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Miserere: A Way Back to God

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Miserere, by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), is a setting of Psalm 51.

Psalm 51 is the best known of the seven penitential Psalms (the others being Psalms 6, 32, 38, 102, 130, 143). It is prayed at morning prayer every Friday of the year. 

What does it mean to be penitent? To show sorrow or regret for wrongdoing. Similar to the prodigal son returning to his father, so too, one with a penitent heart turns back to God. This Friday, take a moment to reconcile with God, and find Him ready to stretch out His loving arms to welcome you!

Take a moment and pray along!

Prodigal Son Rembrandt

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. *
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt *
and cleanse me from my sin.

My offenses truly I know them; *
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned; *
what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you may be justified when you give sentence *
and be without reproach when you judge.
O see, in guilt I was born, *
a sinner was I conceived.

Indeed you love truth in the heart; *
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean; *
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, *
that the bones you have crushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face *
and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God, *
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, *
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help; *
with a spirit of fervor sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways *
and sinners may return to you.

O rescue me, God, my helper, *
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips *
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

For in sacrifice you take no delight, *
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. *
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

In your goodness, show favor to Zion: *
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, *
holocausts offered on your altar.

Get Clean (Value of Confession)

Beware of Jealousy

Examine of Conscience

Aside

Love Without Fear

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A friend on facebook posted:

Pope Francis Quote

Loving without fear of consequences is the path of holiness we are all called to. Fear is really a stumbling block to our holiness.

Another friend has an acronym for fear:

F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal

This is so true! Our fears (what will others think? what if I’m rejected? etc) stops us cold from our desire to reach out, and many times it is because of our poor perception (false reality) of how the other might receive our message of love. The antidote to this ‘paralysis by analysis’ is simple.

PRAYER.

It is conquered through Prayer, for the fruit of prayer =====> L O V E.

Is it easy to love with abandon? No.  Possible? Yes!

The path the Saints have trod before us leads us down the very path of possible loving with abandon for the very people who hurt us. Let us be encouraged today to love with the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta*:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, others could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

Let us ask the Mary, who swallowed her fear at the Annunciation, to assist us to do God’s will … fear or not … anyway.

___

* Version attributed to Mother Teresa. Original source: “The Paradoxical Commandments” Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.

Pray & Fast for Peace

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On Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged all of us to deepen our prayer for peace, both for Syria and for the world:

There are several ways by which to be in union with the Holy Father this Saturday:

1.  Go to Mass. It is the First Saturday as well, so you are more likely to find a Church that will celebrate Mass Saturday morning.

2.  Pray with the Holy Father via livestream, Saturday, 1PM ET

3.  Pray the Rosary together as a family.

4.  Offer your day for Pope Francis intentions.

5.  Invite others to pray too. The Pope has reached out to to “…every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe…” so to unite all under the banner of peace.

If you are willing, please share this post with others, that more may join us in this world day of fasting and prayer for what is needed in our world: Peace.

God bless you!

Pope Francis’ Angelus address in full:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hello!

Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).

All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

QueenofPeaceTo this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

 

Preoccupation and Trust

jesus-mary-and-martha“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.”

- Luke 10:11

It wasn’t that Martha wasn’t doing good things, only she let those things preoccupy her and get her off-balance. Martha needed to learn to love Jesus with a proper measure of serving him, and to stop her busy-ness and sit down and just listen to him. This is an important lesson for all of us. How many of us can attest to being so caught up with what is coming, and what we need to do that we put off those things that really matter to us: our family, our community, quality time with friends … quality time with the Lord in prayer. Everything must be in right measure.

Dearest Lord Jesus, let me not think about the tomorrow that will never come, nor for the yesterday that will never return. May you always be before me, behind me, above me, below me, encompassing me at every moment, that I may walk always closer toward you, with Mary, Your mother and mine, to be my one companion.
 
Trust. Trust. Trust. 

