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Divine Mercy opens the door to understanding the mystery of God, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Mercy is a true form of knowledge that allows men and women to understand the mystery of God’s love for humanity, Pope Francis said.

Having experienced forgiveness, Christians have a duty to forgive others, giving a “visible sign” of God’s mercy, which “carries within it the peace of heart and the joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord,” the pope said April 23 before praying the “Regina Coeli” with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

A child waves a Mexican flag as Pope Francis leads the "Regina Coeli" in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 23, Divine Mercy Sunday. (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

A child waves a Mexican flag as Pope Francis leads the “Regina Coeli” in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 23, Divine Mercy Sunday. (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

“Mercy helps us understand that violence, resentment and revenge do not have any meaning and that the first victim is the one who lives with these feelings, because he is deprived of his own dignity,” he said.

Commemorating Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis said St. John Paul II’s establishment of the feast in 2000 was a “beautiful intuition” inspired by the Holy Spirit.

God’s mercy, he said, not only “opens the door of the mind,” it also opens the door of the heart and paves the way for compassion toward those who are “alone or marginalized because it makes them feel they are brothers and sisters and children of one father.”

“Mercy, in short, commits us all to being instruments of justice, of reconciliation and peace. Let us never forget that mercy is the keystone in the life of faith, and the concrete form by which we give visibility to Jesus’ resurrection,” Pope Francis said.

 

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The last word isn’t the tomb, it’s life, pope says on Easter Monday

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Simple gestures of welcome and solidarity, when supported by faith in Jesus’ resurrection, proclaim the value of life, Pope Francis said.

Being “men and women of the resurrection, men and women of life” involves making “gestures of solidarity, gestures of welcome, increasing the universal desire for peace and the aspiration for an environment free of degradation,” the pope said April 17 before reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer.

Pope Francis speaks after the "Regina Coeli" prayer April 17 from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

Pope Francis speaks after the “Regina Coeli” prayer April 17 from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

On the Easter Monday public holiday, thousands of Italians and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square at noon to join the pope for the Easter-season Marian prayer, which begins, “Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.”

Pope Francis told the crowd that the message of the angel to the women at the tomb, “Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’” is directed to believers today as well.

Christians, he said, are called “to proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope.”

Jesus’ resurrection means “the last word isn’t the tomb, it is not death, it is life,” the pope said. “This is why we repeat so often, ‘Christ is risen.’ In him the tomb was vanquished. Life was born.”

Mary, “silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus,” can help believers be clearer signs of his love and life in the world “so that those experiencing tribulation and difficulty do not become victims of pessimism and defeat or resignation, but find in us brothers and sisters who offer support and consolation,” Pope Francis said.

The pope ended his remarks affirming that Mary intercedes particularly on behalf of those “Christian communities who are persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world and are called to a more difficult and courageous witness.”

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Holy Spirit helps people live as brothers, sisters, pope says on Pentecost

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY —The gift of the Holy Spirit gives Christians the grace they need to conduct themselves as children of God and brothers and sisters to each other, Pope Francis said on Pentecost.

Priests walk across rose petals as they fall from the oculus of the Pantheon at the conclusion of Pentecost Mass May 15. The rose petals dropped by Rome firefighters symbolize the tongues of fire that came upon the apostles at Pentecost. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Priests walk across rose petals as they fall from the oculus of the Pantheon at the conclusion of Pentecost Mass May 15. The rose petals dropped by Rome firefighters symbolize the tongues of fire that came upon the apostles at Pentecost. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christians are freed from “the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen” because of sin, the pope said May 15 during Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“We were made to be God’s children,” he said. “It is in our DNA.”

Looking around, the pope said, one can see signs of how many people really do feel like orphans: feeling alone and sad even when surrounded by people; trying to free oneself from God; “spiritual illiteracy,” which makes people incapable of praying; and in the difficulty people have in seeing others as brothers and sisters, children of the same God.

“Strengthening our relationship of belonging to the Lord Jesus, the Spirit enables us to enter into a new experience of fraternity,” Pope Francis said. “By means of our universal brother, Jesus, we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father. And this changes everything.”

Reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer afterward with visitors in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focused on how the grace of the Holy Spirit helps Christians concretely live out their love for God and for others.

“Love for a person, including for the Lord, is demonstrated not with words, but with actions,” he said. When Jesus tells his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” he is telling them that their entire lives should reflect that love.

“Being Christian is not principally about belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather binding your life, in every aspect, to the person of Jesus and, through him, to the Father,” Pope Francis said.

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