Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Church: the family of God


General audience May 29, 2013

The Church is God's call to be part of His family



In spite of the rain that suddenly fell on Rome Wednesday morning, Pope Francis followed his custom of winding through St. Peter's Square in the Popemobile, greeting the tens of thousands of people present and, before beginning his catechesis, he joked with them, praising their endurance in spite of the inclement weather.

The mystery of the Church will be the theme of Pope Francis' new cycle of catechesis during the Wednesday general audiences.  "It is a mystery that we all live and in which we all take part," he said.

The Pope will discuss this topic in light of Vatican Council II texts.  Yesterday, he began from the parable of the prodigal son that illustrates God's plan for humanity, and from John 19:32-35:

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a  spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Here is a summary of the Holy Father's talk:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Last Wednesday, I spoke about the profound link between the Holy Spirit and the Church.  Now I would like to talk about the mystery of the church, using some expressions from Vatican Council II.

The first one I would like to talk about is the Church as the family of God, which calls to mind the parable of the prodigal son and the merciful father.

GUERCINO
Return of the Prodigal Son
"Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him;
and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet..."
Luke 15:22
The son makes a mistake and he knows it.  He thinks he is not worthy to be a son, and so he comes back as a servant.  It is the father who restores him as a son.  This is God’s design for humanity!  He makes of all of us one family, one family of his sons.  Each one is close to him, loved by him.  This great design has its root in the Church.  The Church is the work of God, born from the sign of His love and from God's desire to call all men to communion, friendship, sonship, to participation in his divine life.

The word "church" comes from the Greek work "ekklesia": convocation.  God calls us out of individualism and being closed off from one another to be one in his family.  He created us so that we would live in a profound friendship with Him.
Sin ruins that friendship, but God does not abandon us in our sin—that is the history recorded in the bible: Abraham and history of the Chosen People, and eventually Jesus.  Jesus had a little community that became His family; they took his word and lived with Him.

Now, the Church is born from the side of Christ.  Blood and water are symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist.  [See the reading from John above.] 
We make real our love of God through love of others.  We make it concrete, so that in the Church we are loved and we love one another.

The church was born at Pentecost, which we celebrated 2 weeks ago.  What about people who say, “Jesus, yes; Church, no!”?  But isn't it the church who brings us to Christ and to God?  The Church has human aspects because we are human.  We are pastors and faithful with imperfection, sins, yes, even the Pope—he has a lot of those!  But when we acknowledge that we are sinners, this is beautiful: we find the mercy of God.  He always forgives.  Never forget this: God always forgives.
Let's ask ourselves: How much do I love the curch?  Do I pray for the Church?  Do I participate in my Church's life?  Faith is a gift, but God asks us to live our faith together as a family, as a Church.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Be courageous witnesses of the Gospel!


May 22, 2013.  St. Peter's Square.

In today's audience, Pope Francis spoke about the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and in the life of believers.  Here is a summary:

In the creed, right after we profess faith in the Holy Spirit, we say that we belive in the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”  There is a profound link between these two: the Holy Spirit gives life to the Church and guides her steps.  The Church could not live without the Holy Spirit nor do the work that Christ has given her.

Evangelization is the mission of the church, not just of some, but of all of us, of me, of you, of all of us.  Pope Paul VI said that evangelization is the grace and the proper vocation of the Church; it is her most profound identity.  The Church exists to evangelize.

The Holy Spirit is the “motor” of evangelization: as in the the Church’s beginning at Pentecost, so also today.  This means that in order to evangelize, we need to open ourselves to the horizon of the Holy Spirit, without fear and without asking where He will lead us.  We have to pray, and we also need to ask ourselves: Do I let myself be guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that my life and my testimony of faith are of unity and communion?  What do I do with my life?  Do I create unity, or do I divide by chatter, criticism, and envy?  We have to think about what we do.