The Word and Our Hearts

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Word of God“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

“For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11

***

The Word. It is always effective, ready to penetrate the hardened heart as easily as a well-tuned chain saw slices into heart of a tree, to reveal its age and history. So God’s word has the power to divide our being between what the world tries to define us as, and that which we truly are in our call to holiness in the image of our Maker. Just as God knows the core of the tree before it is revealed, so He understands fully our hearts. Nothing is concealed from His gaze.

It is for our sake that sometimes in taking up the Word of God, our hearts are pierced. The Good Physician opens the wound to free us from the poison of our lives, and heal us, making us ready containers for His Spirit to dwell. Sometimes, when we read or listen to the Word of God, it doesn’t seem to penetrate anything; it seems to be just words. But just as the passage from Isaiah claims, the Word ‘shall not return to God void, but shall do his will, achieving the end for which it is sent.’ Over time, and perseverance, we begin to see the workings of the Word in our lives.

Saint Teresa of Avila is very encouraging on this point. She would tell her Sisters, when they find themselves confronted by an obstacle – whether it be a person, an attitude, a sin – to simply ask God to remove it. And keep asking until He does.

Perhaps there is an obstacle that we are not aware of? Then let us ask God to reveal it. Naming our obstacles takes away any power they may have over us, in the same way that confronting our vices makes it possible for us to avoid their occasions and build resistance to them.

The Word, by picking it up daily,  is consenting to have God work in our lives. And, little by little, it will cleanse and purify our hearts to desire God more and more, giving us strength to endure. In this way, the Word of God will ‘achieve the end for which it was sent’.

Who Will Defend You at the End?

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I found the following tweet on my feed:

I’ve been reading through a book on Marian Consecration, called 33 Days to Morning Glory (let me know if you’re using it!). It has taught me so much of what it means when we consecrate ourselves to God through Mary. Powerful stuff.

My Response to the question?

What is your response? How would you defend yourself before Saint Peter at Heaven’s Gate?

Remember. During the month of May, we remember Mary in a special way. How are you honoring our spiritual Mother this May?

God bless you.

Fear Not…Divine Mercy is Here

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I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. 
(Diary # 299)
 
“Tell the whole world of My great Mercy; that whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.+Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My Mercy. +Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness.Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.” 
(Diary # 300)
 
Gods Mercy
 

It’s the 3 o’clock hour the day before Divine Mercy Sunday, and I was just informed of yet another young person who chose to take his own life. I offer this post for him and his family, and for all those who have walked this path and found no way to endure the heavy cross.

I offer this post too for all those who battle on with thoughts of taking their own life. I pray for you daily, and ask my readers to pray for you too. The message of Jesus’ Divine Mercy is for you. Blessed John Paul II made a point of telling us, “Do not be afraid!…Fear not!” Often, depression is a fearful thing, and anyone ever been caught in an undertow might have a sense that, depression can leave one feeling there is no escape. What seems like the way to the surface and to relief, leaves one still struggling to find it. As overwhelming as it may seem, the wave will pass. Wait. Pray. Talk to someone until it does.

I’ll say it again. It is a cross. Jesus endured six hours on the Cross. In moments, we too must stay close to Him in his suffering, until the light of Easter and Resurrection come. It. Will. Come.

The following song is one of my favorite #RoadRosary songs, that I often turn to when I travel alone. During its soothing melody, I pour out my prayers for those who request intercession. Today, it is for all those heavily burdened. Let us give our burdens to Jesus.

Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday everyone!

Related Posts:

Never Despair in God’s Mercy

Thomas L. McDonald at God and the Machine wrote, “There are some taking to social networks to say Matthew Warren’s final act dooms him to Hell. I prefer the question of Hans Urs von Balthasar: Dare we hope that Hell is empty? Dare we hope that all are saved? Yes. We dare. We’re Christians…in which we recognize the pure power of God’s infinite mercy. We trust the soul of a troubled young man to a merciful God..”

The Release Latch

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Reading a reflection by Father Vincent Nagle, he tells of a scuba diver going in the water at high-tide and soon found himself unable to make any progress toward a cove. Rather, he was hurled again and again against the rocks. Try as he might the diver could not free himself from the force of the current and could neither go forward nor turn back. He was too laden down with gear and not willing to let it go. There he remained, dashed against the rocks until another diver went in and pulled the release latch, freeing the struggling diver from his gear sending it to the bottom. They both reached safety together.

