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Women hand down the faith, pope says

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

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Why is it that mostly women are the ones who hand down the faith generation after generation, Pope Francis asked.

“Quite simply because it was a woman who brought us Jesus. It’s the path Jesus chose. He wanted to have a mother” and chose to come to the world through Mary, the pope said Jan. 26 during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Casa Santa Marta.

The pope’s homily focused on the day’s reading from St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy (1:1-8) in which the apostle highlights Timothy’s “sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice.”

“It’s one thing to hand down the faith and another thing to teach things about the faith. Faith is a gift. Faith cannot be studied,” he said. “Yes, you study the contents of the faith to understand it better, but you never come to faith by studying.”

“Faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit, it is a present that goes beyond any kind of training,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

Handing on the faith is “the beautiful work of mothers and grandmothers,” or sometimes it comes from an aunt or a domestic helper, the pope said. “We need to reflect on whether women today are aware of this obligation to transmit the faith.”

Once a person receives the faith, he said, they also must recognize the need to safeguard it, protect it from becoming weak and “empty pagan chitchat” or “meaningless worldly small talk.”

If people are not vigilant in living out their faith concretely every day, “the faith weakens, it gets watered down, it ends up being a culture: ‘Yes, well, yes, yes, I am a Christian, yes.’ It’s just a culture,” he said.

Or else it becomes just another collection of facts or information, he said. “‘Yes, I know everything about the faith very well, I know the catechism very well,’” he said, imitating what someone who sees faith only as knowledge might say.

What matters is “how do you live your faith? That is why it is important to revive this gift every day, to make it come alive,” the pope said.

People should not be ashamed of their faith, hiding it, letting it become “wishy-washy” or not “living it with total commitment,” he said. Cowardice hurts the faith because it doesn’t let the faith “grow, go forward, become great.”

Echoing St. Paul, the pope said God did not give believers cowardice or embarrassment, but “a spirit of power, love and prudence” or self-control.

Prudence is “knowing that we cannot do everything we want,” he said; it means seeking ways to share the faith with care.

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to have a sincere faith, a faith that does not compromise according to whatever opportunities crop up. A faith that I seek to rekindle every day or at least that I ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle it and that way offer great fruit.”

 

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Pray for peace, sow harmony, look to Mary as model disciple, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Peace is a gift that comes through prayer and through small daily efforts to sow harmony in one’s family, parish and community, Pope Francis said.

“At the beginning of this new year, we are all called to reignite in our hearts a spark of hope, which must be translated into concrete works of peace: You don’t get along with that person? Make peace. In your home? Make peace. In the community? Make peace. At work? Make peace,” he said Jan. 4 during his midday recitation of the Angelus.

Pope Francis gestures as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 1. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Francis gestures as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 1. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Before announcing the names of the 20 new cardinals he will create Feb. 14, Pope Francis used his Sunday Angelus address to continue the reflection on peace, on Mary and on the church that he began during a Mass Jan. 1 marking the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the World Day of Prayer for Peace.

“Peace is not just an absence of war, but the general condition of the person who is in harmony with him- or herself, in harmony with nature and in harmony with others,” he said during the Angelus address.

Everyone says they want peace, Pope Francis said, but they continue to make war, even on a small scale. “How many families, how many communities — even parishes — are at war,” he said.

Describing Mary as the “queen of peace,” the pope said that during her earthly life she knew difficulty, “but she never lost her peace of heart, a fruit of having abandoned herself with trust to the mercy of God. We ask Mary, our tender mother, to point the whole world to the sure path of love and peace.”

Reciting the Angelus Jan. 1, he reminded people that the theme of his 2015 peace day message was “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.”

“War makes us slaves always,” he said. “We are all called to combat every form of slavery and build brotherhood. And remember, peace is possible.”

Faith helps make people free, and living the tenets of faith helps make them peacemakers, he said.

“Thanks to our baptism, we were introduced into communion with God and we are no longer at the whim of evil and sin, but we receive the love, tenderness and mercy of the heavenly Father,” he said.

Earlier Jan. 1, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and focused his homily on Mary as both the mother of God and mother of the church.

“Jesus,” he told the congregation, “cannot be understood without his mother,” the one who gave him human flesh, raised him and was near him always, even as he died on the cross and rose from the dead.

“Likewise inseparable are Christ and the church,” he said. And, just as Mary brought Jesus into the world more than 2,000 years ago, the church continues to bring him to the world, he said.

Pope Francis repeated what he has said in the past: “It is not possible to love Christ without the church, to listen to Christ but not the church, to belong to Christ but not the church.”

The church brings Christ to people, nourishes people with the sacraments and helps them understand what it means to belong to Christ, the pope said. “Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.”

“Where can we encounter him? We encounter him in the church, in our hierarchical, holy mother church,” he said. “It is the church which says today: ‘Behold the Lamb of God.’ It is the church which proclaims him. It is in the church that Jesus continues to accomplish his acts of grace which are the sacraments.”

“Without the church,” the pope said, “Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.”

 

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The church sings ‘Along comes Mary’

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“And then along comes Mary, and does she want to set them free, and let them see reality.” In 1966, these words were sung by the groovy band The Association, in its huge chart hit, “Along Comes Mary.”

Each Sept. 8, the church, in universal praise, sings its version of “Along Comes Mary” as it celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Read more »

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Our Lady of Haste: Mary is always ready to help, pope says

June 2nd, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

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VATICAN CITY — Standing before a replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes from France, Pope Francis told Vatican employees and other guests that Mary is a mother who never makes her children wait for a response to their prayers.

A statue of Mary overlooks the grounds of St. Jude Church in Mastic Beach, N.Y.(CNS fileo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

“She is the virgin of readiness, Our Lady of Haste,” the pope said May 31 at the end of a rosary procession and prayer service marking the feast of the Visitation and the end of May, the month traditionally devoted to Mary.

As darkness fell and those participating in the procession held candles in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis noted how in the Gospel of Luke’s description of Mary visiting her cousin Elisabeth, it says Mary went “in haste.”

“She did not lose time; she went right away to serve,” the pope said.

Mary is always “ready to come to our aid when we pray to her, when we ask her help, her protection over us,” Pope Francis said. “In the many moments of life when we need the help of her protection, remember that she will not make us wait: she is Our Lady of Haste.”

 

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