Home » Posts tagged 'love'

On the feast of Stephen, Pope asks for love, prayers for persecuted Christians

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Despite increased persecution and attacks against Christians, the faithful must strengthen their courage and joyful desire to follow Christ no matter the cost, Pope Francis said.

St. Stephen the Martyr is seen this detail from a mural painted by Lorenzo Sabbatini during its restoration in 2007 at the Vatican. During a noon blessing Dec. 26 at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke on the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, saying that by choosing truth, St. Stephen also "became victim of the mystery of wickedness present in the world. But in Christ, Stephen won." (CNS photo/courtesy of the Vatican Museums)

St. Stephen the Martyr is seen this detail from a mural painted by Lorenzo Sabbatini during its restoration in 2007 at the Vatican. During a noon blessing Dec. 26 at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke on the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, saying that by choosing truth, St. Stephen also “became victim of the mystery of wickedness present in the world. But in Christ, Stephen won.” (CNS photo/courtesy of the Vatican Museums)

By choosing God’s path of truth, “light and life” over all else, Christians continue to give witness and persevere in “living according to the logic of the Gospel and refusing the logic of the rulers of this world,” he said at a noon blessing Dec. 26 at the Vatican to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope spoke on the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, saying that by choosing truth, St. Stephen also “became victim of the mystery of wickedness present in the world. But in Christ, Stephen won.”

Jesus forewarned his disciples that they would be hated and suffer in his name, the pope said, adding that such persecution continues today with so many men and women experiencing oppression, violence, hatred and even martyrdom because of their faith.

“Why does the world persecute Christians?” the pope asked.

For the same reason the world hated Jesus, “because he brought God’s light and the world prefers darkness for hiding its evil deeds.”

“Following Jesus means following his light, which was lit in the night of Bethlehem, and abandoning the darkness of the world,” the pope said.

The same cruelty experienced in the early church continues to exist and “there are more martyrs today” than during the early centuries, he said.

The pope asked people to think of those “who suffer persecution, to be close to them with our affection, our prayers and even our tears.”

He cited the courage of Iraqi Christians, saying those who had celebrated Mass Christmas Eve in their destroyed churches were “an example of fidelity to the Gospel.”

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians attended Christmas Eve Mass at St. George Chaldean Catholic in Bartella, near Mosul, in northern Iraq, after the area was freed from Islamic State forces who had occupied the area for more than two years.

“Despite the hardship and dangers, they courageously give witness to their belonging to Christ and live the Gospel dedicating themselves to the least, the most neglected, doing good to everyone without distinction, in this way, witnessing charity in the truth,” the pope said.

With Christmas being the time to make more room in our hearts for Jesus, “let us renew the joyous and courageous desire to faithfully follow him as the one and only guide,” he said.

After praying the Angelus, the pope thanked everyone who had sent him Christmas greetings and prayers, apologizing for not being able to personally respond to the many messages he received.

A “heartfelt thank you! May the Lord reward you with his generosity,” he said.

 

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @carolglatz.

Comments Off on On the feast of Stephen, Pope asks for love, prayers for persecuted Christians

There’s no app for happiness, pope tells 100,000 teens at Year of Mercy event

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Happiness “is not an ‘app’ that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update help you become free and great in loving,” Pope Francis told thousands of teenagers.

Pope Francis hears confession of a youth April 23 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Francis hears confession of a youth April 23 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Youth from around the world flocked to Rome for a special Year of Mercy event for teens aged 13-16. The celebrations began April 23 with confessions in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope caught many off guard as he made an unannounced visit to the square. After greeting several people, he placed a purple stole over his shoulders and sat down, joining more than 150 priests offering the sacrament of reconciliation.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope “listened to the confessions of 16 boys and girls,” spending more than an hour in the square.

Celebrating Mass with the young people April 24, the pope told them true freedom is priceless and comes from making the courageous decision to do good and not from the mediocre belief that happiness can be easily obtained through worldly possessions and fashion.

A person’s happiness has “has no price and cannot be bought,” the pope told them during the Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

Gray clouds looming over St. Peter’s Square did little to deter an estimated 100,000 young teens and pilgrims from attending the final Mass of the jubilee celebration.

In his homily, the pope encouraged the youths to carry out the “enormous responsibility” entrusted to the disciples by Jesus in the Sunday Gospel reading: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love, he said, is the “only valid ‘document’ identifying us as Christians” and the only path to happiness.