The Holy Spirit will also give us the courage to announce the Gospel with frankness, openly and clearly, in every time and place.  He will give us energy for the mission and new ways to do it.  Evangelizing, that is, proclaiming Christ, gives us joy; egoism makes us bitter and sad—it brings us down.  But evangelizing brings us up.

Prayer is particularly important in this mission of evangelization.  We must always start with prayer and go from there, from the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Without prayer, our action is empty and our proclamation has no soul.

Let’s renew everyday our faith in the action of the Holy Spirit, our faith that He acts in us and lives in us.  He gives us apostolic fervor, peace, and joy.  Let’s allow ourselves to be guided by Him—we are men and women of prayer!—let’s announce the gospel with courage, and so become in our world instruments of unity and communion for God.
(At the end of his catechesis the Holy Father greeted the nearly 50,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square. He particularly encouraged everyone to pray for the victims, especially the children, of the disaster that occurred in Oklahoma, USA.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pentecost: Come, Holy Spirit!







HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.

But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. […] Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit”, who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all “began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”. […] They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: “We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language”. And what is it that they are they speaking about? “God’s deeds of power”.

In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.

1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness - God always brings newness -, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. […] The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he
brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. […] Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community – the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter - and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn 1:9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?

3. A final point. […]  The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. […] The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission.

Today’s liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out:“Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!” Amen.

(cited on May 20, 2013 from www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130519_omelia-pentecoste_en.html)

 

And, from last week's audience, the Holy Father had this to say:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis on the Creed, we have been considering the person and work of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus calls “the Spirit of Truth” (cf. Jn 16:13). In an age skeptical of truth, we believe not only that truth exists, but that it is found through faith in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. The Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus; he guides the whole Church into the fullness of truth. As the “Paraclete”, the Helper sent by the Risen Lord, he reminds us of Christ’s words and convinces us of their saving truth. As the source of our new life in Christ, he awakens in our hearts that supernatural “sense of the faith” by which we hold fast to God’s word, come to a deeper understanding of its meaning, and apply it in our daily lives. Let us ask ourselves: am I truly open, like the Virgin Mary, to the power of the Holy Spirit? Even now, with the Father and the Son, the Spirit dwells in our hearts. Let us ask him to guide us into all truth and to help us grow in friendship with Christ through daily prayer, reading of the Scriptures and the celebration of the sacraments.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Canonization May 12, 2013


Canonization and Regina Caeli

May 12, 2013


Sunday, Pope Francis canonized three saints in Saint Peter’s Square!!  Following the Mass and before the Regina Caeli, His Holiness addressed those present with the following words: 



Dear brothers and sisters,

At the end of this celebration, I would like to greet all of you who have come to pay homage to the new saints, in a special way I greet the official delegations from Italy, Colombia and Mexico.

May the martyrs of Otranto help the dear Italian people to look to the future with hope, trusting the nearness of God, who never abandons us even in difficult moments.

Through the intercession of Mother Laura Montoya may the Lord grant a new missionary and evangelizing impulse to the Church and, inspired by this new saint’s example of peace and reconciliation, may the beloved sons and daughters of Colombia continue to work for peace and the just development of their homeland.

In the hands of St. Guadalupe GarcĂ­a Zavala we place all the poor, the sick and those who assist them, and we commend to her intercession the noble Mexican nation, that all violence and insecurity be banished from that land, and that in every case the way of solidarity and fraternal coexistence be advanced.

I am also happy to note that yesterday in Rome Father Luigi Novarese, founder of the Center for the Volunteers of Suffering (Centro volontari della Sofferenza) and the Silent Workers of the Cross (Silenziosi Operai della Croce) was beatified. I join in the thanksgiving for this exemplary priest, who understood how to renew pastoral work with the sick, making them active participants in the Church.

I greet the participants in the “March for Life,” which took place this morning in Rome and I invite all to continue to be attentive to this very important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception. In this regard I would like also to mention the gathering of signatures that is taking place today in Italian parishes to support the “One of Us” initiative in Europe to guarantee legal protection of the embryo, protecting every human being from the first instant of his existence. “‘Evangelium Vitae’ Day” will be a special, which will take place here at the Vatican June 15-16, in the context of the Year of Faith, will be a special moment for those who take seriously the defense of the sacredness of human life.