All of us are laden down with ‘stuff’ that keeps us from progressing. We long to have lasting relationships, deeper faith; to live good and holy lives.

What gets in our way?

Where is the release lever in our lives that frees us so we can make our way to safety? How are we freed so to reach toward what is important? How long will we let ourselves be dashed against the rocks, unwilling to let go of our habits, our possessions, our old self ? We must come to a point and realize we need someone to help us pull the release latch that keeps us weighed down in our ‘stuff’.

It is Holy Week. It is time to let go of the past and to walk in freedom with Jesus towards Jerusalem. Jesus walked to Jerusalem to bear the burden for us.

Will we let him pull the lever? Will we let Him take our burden upon himself and choose in our new freedom to follow him?

It is time to choose.

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842

 

Tu Es Petrus

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TuEsPetrus2“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.”

These words from Matthew 16:18 are inscribed on the inside of the cupola of Saint Peters, directly over the high altar. Which, in turn, is directly over the tomb of Saint Peter’s remains below.

These are also the words the choir will sing as Pope Francis processes before the tomb of Saint Peter for a moment of prayer before receiving the signs of his Petrine Office, the Pallium and the Fisherman’s Ring.

Before the signs of office are bestowed, there is a prayerful dialogue, sung in Latin by the choir:

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
Christ Conquers! Christ Reigns! Christ Commands!

These words are intertwined with a litany, calling on the Saints of Heaven to help the new Pontiff:

For Francis Supreme Pontiff, who gathereth into one all peoples through doctrine, in charity: let there be grace for the Shepherd and obedience for the flock.

Saviour of the world, come to his aid.

Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew… the list goes on through all the Apostles.

For Francis, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, who today begins his ministry: grant strength, the understanding of the Holy Spirit and sollicitude towards the Universal Church.

Saint Linus, come to their aid.

Saint Cletus, Saint Clement I, Saint Sixtus I … The list goes on through the early Popes, up to Saint Pius X (1903-1914).

There is also a prayer for those who govern and all citizens united in prayer:

To our governors and all our fellow citizens praying with us: be true peace in their hearts, and fulfillment of their vows.

Help of Christians, come to their aid.

Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Stephen, Saint Ignatius of Antioch … the list goes on naming the great Saints throughout the ages.

You can download the Prayer Booklet (In PDF) and follow along during the Mass. You can watch live, and in video playback at the Vatican Player.Take these prayers to heart, and pray for our Pope daily. The prayers are listed here, because they are beautiful and with the hope you will take a moment and consider them.
 

At the Reception of the Pallium:

O God, who do not disappoint those who call upon you with upright and devout hearts, hear the fervent prayer of your Church and pour forth your blessing upon your servant Francis, our Pope, to whom, through our humble service, you have granted primacy in the apostolic office. May he be strengthened by the gift of your Holy Spirit and worthily exercise his high ministry in accordance with the eminent charism he has received. Through Christ our Lord. 

At the Reception of the Fisherman’s Ring:

PetrusMost Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilee, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle Paul has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.

And may almighty God, by his grace, watch over him in his ministry as the Successor of the Apostle Peter and Pastor of the Universal Church.

Lord, hear our prayer.

First Angelus of Pope Francis

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On Sunday, Pope Francis took to the window of the Papal library to give a brief talk on the Sunday’s Scripture readings, and lead the faithful in the praying of the Angelus (he first appears in the video at the 5min mark):

His address was given in Italian and the below text was translated by the Vatican Information Service:

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! After our first meeting last Wednesday, today I again give my greetings to you all! And I am happy to do it on Sunday, the Lord’s Day! This is beautiful and important for us Christians: to meet on Sunday, to greet one another, to talk as we are doing now, in the square. This square that, thanks to the media, takes on worldly dimensions.
 