True love is free “without being possessive” of people or worldly things, he said. “There is always a temptation to let our affections be tainted by an instinctive desire to take, to have what we find pleasing; our consumerist culture reinforces this tendency. Yet when we hold on too tightly to something, it fades, it dies and then we feel confused, empty inside,” he said.

The freedom that comes from love, he continued, does not come from “doing whatever you want,” which only makes people “self-centered and aloof,” but is a gift that comes from “being able to choose good.”

“Be skeptical about people who want to make you believe that you are only important if you act tough like the heroes in films or if you wear the latest fashions. Your happiness has no price; it cannot be bought,” the pope stressed.

The first day of the celebration ended late April 23 with music and testimonies at Rome’s Olympic Stadium for an estimated 70,000 youth. In a video message played at the rally, Pope Francis compared the absence of Jesus in one’s life to being somewhere without a cellphone signal so it is impossible to connect with each other.

“Just remember that if Jesus is not in your life, it is as though there was no signal,” he said. “Let’s always place ourselves where we have the signal: the family, the parish, the school, because in this world we will always have something to say that is good and true.”

The youths had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica, and the pope told them, “Do not forget that the door is the encounter with Christ, who introduces us to the Father who asks us to be merciful as he is merciful.”

Reminding them of the importance of simple gestures in carrying out works of mercy, the pope said that to be merciful with others, one must first be able to forgive. Resentments or the desire for revenge are like a worm that “eats away at the soul and does not allow us to be happy,” he said.

“Let us forgive and forget the wrong done to us; in this way we can understand the teaching of Jesus and be his disciples and witnesses of mercy,” he said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on There’s no app for happiness, pope tells 100,000 teens at Year of Mercy event

How do I love thee? Gospel teaches how to count the ways, pope says

May 7th, 2015 Posted in Featured, Marriage and Family, Vatican News Tags: ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Real love is constant, concrete and communicates — it is action over words and it obeys the Beatitudes, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

True love is not “soap-opera love,” or “a whim” or something that “makes our heart beat a little faster,” and then nothing more, the pope said May 7 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Read more »

Comments Off on How do I love thee? Gospel teaches how to count the ways, pope says

God’s law is about love, not doctrine, Pope Francis says

March 26th, 2015 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — God’s law is about love for God and for others, not cold, abstract doctrine, Pope Francis said at a morning Mass.

“It’s sad to be a believer without joy and there is no joy when there is no faith, when there is no hope, when there is no law, but only rules and cold doctrine,” he said at the Mass in the Casa Santa Marta March 26.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

“The joy of faith, the joy of the Gospel is the touchstone of a person’s faith. Without joy, that person is not a true believer,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

In his homily, the pope pointed to Abraham as a model of faith, hope and joy in God’s covenant. But such joy was absent in the doctors of the law described in the day’s Gospel reading; they threw stones at Jesus after he told them how Abraham “rejoiced to see my day.”

“These doctors of the law didn’t understand,” Pope Francis said. “They didn’t understand the joy of the promise; they didn’t understand the joy of hope; they didn’t understand the joy of the covenant.”

The doctors of the law “didn’t know how to rejoice because they had lost the sense of joy that only comes from faith,” he said. Not only did they lack faith, “they had lost the law. Because at the heart of the law is love, love for God and for one’s neighbor.”

“They only had a system of clear-cut doctrines,” he said.

As “men without faith, without law and attached to doctrine,” they lived in a world that was “abstract, a world without love, a world without faith, a world without hope, a world without trust, a world without God. And this is why they could not rejoice,” the pope said. “Their hearts had petrified.”

He asked that people pray for “the grace to be jubilant in the hope” of knowing and encountering Jesus and for the “grace of joy.”

Pope Francis began the day’s Mass with a prayer to St. Teresa of Avila, asking for her intercession in the cause for world peace.

After lighting a candle, he prayed that “the fire of God’s love may conquer the blaze of war and violence that afflict humanity, and that dialogue may prevail over armed conflict everywhere.”

His prayer was part of a worldwide initiative sponsored by the Order of Discalced Carmelites to get people of all denominations and faiths to offer an hour of prayer for peace March 26.

The prayer initiative was the order’s “birthday gift” to their foundress, St. Teresa, in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of her birth March 28; a series of celebrations began on her feast day Oct. 15.

St. Teresa of Avila was a 16th-century mystic, co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites and doctor of the church.

 

Comments Off on God’s law is about love, not doctrine, Pope Francis says

On feast of the Sacred Heart, pope says love is best expressed through actions

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Love is more about giving than receiving and is best expressed through action, not words, Pope Francis said.

