Monday, 28 November 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Never Converse With the Devil’

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says ‘Hope’ to Encounter Jesus
L'Osservatore Romano
Never converse with the devil, who seduces and ruins lives.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings, which continued reflecting on the end of the world, as discussed in the Book of Revelations.
Seducer, Liar, Trickster
The Pontiff noted how in today’s reading the angel seizes the serpent, chains it up and throws it into the abyss, which is then locked and sealed, and stressed that the serpent or devil is thrown into the abyss “so that it would no longer lead the nations astray” because it is the seducer.
“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life.
“‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”
How to Defend Oneself
Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness, he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible.
Thus, the Argentine Pope stressed, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.
The Holy Father also described how today’s reading shows how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds,” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire. Francis described this as the “second death.”
Not a Torture Chamber
“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber,” he said. “That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him.”
What eternal damnation is, he explained, is “continually distancing oneself from God.”
“It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”
Distancing oneself from God Who gives happiness and Who loves us so much, the Pontiff admonished, is the “fire,” and the road to eternal damnation.
Pointing out how the reading’s final image ends with a vision of hope, Francis noted that if with humility, we open our hearts, we will have joy, salvation, and will receive Jesus’ forgiveness.
“Hope is what opens our hearts to the encounter with Jesus. This is what awaits us: the encounter with Jesus. It’s beautiful, very beautiful,” Pope Francis said, concluding, “He asks us only to be humble and say ‘Lord.’ It’s enough to say that word and He will do the rest.”

Friday, 25 November 2016

Pope Suggests a Prayer for Before the Tabernacle: ‘You Are God, I Am a Poor Child Loved by You’

In Morning Homily Says That in Prayer We’re Good at Asking, But We Must Also Learn to Praise
Casa Santa Marta
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
From Vatican Radio:
Pope Francis said on Thursday that corruption is a form of blasphemy which leads to the worship of money and the exploitation of others. His words came during the homily at his regular Santa Marta Mass for this last week of the Church’s liturgical year. Reflecting on the readings for the day which speak of the end of the world, of judgement and redemption for God’s faithful people, Pope Francis talked about corruption which led to the downfall of the great city of Babylon.
Corruption is a blasphemous way of living, the Pope warned, it’s the language of Babylon and worldly living. Corruption is a form of blasphemy where there is no God, he went on, but only the gods of money and wellbeing through the exploitation of others. Yet this worldliness which seduces the powerful will be torn down, the Pope said, just as we hear the victory cry of the angel, in the reading from Revelation, announcing the fall of Babylon with its empire of vanity, pride and evil.
In contrast to the victory cry of the angel proclaiming the fall of this corrupt civilisation, Pope Francis said, there is another powerful voice of the great multitude praising God and saying: “Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God”. This is the voice of the people of God who will be saved because they are sinners but not corrupt, he stressed.
A sinner who knows how to ask for forgiveness and seeks salvation in Jesus Christ learns how to adore God, though this is not an easy task for Christians. We are good at praying when we’re asking for something, he said, but we must also learn how to praise God. Better to learn now, he added, than have to learn in a hurry when the end times come. The Pope insisted on the beauty of praying in front of the tabernacle, saying simply: “You are God, I am a poor child loved by You”.
Finally the Pope noted that in the reading there is a third voice, the whispering voice of the angel who tells the author to write: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The Lord’s invitation is not a cry, but rather a gentle voice that speaks to the heart, the Pope said, just like the voice of God speaking to Elijah. When God speaks to our hearts in this way, he said, it is like a breath of silent sound.
This invitation to the wedding feast, according to the parable of Jesus, will be our salvation. Those invited include the bad and the good, the blind, the deaf and the lame, all of us sinners who have enough humility in our hearts to say: “I am a sinner and God will save me”.
The Gospel passage concludes by reminding us that “when these signs begin to happen” – that is the destruction of pride and vanity – “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand”. May the Lord give us grace, the Pope said, to prepare ourselves and to listen to that voice saying “Come, come, come faithful servant – sinner but faithful – come to the wedding feast of your Lord”.
Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 506