In this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with the story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus saves from being condemned to death. It captures Jesus’ attitude: we do not hear words of contempt, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, that invite us to conversion. ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more!’ Well, brothers and sisters! God’s face is that of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience that He has with each of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, is always patient with us, understanding us, awaiting us, never tiring of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart. ‘Great is the Lord’s mercy’, says the Psalm.
 
In these days, I have been able to read a book by a cardinal—Cardinal Kasper, a talented theologian, a good theologian—on mercy. And it did me such good, that book, but don’t think that I’m publicizing the books of my cardinals. That is not the case! But it did me such good, so much good… Cardinal Kasper said that hearing the word mercy changes everything. It is the best thing that we can hear: it changes the world. A bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand God’s mercy well, this merciful Father who has such patience… Think of the prophet Isaiah who asserts that even if our sins were scarlet red, God’s love would make them white as snow. That is beautiful, [this aspect of mercy]. I remember when, just after I was made bishop, in 1992, the Madonna of Fatima came to Buenos Aires and a large Mass for the sick was celebrated. I went to hear confessions at that Mass. Near the end of the Mass I got up because I had to administer a confirmation. An over 80-year-old woman came up to me, humbly, very humbly. I asked her: “Nonna,” [grandmother]—because that’s how we address our elderly—“Nonna, you want to confess?” “Yes,” she told me. “But if you haven’t sinned…” And she said to me: “We have all sinned…” “But perhaps the Lord will not forgive you…” “The Lord forgives everyone,” she told me, with certainly. “But how do you know that, ma’am?” “If the Lord didn’t forgive everyone, the world would not exist.” I wanted to ask her: “Tell me, have you studied at the Gregorian [Pontifical University]?”, because that is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives: the inner wisdom of God’s mercy. Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us, never! ‘So, Father, what is the problem?’ Well, the problem is that we get tired, we don’t want to, we get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us never get tired. Let us never get tired. He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us. And let us also learn to be merciful with everyone. Let us call upon the intercession of the Madonna who has held in her arms the Mercy of God made human.
 

Pope Francis then led the faithful in the Angelus prayer in Latin, and thanked the pilgrims for their show of support and asked again for our prayers.

Let us continue to offer our prayers for Pope Francis as he settles into his new responsibilities. And let us also not forget to keep Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in our prayers, that his new service as a man of prayer will be a great service for the whole Church.

Remembering Dad

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Today marks the one year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I cannot think of a better way to remember him than to recall his love for family and the outdoors, in pictures.

Below the slideshow, is the reflection I gave last year for the Rosary we prayed for the repose of his soul.

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First Mystery: The Annunciation (Luke 1:28-35)

As we meditate on Mary’s reception of the Angel’s word, we are reminded too, of Dad’s willingness to welcome strangers. It was often said, he treated strangers as friends. It was his own way of welcoming Christ.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Second Mystery: Jesus is Baptized in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17)

The Sacred Scriptures tell us He was like us in all things but sin. Yet he let himself be baptized, to share in our humanity, our need for external signs of God’s grace.  dad shared in the baptism of Christ; in his humanity and in his weaknesses, he did the best he could. He knew the grace of being forgiven, and by not holding a grudge he shared the grace as he forgave others.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Third Mystery: Mary Visits her Cousin Elizabeth (Luke 2:39-45)

What a blessed visit between Mary and her older cousin Elizabeth! This mystery reminds us too of how Dad enjoyed meeting other people, most of the time with a smile. That even when he wasn’t feeling well, he still greeted others with enthusiasm and usual cheerfulness.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fourth Mystery: Jesus Rose from the Dead  (John 16:20-23)

Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his death. He did not deny their need to grieve. BUT, he pointed beyond this death to his resurrection. Dad too was a firm believer in the resurrection.  He knew his life didn’t end here. And, with Jesus, he reminds us, “… your grief will turn to joy…I will see you again.”

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fifth Mystery: Jesus Institutes the Holy Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

In the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gave himself to us as a lasting memorial of His passion and death. Dad, before he became ill, daily nourished his soul at the table of the Word of God and the Eucharist. I remember coming with him to Mass and, I noticed he prayed as he approached Jesus at communion time, he would simply say, “Jesus, have mercy on me.”