A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at St. Anthony’s Chapel on Troy Hill in Pittsburgh. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

God’s love, in fact, can only be experienced by people willing to let go of their egos and humbly let God take the lead, allowing him take their hand like a loving father with his children, the pope said in his homily June 27.

Celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Francis focused his homily on the heart of Jesus and his immense love.

“One can say that today is the feast of God’s love in Jesus Christ, of God’s love for us, of God’s love in us,” he said during an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope said, “There are two aspects of love. First, love is more about giving than receiving. Second, love is more about deeds than words,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

Love is always given or transmitted to another, he said, and “love always gives life, fosters growth.”

But, in order to understand and experience God’s love, people have to be humble and childlike before the immensity of the divine, he said. God wants a “father-child relationship” with people and wants to assure everybody, “I am with you.”

“This is the tender affection of the Lord,” the pope said. “This is what he communicates and it gives strength to our tenderness.

“But if we make ourselves out to be strong,” he said, “we will never experience the Lord’s caress, the Lord’s caresses, (that are) so beautiful.”

When Jesus says, “Be not afraid. I am with you,” and explains “I am meek and humble of heart,” the pope said, he is helping people understand “the mysterious love” God has for us.

Jesus himself, “the son of God, lowers himself in order to receive the father’s love,” Pope Francis said.

The other defining characteristic of God’s love is that “he loved us first,” the pope said. God is always “before us” and “he is waiting for us.”

“When we go looking for him, he sought us out first. He is always ahead of us, he’s waiting for us in order to receive us in his heart, in his love,” the pope said. “He gives us joy and takes us on life’s journey like a child, by our hand.”

To express his love, he said, God “needs our smallness, to lower ourselves. And he also needs our amazement when we look for him and discover him already there, waiting for us.”

 

 

Comments Off on On feast of the Sacred Heart, pope says love is best expressed through actions

Baptism isn’t a formality, it gives strength to forgive and love, pope says at general audience

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Baptism isn’t just some formal ritual, it profoundly changes people, giving them unwavering hope and the strength to forgive and love others, Pope Francis said.

“With baptism, we are immersed in that inexhaustible source of life that is Jesus’ death, the greatest act of love in all of history,” he said during his first general audience of 2014.

Pope Francis passes circus performers on stilts as he arrives to leads his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope spent nearly two hours after the audience Jan. 8 greeting people, blessing the sick, speaking with newlyweds and receiving notes, letters and late Christmas gifts from the crowd. He also watched a brief performance by acrobats, jugglers and clowns who were part of an international Golden Circus festival.

During his usual rounds through St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile before the start of the audience, the pope caught sight of a friend in the crowd. The pope had the driver stop the popemobile and gestured for his friend to board the vehicle.

The friend, Father Fabian Baez, sat in the back seat, then walked with the pope to a special seating section for guests.

Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said the priest works in a parish in Buenos Aires and that the pope said Father Baez was “a great confessor.”

The pope began the new year of audience talks with a new series of catecheses on the sacraments, starting with baptism, the sacrament that “grafts us as living members in Christ and in his church.”

Baptism isn’t merely “a simple rite, a formal act of the church,” he said. “It is an act that profoundly touches our existence” and radically changes the person.

“A baptized baby is not the same as a baby who’s not baptized. A baptized person is not the same as a person who’s not baptized,” he said.

By being immersed in the living waters of Christ’s salvation, he said, “we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but in communion with God and our brothers and sisters,” embarking on a whole new life.

The pope reminded his audience that it was very important for Christians to know the date of their baptism because it was “a happy day” of celebration.

Recalling that event is important because there is always the risk people think of it as something that happened in the past or that it was something just their parents wanted, and was “not of our volition.”

Even though chances are people were just infants on that day and can’t remember it firsthand, “We have to reawaken the memory of our baptism” and live it every day as a great gift from the Lord, the pope said.

“If we are able to follow Jesus and remain in the church, even with our limits, frailties and our sins, it is precisely because of the sacrament in which we became new beings and were vested in Christ.”

The power of baptism frees people from original sin, grafts them to God and makes them bearers of “a new hope” that nothing and nobody can destroy, he said.

“Thanks to baptism, we are able to forgive, to love, even those who offend us and hurt us; that we are able to recognize the face of Christ in the least and the poor,” he said.

The fact that baptism is always conferred by a priest in the Lord’s name shows it is a gift that is passed on from person to person “a chain of grace,” he said. It is “an act of fraternity” and becoming a child of the church, who, like a mother, generates new children in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

 

Comments Off on Baptism isn’t a formality, it gives strength to forgive and love, pope says at general audience
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.