, on tomorrow. Jesus is pointing you to the future.

So today, my friends, Jesus is inviting you, calling you, to leave your mark on life, to leave a mark on history, your own and that of many others as well.

Life nowadays tells us that it is much easier to concentrate on what divides us, what keeps us apart. People try to make us believe that being closed in on ourselves is the best way to keep safe from harm. Today, we adults need you to teach us how to live in diversity, in dialogue, to experience multiculturalism not as a threat but an opportunity. Have the courage to teach us that it is easier to build bridges than walls! Together we ask that you challenge us to take the path of fraternity. To build bridges… Do you know the first bridge that has to be built? It is a bridge that we can build here and now – by reaching out and taking each other’s hand. Come on, build it now, here, this first of bridges: take each other’s hand. This is a great bridge of brotherhood, and would that the powers of this world might learn to build it… not for pictures on the evening news but for building ever bigger bridges. May this human bridge be the beginning of many, many others; in that way, it will leave a mark.

Today Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life, is calling you to leave your mark on history. He, who is life, is asking each of you to leave a mark that brings life to your own history and that of many others. He, who is truth, is asking you to abandon the paths of rejection, division and emptiness. Are you up to this? What answer will you give, with your hands and with your feet, to the Lord, who is the way, the truth and the life?




Curtsy: CNS

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