I greet with affection all the parish groups, families, schools and young people present. With filial love we turn now to the Virgin Mary, mother and model of all Christians.


Saints Mother Laura Montoya, Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, and all of the martyrs from Otranto, pray for us!

 
You can view the booklet for the Canonization Mass here, which includes brief biographies of the saints in Italian, English, and Spanish.
 
The text of Sunday's homily is as follows (available from VIS):
 
"Let us look to the new saints in light of the Word of God that has been proclaimed,” the Pope said during his homily at the Mass in which three new saints were canonized. “It is a Word that has invited us to faithfulness to Christ, even unto martyrdom. It has recalled for us the urgency and beauty of bearing Christ and his Gospel to all. It has spoken to us of the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savour.”
 
The Martyrs of Otranto were more than 800 men from the southern Italian city who had survived the siege and invasion of Otranto only to be decapitated on the outskirts of the city when they refused to renounce their faith and died witnessing to the Risen Christ. “Where did they find the strength to remain faithful,” the Pope asked. “Precisely from the faith, which makes us see beyond the limits of our human sight, beyond this earthly life … God will never leave us without strength and serenity. While we venerate the Martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain the many Christians who, precisely at this time, now, and in many parts of the world, are still suffering violence, that He give them the valour to be faithful and to respond to evil with good.”

The second saint canonized, Mother Laura Montoya, “was an instrument of evangelisation, first as a teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples in whom she instilled hope, embracing them with the love she had learned from God, bringing them to him with a pedagogical efficiency that respected their culture and didn't put itself in opposition to it. … This first saint born in the beautiful Colombian land teaches us to be generous with God, to not live the faith in isolation—as if it were possible to live the faith in an isolated way—but to communicate it, to bear the joy of the Gospel with words and witness of life in every sphere in which we find ourselves. … She teaches us to see Jesus' face reflected in others, to overcome indifference and selfishness, which corrode Christian communities and corrode our hearts, and she teaches us to embrace everyone without prejudice, without discrimination, and without reticence, but with sincere love, giving them the best of ourselves and above all sharing with them what we have that is most precious—not our deeds or our institutions. No! What we have that is most precious is Christ and his Gospel.”

Saint Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, “renouncing a life of ease—and how damaging the easy life, well-
being, can be; the “embourgeoisement” of our hearts that paralyses us—...to follow Jesus' call, who taught her to love poverty so that she could love the poor and the sick more. … The poor, the abandoned, the ill, the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. Mother Lupita touched Christ's flesh and taught us this way of acting: of not being embarrassed, not being afraid, not being disgusted to 'touch the flesh of Christ'! … This new Mexican saint invites us to love as Jesus has loved us and this entails not being locked up in oneself, in our own problems, our own ideas, our own interests, in this little world that causes us so much harm, but to go out and go in search of who needs attention, understanding, and help, in order to bring them the warm nearness of God's love through tactful gestures of sincere affection and love.”

At the end of his homily, the Pope emphasized that the new saints teach us “faithfulness to Jesus and his Gospel, to proclaim him in word and with our lives, witnessing to God's love with our love and with our charity towards all.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preparing for Pentecost

General Audience: May 8, 2013

HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES US TO SEE WITH CHRIST'S EYES


Vatican City, 8 May 2013 (VIS) – Eastertide, which culminates with the Solemnity of Pentecost when the Church relives the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is the perfect time of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope explained to the 75,000 persons present in St. Peter's Square to attend his Wednesday general audience.

After winding through the square in the Popemobile, greeting the various groups of faithful who greeted him as he passed by, the Pope began his catechesis, which was dedicated to the third Person of the Trinity; the Holy Spirit.

