Vatican Radio REPORT The Confessional is not a ‘dry cleaners’ where our sins are automatically washed away and Jesus is not waiting there to ‘beat us up’, but to forgive us with the tenderness of a father for our sins. Moreover, being ashamed of our sins is not only natural, it’s a virtue that helps prepare us for God's forgiveness. This was the central message of Pope Francis’ homily Monday morning during Mass celebrated with staff from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and religious present in Casa Santa Marta.
Commenting on the First Letter of St. John, which states " God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all," Francis Pope pointed out that "we all have darkness in our lives," moments "where everything, even our consciousness, is in the dark”, but this - he pointed out - does not mean we walk in darkness:
"Walking in darkness means being overly pleased with ourselves, believing that we do not need salvation. That is darkness! When we continue on this road of darkness, it is not easy to turn back. Therefore, John continues, because this way of thinking made him reflect: 'If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us'. Look to your sins, to our sins, we are all sinners, all of us ... This is the starting point. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful, He is so just He forgives us our sins, cleansing us from all unrighteousness…The Lord who is so good, so faithful, so just that He forgives. "
"When the Lord forgives us, He does justice" - continued the Pope - first to himself, "because He came to save and forgive", welcoming us with the tenderness of a Father for his children: "The Lord is tender towards those who fear, to those who come to Him "and with tenderness," He always understand us”. He wants to gift us the peace that only He gives. " "This is what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation" even though "many times we think that going to confession is like going to the dry cleaner" to clean the dirt from our clothes:
"But Jesus in the confessional is not a dry cleaner: it is an encounter with Jesus, but with this Jesus who waits for us, who waits for us just as we are. “But, Lord, look ... this is how I am”, we are often ashamed to tell the truth: 'I did this, I thought this'. But shame is a true Christian virtue, and even human ... the ability to be ashamed: I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country to those who are never ashamed are called “sin vergüenza’: this means ‘the unashamed ', because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble. "
Pope Francis continued: “ we must have trust, because when we sin we have an advocate with the Father, "Jesus Christ the righteous." And He "supports us before the Father" and defends us in front of our weaknesses. But you need to stand in front of the Lord "with our truth of sinners", "with confidence, even with joy, without masquerading... We must never masquerade before God." And shame is a virtue: "blessed shame." "This is the virtue that Jesus asks of us: humility and meekness".
"Humility and meekness are like the frame of a Christian life. A Christian must always be so, humble and meek. And Jesus waits for us to forgive us. We can ask Him a question: Is going to confession like to a torture session? No! It is going to praise God, because I, a sinner , have been saved by Him. And is He waiting for me to beat me? No, with tenderness to forgive me. And if tomorrow I do the same? Go again, and go and go and go .... He always waits for us. This tenderness of the Lord, this humility, this meekness .... "
This confidence, concluded Pope Francis "gives us room to breathe." "The Lord give us this grace, the courage to always go to Him with the truth, because the truth is light and not the darkness of half-truths or lies before God. It give us this grace! So be it. "
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
POPE'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR MAY
Vatican City, 29 April 2013 (VIS) – The Pope's general prayer intention for May is: "That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience."
His mission intention is: “That seminaries, especially those of mission Churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.”
|EUROPEAN BISHOPS MEET TO ANALYZE CATHOLIC-MUSLIM RELATIONS|
Vatican City, 29 April 2013 (VIS) - The Council of Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) will be meeting in London from 1–3 May to discuss Christian-Muslim relations. The meeting will be chaired by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue will be a keynote speaker.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, will celebrate Mass for the delegates at Westminster Cathedral on the second day of the conference.
The 32 participants represent 20 Bishops' Conferences, European Cultural and Church organisations, and experts in the field of Christian-Muslim dialogue. On the first day, Fr. Andrea Pacini, CCEE coordinator of the Christian-Muslim network and secretary for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of the regional Bishops' Conference of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, Italy, will address the theme of the conference “Dialogue and Proclamation”.
The second day will focus on reflection, dialogue, and shared experiences on the religious identity of young Christians and Muslims in Europe. Professor Brigitte Marechal from the University of Louvain and Dr. Erwin Tanner, general secretary of the Swiss Bishops' Conference will be the day's keynote speakers.
Delegates will describe the situation in their respective countries on the final day. Cardinal Tauran will look specifically at “What is new in relations between Muslims and the Catholic Church?”
|MASS AT ST. PETER'S: OPENING LIFE TO NEWNESS OF GOD|
Vatican City, 28 April 2013 (VIS) – “Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord,” Pope Francis exhorted the 100,000 persons gathered this morning in St. Peter's Square to participate in the Mass at which he conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 44 faithful from around the world, representing the Church around the world. In his homily, the Bishop of Rome reflected on three themes: the newness of God, the trials of life, and firm hope in the Lord. Following is the full text of his homily.
The Newness of God
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 marvellous 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!
The Trials of Life
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!
Firm Hope in the Lord
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.
|POPE ASKS THAT DIGNITY AND SAFETY OF WORKERS ALWAYS BE DEFENDED|
Vatican City, 28 April 2013 (VIS) – At the end of the Mass celebrating the Rite of Confirmation, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“Before concluding this celebration,” he said, “I want to entrust all those who have been confirmed and all of you to Our Lady. The Virgin Mary teaches us what it means to live in the Holy Spirit and what it means to welcome the newness of God in our lives. She conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and every Christian, each one of us, is called to welcome the Word of God, to welcome Jesus within ourselves and then to bring him to all. Mary called upon the Spirit with the Apostles in the Cenacle. We as well, each time we gather in prayer, are sustained by the spiritual presence of Jesus' Mother to receive the gift of the Spirit and to have the strength to witness to the Risen Jesus.”
After affectionately greeting the pilgrims from all six inhabited continents, the Pope recalled the many victims of factory that collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh this past Wednesday, 24 April. “I would like to offer up a prayer for [them]. I express my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the families mourning their loved ones and from the depths of my heart I make a strong appeal that the dignity and safety of the worker may may always be protected.”
|CARDINAL DZIWISZ, POPE'S SPECIAL ENVOY TO KAUNAS|
Vatican City, 27 April 2013 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter, written in Latin, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, as his special envoy to the celebration for the 600th anniversary of the Cathedral Basilica of Kaunas, Lithuania, scheduled for 5 May 2013.
The Cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Vytautas Vaicunas, vice dean of the Faculty of Theology in Kaunas and Msgr. Arturas Jagelavicius, professor in the same faculty and judicial pro-vicar of the Archdiocese of Kaunas.
Vatican City, 29 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received
- Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (in Institutes of Study),
- Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, titular of Cibalae and secretary general of the Synod of Bishops,
- Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, titular of Victoriana and apostolic nuncio to Colombia, with members of his family,
- Archbishop Michael Wallace Banach, titular of Memphis and apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea, with members of his family, and
- Archbishop Brian Udaigwe, titular of Suelli and apostolic nuncio to Benin, with members of his family.
On Saturday, 27 April, the Holy Father received:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).
|OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS|
Vatican City, 27 April 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Omar de Jesus Mejia Giraldo as bishop of Florencia (area 15,441, population 277,000, Catholics 239,000, priests 51, permanent deacons 5, religious 67), Colombia. The bishop-elect, previously rector of the Cristo Sacerdote Major Seminary in La Ceja, Colombia, was born in El Santuario, Department of Antioquia, Colombia, in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1991.