In our health, wealth and beauty conscious age, fasting might not hold the same meaning as it did for a more religiously inclined society, where the contrast between fast days and feast days helped people appreciate the meaning of the festival as well as appreciate the bounty nature can give us in it seasonal round. A student friend remarked that the ancient practice and discipline of fasting was what a number of people did today either because of health concerns or because they lived very rushed lives so
On Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis visited the church of St Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus in Ponte di Nona in the east of Rome. During Mass, he stressed, that the path to holiness was forgiveness and prayer and that revenge and resentment has no place in the Christian life. After greeting parishioners and meeting a group of children, the Pope celebrated Mass telling the congregation present, never to go down the road of revenge or resentment. Instead, he said: "pray for those who want to do evil: this prevents wars and brings peace." It is also the Christian path to holiness,
Sunday's Gospel is one of the Biblical passages that best expresses the Christian "revolution," Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered for the Angelus in St Peter's Square today. In the reading from Matthew's Gospel, describing part of the Sermon on the Mount, he said: "Christ shows the path of true justice, through the law of love that overcomes that of retaliation, that is, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'." Jesus does not ask His disciples simply to bear evils patiently, but to return good for evil: "Only in this way can the chains of evil be broken, and things can truly change."
I've always loved that silly little quote by Charles Bowen:
"The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella."
War begins in a person's heart, for this reason we are all responsible for caring for peace. This was Pope Francis' message during his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. The Holy Father spoke about the sufferings of so many people whose lives are upset by wars waged by the powerful and arms traffickers. The dove, the rainbow, and the Covenant. The Holy Father spoke about these three images, present in the day's First Reading from the Book of Genesis,
"The hope that we have been given (as Christians) does not separate us from others, nor does it lead us to discredit or marginalize them, " Pope Francis told pilgrims today at his weekly General Audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope underlined that God does not have favourites and does not exclude anyone, but opens his home to all human beings beginning with the least. "Hope is a gift of which we are called to become 'channels', with humility 'and simplicity', for all."
Courage prayer, and humility: these are the traits that distinguish the great "heralds" who have helped the Church grow in the world and have contributed to its missionary character - Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Taking his inspiration from the Liturgy and from the example of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the patrons of Europe, who are honoured today, the Holy Father said there is need of "sowers of the Word," - for "missionaries, for true heralds to form the people of God, like Cyril and Methodius, "good heralds," intrepid brothers and witnesses of God who are honoured today,
During his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of the bond of brotherhood and of how easy it is for petty jealousies and envy to damage that bond and set off a process that can lead to the destruction of families and peoples. The Pope offered the Mass for Father Adolfo Nicolás, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus who is preparing to continue in his mission in Asia. Reflecting on the first reading of the day which speaks of Cain and Abel, Pope Francis said that in this reading, for the first time in Bible we hear the word 'brother'
Today we celebrate the promises on which your married lives were founded, for some of you 25 or even 70 years ago! It was then you made those promises in words you will remember well: "For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, till death do us part". I want to reaffirm with you today that the Church believes in these promises. Our faith is not based on a retro vision of marriage from a previous era. No, our faith in marriage is based on what was the Creator's purpose from the very beginning, as the Book of Genesis reminds us.
During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, the Holy Father reflected on the devil's temptation of Adam and Eve, in the first Reading, and of Jesus in the Gospel. With Satan, the Pope said, there is no dialogue, because dialogue with the devil ends in sin and corruption. Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our "fault," our "sin," our "corruption." Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Ee, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert.
I've heard the phrase 'we live in a post-truth age' a lot recently, as though in this strange and changing age of politics and world order, the values I hold as truthfulness doesn't matter. It's been made more prominent by several instances in the wider media of events being accommodated to fit a particular narrative without due regard for accuracy or facts. It has even occurred in the Church, where critics of Pope Francis have openly chosen to portray him in a very one sided light, particularly with reference to his exhortation Amoris laetitia, following the Synod on the Family, which asks
"Without women, there is no harmony in the world." That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. At the center of his reflection was the creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal - one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place. Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the Readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis.
Pope Francis yesterday encouraged the faithful to strive to be living signs of hope for the entire human family. Speaking during the weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued his catechesis on Christian hope, conceding that especially in times of darkness and difficulty, hope is no easy virtue. Quoting from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians he pointed out that Paul encourages the members of the early Church to sustain one another in hope through mutual prayer and practical concern for those in need.