Reading 1 RV 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9A

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”
A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:
“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion.”
After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
They said a second time:
“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”
Then the angel said to me, “Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Alleluia LK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

Friday, 18 November 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Be Courageous’

At Casa Santa Marta, Tells Faithful to Examine Whether They Are Too Attached to Money, Embrace Christian Poverty
Santa Marta
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
Are you too attached to money? Maybe you should make an examination of conscience.
According to Vatican Radio, during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis called on those present to reflect on this and to be courageous to embrace Christian poverty,
The Holy Father drew his inspiration from today’s Gospel where Jesus drove out the traders from the temple, accusing them of transforming it into a den of thieves.
Reflecting on money’s power and allure, the Jesuit Pontiff noted, how Jesus’s action helps us to understand “where the seed of the antichrist is contained, the seed of the enemy that ruins his Kingdom: attachment to money.”
“Our Lord God, the house of our Lord God is a house of prayer. Our encounter with the Lord (is) with the God of love. And the money-lord that enters into the house of God, is constantly seeking to enter inside. And those people who were changing money or selling things, they were renting their places, right? – from the priests… the priests were renting out those places and then received money.
“This is the lord,” the Pope warned, “that can ruin our life and can lead us to end our life in a bad way, without happiness, without the joy of serving the true Lord who is the only one capable of giving us that true joy.”
Francis then asked his listeners: “How is your attachment to money?  Are you attached to money?”
“The people of God have a great flair for accepting, for canonizing as well as condemning – because the people of God are capable of condemning – for forgiving so many weaknesses, so many sins by priests but they cannot forgive two of them: attachment to money, because when they see a priest attached to money, they do not forgive him, and mistreating people, because when a priest mistreats the faithful:
“The people of God can’t accept this and they do not forgive him.
“It’s sad to see,” the Pontiff also reflected, “a priest who’s at the end of his life, he’s in agony, he’s in a coma and his relatives are there like vultures, looking to see what they can take away.
Pope Francis then went on to urge faithful to make an examination of conscience.
Let us grant this pleasure to the Lord, a true examination of our conscience: ‘Lord, are you my Lord or is it these teraphims hidden in my heart, this idol of money?’
“Be courageous,” he also stressed, saying, “Make a choice. Sufficient money like that of an honest worker, sufficient savings like those of an honest worker. But all these financial interests are not permissible, this is idolatry. May the Lord grant us all the grace of Christian poverty.”
“May the Lord,” concluded the Pope, “give us the grace of the poverty of working people, those who work and earn a fair wage and who do not seek any more.”
Culled fro:

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Author and Publisher - Catholic Online
Image of St. Albert the Great


Feastday: November 15
Patron of scientists, philosophers, medical technicians, natural sciences
Birth: 1200
Death: 1280
Beatified By: 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Canonized By: 1931 by Pope Pius XI