“In the Creed,” Francis said, “we profess with faith: 'I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life'. The first truth that we adhere to in the Creed is that the Holy Spirit is 'Kyrios', that is, Lord. This means that He is truly God as are the Father and the Son … but I want to mainly focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of God's life in us.”

“Men and women of all times and all places desire a full and beautiful life ... a life that is not threatened by death but that can mature and grow to its fullness. The human being is like a traveller who, crossing the deserts of life, is thirsty for living water, gushing and fresh, capable of deeply quenching that profound desire for light, love, beauty, and peace. We all feel that desire! And Jesus gives us this living water. It is the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and whom Jesus pours out into our hearts. 'I have come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly', Jesus says.”

Jesus has come to give us the living water that is the Holy Spirit “so that our lives might be guided by God.” That is why, “when we say that the Christian is a spiritual being we mean precisely this: the Christian is a person who thinks and acts in accordance with God, in accordance with the Holy Spirit. … We know that water is essential to life. Without water we die. It quenches our thirst, washes us, makes the land fertile. … The 'living water', the Holy Spirit, Gift of the Risen One who abides in us, purifies us, enlightens us, renews us, and transforms us so that we might be made to participate in the very life of God who is Love.”

Paul the Apostle, the Bishop of Rome noted, affirms that the Christian life “is enlivened by the Spirit and and by his fruits, which are 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control'. … The Spirit himself, together with our spirit, attests that we are God's children. And, if we are children, we are also inheritors, inheritors of God and co-inheritors with Christ if we truly take part in his suffering so that we might also be glorified with him. This is the precious gift that that the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts: the very life of God, the life of true children, a relationship of confidence, freedom, and trust in the love and mercy of God, which also has the effect of a new vision of others, near and far, seen always as brothers and sisters in Jesus to respect and to love. The Holy Spirit teaches us to see with Christ's eyes.”

“That is why,” he concluded, “the living water that is the Holy Spirit quenches the thirst of our lives, because He tells us that we are loved by God as children, that we can love God as his children, and that, with his grace, we can live as children of God, as Jesus does.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

First week of May

Pope Francis has been up to a lot this week, so here the highlights:


HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter's Square
Fifth Sunday of Easter, 28 April 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Confirmands,


I would like to offer three short and simple thoughts for your reflection.
1. In the second reading, we listened to the beautiful vision of Saint John: new heavens and a new earth, and then the Holy City coming down from God. All is new, changed into good, beauty and truth; there are no more tears or mourning… This is the work of the Holy Spirit: he brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. The Spirit changes us! And Saint John’s vision reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord’s face – that marvelous face, the most beautiful face of the Lord Jesus - and be with him for ever, in his love.

 You see, the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to the Spirit, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!

2. A second thought. In the first reading Paul and Barnabas say that “we must undergo many trials if we are to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The journey of the Church, and our own personal journeys as Christians, are not always easy; they meet with difficulties and trials. To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us but also within us, in the heart. But difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God’s glory, just as they were for Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life! Do not be discouraged! We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!

3. And here I come to my last point. It is an invitation which I make to you, young confirmandi, and to all present. Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. Pay attention, my young friends: to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion and forgiveness to our sinfulness. The Lord is so rich in mercy: every time, if we go to him, he forgives us. Let us trust in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals, my dear young people!

The new things of God, the trials of life, remaining steadfast in the Lord. Dear friends, let us open wide the door of our lives to the new things of God which the Holy Spirit gives us. May he transform us, confirm us in our trials, strengthen our union with the Lord, our steadfastness in him: this is a true joy! So may it be.