In his homily during morning Mass on Tuesday, at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on verses of Psalm 8: "Lord, what is man that you are mindful of him? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honour," and on the Book of Genesis' account of the Creation of man and woman. Pope Francis said: "First of all, He gave us His 'DNA', that is, He made us children, created us in His image, in His image and likeness, like Him. And when one makes a child, he cannot take it back: the son is made, he exists.
In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, the Holy Father focused on the theme of Christian freedom, saying that the follower of Christ is a "slave" but of love, not of duty, and urging the faithful not to hide in the "rigidity" of the Commandments. Taking the Responsorial Psalm, 103 (104) as his starting point: a "song of praise" to God for His wonders. "The Father," said Pope Francis, "works to make this wonder of creation and with His Son to accomplish this wonder of re-creation." Pope Francis also recalled an episode in which a child asked him what God was doing before
Pope Francis has urged all believers to uphold and promoting a "culture of life". Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus, the Holy Father marked Sunday's celebration in Italy of the 'Day for Life' with a call to join the Italian Bishops in promoting a culture of life in which "no one is left alone." "Each life is sacred" Pope Francis said, let's pray together for those children who risk a pregnancy termination and for those who are nearing the end of life.... May no one be left alone and may love defend the sense of life."
Perhaps it's just that time of year, here in the UK, where the winter grey and somber makes our days seem heavy. Spring is not yet come, nor are there many signs of its impending birth. It's a time of brooding and waiting, there is also a sense of anxious expectation in the air, when will the days get warmer, the light brighten and the banks of spring growth appear, will a deep frost or winter snow come again in February and March? On a wider scale uncertainties in the political arena give us a greater sense of uncertainty, what is going to happen, how will events in other countries and our own affect us
On Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated a solemn Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and also commemorated the 21st annual World Day for Consecrated Life. In his homily, the Holy Father called on consecrated women and men to "accompany Jesus as He goes forth to meet His people, to be in the midst of His people." An English translation of the full text of Pope Francis' homily for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord follows:
Pope Francis on Thursday celebrated Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Mass also commemorated the World Day for Consecrated Life. On this day, the Church celebrates and prays for those who have consecrated their lives to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life participated in the Liturgy. The liturgical feast chosen for the commemoration celebrates the presentation of the newborn Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary forty days after His birth,
Pope Francis invited Christians to "wear the hope of salvation like a helmet (1 Thess 5:8), in the knowledge that, because Christ is risen, the object of our hope is certain." The Holy Father was quoting from Saint Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians during his weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall where he continued his catechesis on Christian hope. Recalling the freshness and beauty of this first Christian proclamation the Pope described the community of Thessalonica at the time as one "rooted in faith
Comfort for the Afflicted: That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities. When Pope Francis celebrated the Way of the Cross during World Youth Day last summer in Krakow he asked questions that naturally arise when we encounter human suffering: "Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees? Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war? Where is God, when cruel diseases break
Pope Francis offered Mass on Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta, for "today's martyrs", persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and for Churches which are not free to express the faith. With the understanding that "a Church without martyrs is a Church without Jesus", the Pontiff stressed that these martyrs sustain the Church and carry her forward. Even when "the media doesn't speak about them, because it is not news", today "many Christians in the world today are blessed because they are persecuted, insulted, imprisoned just for carrying a cross or for confessing to Jesus
In his homily at Mass on Sunday Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Superior of Mount Street Jesuit Community in central London, directly addresses issues related to the United State's recent decision on immigration...... Where in my life do I see these Gospel values in stark confrontation with those of the world? Where is Jesus in my own world? Do I compromise my Christian and Catholic faith to keep others happy or to win approval? I know I do every day. Pray God we do not fall into the trap of complacency, of keeping the status quo of the changing political climate, of acquiescing with...
Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading of the Beatitudes, recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in his Angelus address to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square The Gospel of Matthew, Francis said, is the keystone of the New Testament. It tells of how Jesus manifested God's will to show man the path to happiness. He said this message was already contained in the words of the prophets who highlighted God's liberating closeness to the poor and the oppressed. But Jesus, points to a different path which exhorts us all to trust in God,
Pauls words to the community at Corinth can be particularly haunting and have some deep resonances for us , give the situation of a world straining at so many points of conflict and stress, tectonic plates not only of the natural world but of human desire to interfere in our world order, shown by our own interference in the political and physical order of the world. But let's listen again to Paul: "God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,