The saint and doctor of the Church who would be known as Albertus Magnus was born sometime before the year 1200. He was probably born in Bavaria, a fact we infer because he referred to himself as "Albert of Lauingen," a town which still stands today in southern Germany.
We do not know for sure all the details of his family origins, but we know he was well educated. He attended the University of Padua where he learned about Aristotle and his writings. This instruction in philosophy would become the foundation of his later work.
Sometime around the year 1223 or so, Albert experienced an encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary. This encounter moved him so much that he chose to become a member of the Dominican Order. He thereafter studied theology.
He excelled in his studies and later became a lecturer for the Dominicans at Cologne. He also traveled around the region to lecture gaining regional, then international acclaim.
At the same time he started lecturing, Albert produced "Summa de Bono," after collaboration with Phillip the Chancellor, who was a renown theologian from France.
In 1245, Albert became a master of theology under Gueruc of Saint-Quentin. He was the first German Dominican to achieve the title. He later went on to teach theology at the University of Paris, and became the Chair of Theology at the College of St. James. One of his students was the famous Thomas Aquinas who would also become a doctor of the Church and a saint.
Albert was very interested in Aristotle, and he made commentary on nearly all of Aristotle's works. He also studied the teachings of several Muslim scholars. At this time, the Islamic world led Europe in terms of scholarship, science, and medicine.
In 1254, Albert became the provincial of the Dominican Order. By all accounts, he was a capable and efficient administrator.
Five years later, in 1259, Albert participated in the General Chapter of the Dominicans along with Thomas Aquinas and several other contemporary leaders of the Order. They created a program of study for the Dominican order and developed a curriculum for philosophy. From this course of study would later arise the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, in Rome. Today, the university which is known as the "Angelicum," is one of the foremost theological colleges in the world. It is still run by the Dominican order.
In 1260, impressed with his acumen, Pope Alexander IV appointed Albert as bishop of Regensburg. Although he was a bishop, Albert refused to ride a horse and went everywhere on foot. This seemingly unusual practice was consistent with the rules of his order. The life of a bishop did not agree with Albert and he resigned from his post in 1263.
In that same year, Pope Urban IV accepted his resignation and reassigned him to preach about the Eighth Crusade to German-speaking people. The crusade was intended to recapture the city of Tunis in North Africa for Christendom, and was a total failure.
In his later years, Albert became renowned as a mediator. He mediated disputes between individuals as well as resolving a dispute between the people of Colonge and their bishop. He also founded Germany's oldest university in that city.
Before his death, he mourned the early passing of his great student, Thomas Aquinas, who would later be recognized as a saint and doctor of the Church. Aquinas died in 1274. Albert spent his last years defending the work of Aquinas which is among the most important work in the Church.
Albert became ill in 1278 and he died on November 15, 1280.
During his life, Albert wrote thirty eight volumes covering topics ranging from philosophy to geography, astronomy, law, friendship and love.
Three years after his death, his grave was opened and his body found to be incorrupt. When his grave was again opened centuries later in 1483, they only found his skeleton. His relics are presently found in the St. Andreas church in Colonge.
Albert was beatified in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. He was canonized and recognized as a doctor of the Church in 1931, by Pope Pius IX. He is the patron saint of scientists. His feast day is November 15.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Pope’s Morning Homily: Jesus Turns World’s Values Upside Down

At Casa Santa Marta, warns against the “I’m in charge here” attitude

Santa Marta
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
(From Vatican Radio)
Pope Francis began his homily by saying that if we want to be good and faithful servants of the Lord, we must guard against dishonestly and the pursuit of power. But how often, he said, do we see or hear ourselves saying, even in our own homes, that “I’m in charge here?”
Jesus taught us that leaders are those who serve others, and if we want to be first, we must become the servant of all. The Pope stressed that Jesus turns the values of our world upside-down, showing that the search for power is an obstacle to becoming a servant of the Lord
A second obstacle, he continued, is dishonesty which can also be found in the life of the Church. Jesus told us that we cannot serve two masters – God and money, the Pope warned, so we have to choose to serve one or the other. Dishonesty, he continued, is not just being a sinner, since we are all sinners and can repent of those sins. But dishonesty, he said, is being duplicitous and playing one hand off against the other, playing the ‘God’ card and the ‘world’ card at the same time.
These obstacles of dishonesty and the pursuit of power, the Pope said, take away our peace of mind and leave us anxious, with an ‘itch’ in our hearts. In this way, he said, we live in constant tension, concerned only about appearances and the worldly desires of fame and fortune. We cannot serve the Lord like this, he insisted, so we ask to be freed from these obstacles in order that we may find serenity of body and mind.
We are not slaves, but children of God, Pope Francis said, and when we serve Him freely we feel deep peace in our hearts. We hear the voice of the Lord calling “Come, come, come, good and faithful servant”. We all want to be faithful servants of the Lord, he said, but we cannot do it on our own and so we ask God for the grace to overcome these obstacles and to serve Him freely with peace in our hearts.
Pope Francis concluded by saying we must constantly remind ourselves that we are unworthy servants, unable to do anything on our own. Instead, he said, we must ask God to open our hearts and let the Spirit in, to remove these obstacles and to transform us into children whose hearts are free to serve the Lord.
Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:
Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 492
Reading 1
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.
Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.
For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.
Responsorial Psalm
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Culled from

Saint Dominic Catholic Church Yaba Pilgrmage to the Holy Door

Saint Dominic Catholic Church Yaba, Parishioners at the Cathedral to pass through the Holy Door of Mercy. The Door of Mercy closes on Friday 11th November, 2016, and it is open from 12Noon on these remaining 3 days. Share the word... Be blessed. 