He had come to believe in God’s mercy, and sought it out often in his earthly life.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Dad, I love you. I miss you. And I look forward to the day when we will embrace again.

Holy Father Francis’ First Words to Us

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Standing on the Loggia of Blessings, looking out at the massive crowd in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis speaks his first words to the people of Rome and to the world (text below):

Brothers and sisters good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome. Thank you.

First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

Glory to the Father…

And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]

[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon… We will see one another soon.

Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

(via Vatican Radio)

Habemus Papam!

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Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stood at the Loggia looking out over the very large crowd at Saint Peter’s and declared to the world, “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! HABEMUS PAPAM!”

Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Giorgium Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglium, Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum!

3-13-13-Pope-Francis_full_380With the whole world, I offer the Lord praise and thanksgiving for the gift of  our new Roman Pontiff, to guide us through the rough seas of our times.

Thank you, Holy Father Francis for accepting this cross, for the love of God, and for the salvation of the whole world. May our dear Lord be your strength as you pick up the Cross and follow after Him, with Saint Peter to help you.

Let us pray:

O Lord, we are the millions of believers, humbly kneeling at Thy feet and begging Thee to preserve, defend and save the Sovereign Pontiff for many years. He is the Father of the great fellowship of souls and our Father as well. On this day, as on every other day, he is praying for us also, and is offering unto Thee with holy fervor the sacred Victim of love and peace.

Wherefore, O Lord, turn Thyself toward us with eyes of pity; for we are now, as it were, forgetful of ourselves, and are praying above all for him. Do Thou unite our prayers with his and receive them into the bosom of Thine infinite mercy, as a sweet savor of active and fruitful charity, whereby the children are united in the Church to their Father. All that he asks of Thee this day, we too ask it of Thee in unison with him.

Whether he weeps or rejoices, whether he hopes or offers himself as a victim of charity for his people, we desire to be united with him; nay more, we desire that the cry of our hearts should be made one with his. Of Thy great mercy grant, O Lord, that not one of us may befar from his mind and his heart in the hour that he prays and offers unto Thee the Sacrifice of Thy blessed Son. At the moment when our venerable High Priest, holding in His hands the very Body of Jesus Christ, shall say to the people over the Chalice of benediction yhese words: “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” grant, O Lord, that Thy sweet peace may come down upon our hearts and upon all the nations with new and manifest power. Amen.

- Pope Leo XIII

 

Thanksgiving and Supplication

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220px-SodanoHere is the translated text from Cardinal Sodano’s homily during the Mass for the Election of a Pope, given in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome (via Vatican Radio):

Dear Concelebrants,
Distinct Authorities,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Forever I will sing the mercies of the Lord” is the hymn that resounds once again near the tomb of the Apostle Peter in this important hour of the history of the Holy Church of Christ. These are the words of Psalm 88 that have flowed from our lips to adore, give thanks and beg the Father who is in heaven. “Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo”: is the beautiful Latin text that has introduced us into contemplation of the One who always watches over his Church with love, sustaining her on her journey down through the ages, and giving her life through his Holy Spirit.

Such an interior attitude is ours today as we wish to offer ourselves with Christ to the Father who is in heaven, to thank him for the loving assistance that he always reserves for the Holy Church, and in particular for the brilliant Pontificate that he granted to us through the life and work of the 265th Successor of Peter, the beloved and venerable Pontiff Benedict XVI, to whom we renew in this moment all of our gratitude.

At the same time today, we implore the Lord, that through the pastoral sollicitude of the Cardinal Fathers, He may soon grant another Good Shepherd to his Holy Church. In this hour, faith in the promise of Christ sustains us in the indefectible character of the church. Indeed Jesus said to Peter: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.” (Mt. 16:18).

My brothers, the readings of the World of God that we have just heard can help us better understand the mission that Christ has entrusted to Peter and to his successors.