(cited on May 1st 2013 from

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130428_omelia-cresime_en.html)



During the Mass, Pope Francis confirmed 44 youth from all over the world in Saint Peter’s Square.  With over 100,000 people in attendance, great joy and enthusiasm abounded throughout Rome!  At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father gave a brief “Regina Caeli” message, which is given below:

 
Before closing this celebration, I would like to entrust to Our Lady the confirmands and all of you.  The Virgin Mary teaches us what it means to live in the Holy Spirit and what it means to accept the news of God in our life.  She conceived Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit, and every Christian, each one of us, is called to accept the Word of God, to accept Jesus inside of us and then to bring him to everyone.  Mary invoked the Holy Spirit with the Apostles in the Upper Room: we too, every time that we come together in prayer, are sustained by the spiritual presence of the Mother of Jesus, in order to receive the gift of the Spirit and to have the strength to witness to Jesus Risen.  I say this in a special way to you who have received Confirmation today: may Mary help you to be attentive to what the Lord asks of you, and to live and walk forever with the Holy Spirit!

At this moment, a special moment, I wish to raise a prayer for the many victims caused by the tragic collapse of a factory in Bangladesh.  I express my solidarity with and deepest sympathies to the families who are mourning their loved ones, and I address a strong appeal from my heart that the dignity and safety of the worker always be protected.

 Finally, the importance of work and contemplating Jesus, following Joseph and Mary's example, were the central themes of the Pope's first catechesis in the month of May, which coincided with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

Before the more than 70,000 persons gathered in St. Peter's Square for the general audience, the Pope explained that Jesus “enters into our history, comes among us, born of Mary by an act of God, but with the presence of St. Joseph, his legal father who cares for him and also teaches him his work … the trade of carpentry in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the commitment, the fatigue, the satisfaction, and also the difficulties of every day. This reminds us of the dignity and importance of labour. The Book of Genesis narrates that God created man and woman, entrusting to them the task of filling and subduing the earth, which did not mean exploiting it but cultivating and safeguarding it, caring for it with their very labour.”


“Labour is part of God's plan of love. We are called to cultivate and safeguard all the goods of creation and, in this way, we participate in the act of creation! Labour is a fundamental element for the dignity of a person. … It makes us like God, who laboured and labours, who always acts. He gives us the capacity to maintain ourselves, our family, to contribute to the growth of our own nations. Here,” the pontiff added, “I am thinking of the difficulties that, in various countries, the world of labour and business encounters today. I am think of how many, and not just young persons, are unemployed,often because of an economistic conception of society that seeks selfish profit, outside the parameters of social justice.”

“I would like to invite all to solidarity, and encourage those responsible for public affairs to make every effort to give new impetus to employment. This means having care for the dignity of the person. Mostly I would like to say not to lose hope. Even St. Joseph had difficult moments, but he never lost trust and he knew how to overcome them with the certainty that God does not abandon us."

After that exhortation, the Bishop of Rome referenced another troubling situation, “slave labour”, work that enslaves. “How many persons around the world are victims of this type of slavery in which the person is at the service of labour while it should be labour that offers service to the person so that they might have dignity. I ask our brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will to make a decisive choice against the trafficking of persons within which 'slave labour' figures.”
The Pope then touched upon the second theme of his catechesis, Jesus, who was Joseph and Mary's shared centre of attention in the silence of their everyday actions. The attitude of both is revealed in how the Virgin, as St. Luke narrates in his Gospel, “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” “In order to listen to the Lord, we need to learn how to contemplate him, to perceive his constant presence in our lives. We need to stop and dialogue with him, give him space with our prayer. … Let us remember the Lord more during our days!”

During this month of May, I would like to recall the important and the beauty of praying the Holy Rosary,” Francis continued, “contemplating the mysteries of Jesus, reflecting, that is, on the central moments of his life, so that, as for Mary and St. Joseph, He may be the centre of our thoughts, of our concerns, and of our actions. It would be beautiful if, above all during this month of May, we would recite together in our families, with our friends, and in our parishes, the Holy Rosary or some prayer to Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Praying together is a precious moment for making our family life and our friendship more steadfast! Let us learn to pray more in our families and as a family!”
“Let us ask St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary,” the Holy Father concluded, “to teach us to be faithful to our everyday commitments, to live our faith in our everyday actions, and to give more space to the Lord in our lives, to stop and contemplate his face.”

(Translation: VIS)