 #Mercy #HolyDoorOfMercy#TheCathedralLagos #StJudeYaba

Pope Francis to prisoners: Never lose hope in God’s mercy

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday for the Jubilee for Prisoners in Saint Peter’s Basilica, during which he reminded prison detainees to never lose hope, or fall into the temptation that they can never be forgiven.
Around 1,000 detainees from 12 countries took part in the weekend celebrations, along with their families, prison chaplains and staff, and various associations.
The Jubilee for Prisoners marks one of the final major events of the Jubilee of Mercy, which will come to an end on November 20.
Listen to Ann Schneible’s report:
Pope Francis centred his homily for Mass for the Jubilee of Prisoners on the theme of hope as it appears in the day’s Mass readings.
For instance, there are the seven brothers from the second book of Maccabees who speak about the hope of being raised again by God, and then Jesus’ response to the Sadducees, that God is not “the God of the dead, but of the living.”
“Hope is a gift of God,” and should be nourished, the Pope said.
“Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father’s mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace.”
The Pope acknowledged that the loss of freedom experienced by detainees, is the worst part of serving time for one’s crimes. However, he urged those in prison to maintain the “breath” of hope.
The Holy Father turned to day’s reading from the letter to the Romans, in which “Paul almost seems to tell us that God too hopes”.
“His mercy gives him no rest. He is like that Father in the parable, who keeps hoping for the return of his son who has fallen by the wayside”.
“If God hopes, then no one should lose hope.  For hope is the strength to keep moving forward.  It is the power to press on towards the future and a changed life.  It is the incentive to look to tomorrow, so that the love we have known, for all our failings, can show us a new path.”
Pope Francis spoke of the “hypocrisy” of those who see prisoners only as “wrongdoers”, and who disregard the possibility of rehabilitation.
Going off the cuff from his prepared homily, the Pope said how every time he enters a prison, he asks himself: “‘Why them and not I?’ All of us have the possibility of making mistakes.”
The Holy Father reminded those in prison to not be held “captive” by their past mistakes, and “never yield to the temptation of thinking that we cannot be forgiven.” 
Pope Francis turned his reflection to the importance of forgiveness among those who have experienced violence or abuse against themselves or their loved ones.
Acknowledging that there are some wounds that only God can heal, the Pope said that, nonetheless, “when violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love that triumphs over every form of evil.”
“In this way, among the victims and among those who wronged them, God raises up true witnesses and workers of mercy.”
Pope Francis concluded his reflection by turning to the statue of Our Lady of Mercy, an image of Mary with the child Jesus, who is holding a set of chains.
“May she intercede for you, so that your hearts can experience the power of hope for a new life, one worthy of being lived in complete freedom and in service to your neighbour.”
(from Vatican Radio)

Monday, 7 November 2016

‘One of World’s Most Troubling Open Wounds Is Human Trafficking,’ Decries Pope

Thanks RENATE for Activities Which ‘Remind Us of ‘Enormous and Often Silent Efforts’ to Care for Those Wounded in Their Dignity and Scarred by Experiences’