The Message of Love
The first reading has offered us once again a well-known messianic oracle from the second part of the book of Isaiah that is known as “the book of consolation” (Isaiah 40-66). It is a prophecy addressed to the people of Israel who are in exile in Babylon. Through this prophecy, God announces that he will send a Messiah full of mercy, a Messiah who would say: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me… he has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the wounds of broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, and to announce a year of mercy of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

The fulfilment of such a prophecy is fully realized in Jesus, who came into the world to make present the love of the Father for all people. It is a love which is especially felt in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all human frailty, both physical and moral. It is especially found in the well known encyclical of Pope John Paul II, “Dives in Misericordia” where we read: “It is precisely the mode and sphere in which love manifests itself that in biblical language is called “mercy” (n. 3).

This mission of mercy has been entrusted by Christ to the pastors of his Church. It is a mission that must be embraced by every priest and bishop, but is especially entrusted to the Bishop of Rome, Shepherd of the universal Church. It is infact to Peter that Jesus said: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?… Feed my lambs (John 21:15). In his commentary on these words, St. Augustine wrote: “May it be therefore the task of love to feed the flock of the Lord” (In Iohannis Evangelium, 123, 5; PL 35, 1967).

It is indeed this love that urges the Pastors of the Church to undertake their mission of service of the people of every age, from immediate charitable work even to the highest form of service, that of offering to every person the light of the Gospel and the strength of grace.

This is what Benedict XVI wrote in his Lenten Message for this year (#3). “Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term “charity” to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelization, which is the “ministry of the word”. There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbour than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. As the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development (cf. n. 16).”

The message of unity
The second reading is taken from the letter to the Ephesians., written by the Apostle Paul in this very city of Rome during his first imprisonment (62-63 A.D.) It is a sublime letter in which Paul presents the mystery of Christ and his Church. While the first part is doctrinal (ch.1-3), the second part, from which today’s reading is taken, has a much more pastoral tone (ch. 4-6). In this part Paul teaches the practical consequences of the doctrine that was previously presented and begins with a strong appeal for church unity: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(Eph 4,1-3).

St. Paul then explains that in the unity of the Church, there is a diversity of gifts, according to the manifold grace of Christ, but this diversity is in function of the building up of the one body of Christ. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph 4:11-12).

In our text, St. Paul teaches that each of us must work to build up the unity of the Church, so that “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Eph 4:16). Each of us is therefore called to cooperate with the Successor of Peter, the visible foundation of such an ecclesial unity.

The Mission of the Pope
Brothers and sisters in Christ today’s Gospel takes us back to the Last Supper, when the Lord said to his Apostles: “This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). The text is linked to the first reading from the Messiah’s actions in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, reminding us that the fundamental attitude of the Pastors of the Church is love. It is this love that urges us to offer our own lives for our brothers and sisters. Jesus himself tells us: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12).

The basic attitude of every Shepherd is therefore to lay down one’s life for his sheep (John 10:15). This also applies to the Successor of Peter, Pastor of the Universal Church. As high and universal the pastoral office, so much greater must be the charity of the Shepherd. In the heart of every Successor of Peter, the words spoken one day by the Divine Master to the humble fisherman of Galilee have resounded: “Diligis me plus his? Pasce agnos meos… pasce oves meas”; “Do you love me more than these? Feed my lambs… feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-17)

In the wake of this service of love toward the Church and towards all of humanity, the last popes have been builders of so many good initiatives for people and for the international community, tirelessly promoting justice and peace. Let us pray that the future Pope may continue this unceasing work on the world level.

Moreover, this service of charity is part of the intimate nature of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us of this fact when he said: “The service of charity is also a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being; (Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio Intima Ecclesiae natura, November 11, 2012, introduction; cf. Deus caritas est,n. 25).

It is a mission of charity that is proper to the Church, and in a particular way is proper to the Church of Rome, that in the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, is the Church that “presides in charity” “praesidet caritati” (cf. Ad Romanos (preface).; Lumen Gentium, n. 13).

My brothers, let us pray that the Lord will grant us a Pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart. We ask this of the Lord, through the intercession of Mary most holy, Queen of the Apostles and of all the Martyrs and Saints, who through the course of history, made this Church of Rome glorious through the ages. Amen.

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