Tag - reflects

Pope reflects on Transfiguration, summer vacation at Angelus



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis focused his Angelus reflection on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which is celebrated each year on 6 August. “The event of the Transfiguration of the Lord,” he said, “offers us a message of hope: it invites us to encounter Jesus, to be at the service of our brothers.”

The disciples’ journey to Mount Tabor, he continued, helps us “to reflect on the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly things, in order to complete our journey to the heights and to contemplate Jesus.” This involves conforming ourselves to Christ’s attitude of “attentive listening and prayer,” which allows us to welcome the Word of God into our lives. Summer time, the Pope said, can be a providential moment to grow in our commitment to seek after and encounter the Lord. “In this period, students are free from their scholastic commitments, and many families take their vacations; it is important that in the period of rest and of detachment from daily occupations, the strength of the body and of the spirit can be restored, deepening the spiritual journey.”

These spiritual heights, though, are not an end in themselves. Following the experience of the Transfiguration, the disciples came down from the mountain with “eyes and hearts transfigured by the experience of the Lord.” Pope Francis said that we too can “come down from the mountain, recharged by the power of the divine Spirit, to decide on new steps of authentic conversion, and to constantly bear witness to charity as the law of daily life.” This transfiguration will allow us to be “sign of the life-giving love of God” for all, especially those who suffer.

In the Transfiguration, the Pope said, we hear the voice of the Father saying, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!” Pope Francis encouraged us to look to Mary, “the Virgin of Listening,” and pray that she might help us “to enter into symphony with the Word of God, that Christ might become the light and the guide of our lives.” He concluded his reflection by entrusting everyone’s vacations to God, and by praying for all those who are unable to take vacations, that summer may be for them, too, a time of relaxation, “gladdened by the presence of friends and joyful moments.”

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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On Trinity Sunday Pope reflects on mystery of God’s identity


(Vatican Radio) On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Pope Francis reflected on the “mystery of the identity of God” during the midday recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father took as his starting point the greeting of St Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” This greeting, he said, was inspired by Paul’s personal experience of the love of God. The Apostle encouraged the Christian community, despite its human limitations, “to become a reflection of the communion of the Trinity, of its goodness and beauty.” But, the Pope said, this comes about only through the experience of the mercy and forgiveness of God.

This was the experience of the Jewish people during the Exodus. When they broke the covenant, God came to Moses in the cloud to renew the pact, and revealed His own proper Name and its significance: “the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” The Pope said this name shows us that “God is not distant and closed in on Himself”; rather, He is “Life which wishes to communicate itself; He is openness; He is Love which redeems man’s infidelity.”

The revelation of God’s Name in the Old Testament, he continued, is fulfilled in the New, in the words of Christ and His mission of salvation. Jesus, he said, “has shown us the face of God, One in substance and Triune in Persons; God is all and only Love, in a subsisting relationship that creates, redeems, and sanctifies all: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

This is the context of the scene from the Gospel where Christ speaks with Nicodemus. Although Nicodemus was an important figure in the community, he never stopped seeking God. But speaking with Jesus, he comes to know that God has already sought him; that God waits for him, that God loves him personally. Here we find the famous words of Christ: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This eternal life is none other than “the immeasurable and gratuitous love of the Father that Jesus gave on the Cross, offering His life for our salvation.”

Pope Francis concluded his reflection with the prayer that the Virgin Mary might “help us to enter ever more, with our whole selves, into the trinitarian Communion, to live and bear witness to the love that gives sense to our existence.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis reflects on Mary Magdalene at General Audience



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on “Christian Hope” at his General Audience on Wednesday, focusing this week on the figure of St Mary Magdalene.

The Holy Father’s reflections were based on a passage from the Gospel of St John, which relates how St Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after His Resurrection. Her visit to Jesus’s tomb, the Pope said, mirrored “the fidelity of so many women” who visit cemeteries to keep alive the memory of those who have passed away. “The most authentic bonds,” he said, “are not broken even by death.”

Pope Francis noted that Mary Magdalene’s first visit to the tomb was a disappointment: Seeing the empty tomb, she went to the place the disciples were hiding and told them that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.

But although she was sorrowful, she returned to the sepulchre. The Pope continued, “It was while she was standing near the tomb, with eyes filled with tears, that God surprised her in a most unexpected way.” She hardly noticed the two angels who spoke to her, and at first she did not even recognise Jesus, whom she took to be a gardener. Instead, Pope Francis said, “she discovers the most shocking event in human history” only when Jesus “calls her by name.”

“How beautiful it is to think that the first apparition of the Risen One – according to the Gospels – should occur in such a personal way!” the Pope said. How beautiful it is “that there is someone who recognizes us, who sees our suffering and disappointment, and is moved for our sake, and calls us by name.” Although many people seek God, he said, the “wonderful reality” is that God has sought us first, and sought each of us personally. “Each one of us,” Pope Francis said, “is a story of the love of God. God calls each of us by name.”

When Jesus said Mary’s name, her life was changed. “The Gospels describe Mary’s happiness for us,” the Holy Father said. “The Resurrection of Jesus is not a joy given with an eyedropper, but a cascade, a waterfall that fills our whole life.” Pope Francis called for everyone to reflect on that fact that, even with all the “disappointments and defeats” in our life, “there is a God who is close to us and who calls us by name, who says to us, ‘Arise, don’t cry, because I have come to set you free.’”

God, he continued, “is a dreamer: He dreams of the transformation of the world, and has realised it in the mystery of the Resurrection.”

Saint Mary Magdalene, who, before she met Jesus, was at the mercy of the evil one, became “the apostle of the new and greatest hope.” Her life was changed because she had “seen the Lord.” Mary’s experience is an example for us, too, whose lives are changed because we have seen the Lord. This, Pope Francis said, “is our strength, and our hope.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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