“One of the most troubling of the world’s open wounds is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity”
Pope Francis stressed this today when receiving in audience the participants of Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation (RENATE).The group is in Rome, Nov. 6-12, for their 2nd European Assembly with the theme “Ending Trafficking Begins with Us.”
Right away the Holy Father acknowledged that while much has been accomplished in realizing the gravity and extent of this problem, “much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness and effecting a better coordination of efforts by governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and social workers.”
“As you well know,” the Pontiff continued, “one of the challenges to this work of advocacy, education and coordination is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the part of many to look the other way, where powerful economic interests and networks of crime are at play.”
For this reason, I express my appreciation of your efforts to raise public awareness of the extent of this scourge, which especially affects women and children. But in a very special way, I thank you for your faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in your commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims”.
“Your activity in this area reminds us of ‘the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations’, to care for those wounded in their dignity and scarred by their experiences.”
The Pontiff also recalled all the women who have accompanied other women and children on a deeply personal journey of healing and reintegration.
“Dear friends,” he said, “I trust that your sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise in these days will contribute to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of contemporary society. Commending you, and all those whom you serve, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.”
Pope Francis concluded, commending them to Mary’s intercession, imparting his blessing, and asking them to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Pope: What Do All the Saints Have in Common? Genuine Happiness

Everyone We Celebrate Today Found the Secret; ‘This Is Why We Call Them Blessed’

Pope Mass Sweden Incense Close-up
© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano
Wrapping up his quick trip to Sweden, the Pope celebrated Mass today for the small Catholic community of the nation, noting that today’s celebration of All Saints reminds us that sanctity is the secret to authentic happiness.
Toady’s Mass was a “celebration of holiness,” the Pope said, “a “holiness that is seen not so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.”
The Holy Father spoke of not only the canonized saints but the many “brothers and sisters who, in a quiet and unassuming way, lived their Christian life in the fullness of faith and love,” saying that among them surely are “many of our relatives, friends and acquaintances.”
The Pope said that all these diverse people have one thing in common: “if there is one thing typical of the saints,” he said, “it is that they are genuinely happy.”
“They found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed.”
The Catholic community of Sweden is only 1.15% of the population of the country, with some 113,000 faithful, served by two bishops, 141 priests and some 250 religious.

Identity card

Speaking of the Beatitudes, the Holy Father said that these are for the saints “their path, their goal, their native land.”
“The Beatitudes are the image of Christ and consequently of each Christian,” he added, calling them later in the homily the “Christian’s identity card” marking us as “followers of Jesus.”
Pope Francis focused on one Beatitude: “Blessed are the meek,” saying that meekness is Jesus’ “spiritual portrait.”
“Jesus says of himself: ‘Learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart.’
“Meekness is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another. It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity.”
The Pope pointed to saints of the land he’s visiting, Saint Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, recently canonized, and Saint Bridget, Birgitta of Vadstena, co-patron of Europe.
“They prayed and worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians,” he said. “One very eloquent sign of this is that here in your country, marked as it is by the coexistence of quite different peoples, we are jointly commemorating the fifth centenary of the Reformation.  The saints bring about change through meekness of heart.  With that meekness, we come to understand the grandeur of God and worship him with sincere hearts.  For meekness is the attitude of those who have nothing to lose, because their only wealth is God.”

Fresh energy

The Holy Father said that in following Jesus, “we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy” and he proposed some beatitudes for our day:
— Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart.
— Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness.
— Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.
— Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
— Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
— Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
The Pope concluded, reminding that “the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith.”
“The saints spur us on by their lives and their intercession before God, and we ourselves need one another if we are to become saints,” he said. “Together let us implore the grace to accept this call with joy and to join in bringing it to fulfillment.”
The Holy Father also prayed the midday Angelus after the Mass, saying:
I thank God that I was able to visit this land and to meet with you, many of whom have come from all over the world. As Catholics, we are part of a great family and are sustained in the same communion. I encourage you to express your faith in prayer, in the sacraments, and in generous service to those who are suffering and in need. I urge you to be salt and light, wherever you find yourselves, through the way you live and act as followers of Jesus, and to show great respect and solidarity with our brothers and sisters of other churches and Christian communities, and with all people of good will.
In our life, we are not alone; we have the constant help and companionship of the Virgin Mary. Today she stands before us as first among the saints, the first disciple of the Lord. We flee to her protection and to her we present our sorrows and our joys, our fears and our aspirations. We put everything under her protection, in the sure knowledge that she watches over us and cares for us with a mother’s love.
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