On Monday, 13 March, we mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ elevation to the papacy. The first Latin-American pontiff in history, Jorge Mario Bergoglio impressed the world with his emphases on simplicity and poverty, on being a Church of the poor and for the poor, and on Christ’s call to the whole Church to live as missionary disciples. To celebrate this day, we’ve collected ten quotes, one from each year of his pontificate. Together they demonstrate the wide range of Pope Francis’ concerns and his vision for the Church.
How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy … Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards! (EG §3)
In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and ‘thinking small’ when it comes to the meaning of life. Think big instead! Open your hearts! … Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy! Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture, a culture that assumes that you are incapable of taking on responsibility and facing the great challenges of life!
At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God, and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says: ‘I make all things new’ (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all. (LS §243)
We need to find the right language, arguments and forms of witness that can help us reach the hearts of young people, appealing to their capacity for generosity, commitment, love and even heroism, and in this way inviting them to take up the challenge of marriage with enthusiasm and courage. (AL §40)
Access to the media—thanks to technological progress—makes it possible for countless people to share news instantly and spread it widely. That news may be good or bad, true or false. The early Christians compared the human mind to a constantly grinding millstone; it is up to the miller to determine what it will grind: good wheat or worthless weeds. Our minds are always ‘grinding’, but it is up to us to choose what to feed them.
We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint. It is the power of the grain of wheat, the power of that love which humbles itself and gives itself to the very end, and thus truly renews the world.
Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt. Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew. (CV §123)
In the face of so much pain and suffering, our only course is to imitate the Good Samaritan … The parable clearly does not indulge in abstract moralising, nor is its message merely social and ethical. It speaks to us of an essential and often forgotten aspect of our common humanity: we were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love. We cannot be indifferent to suffering; we cannot allow anyone to go through life as an outcast. Instead, we should feel indignant, challenged to emerge from our comfortable isolation and to be changed by our contact with human suffering. That is the meaning of dignity. (FT §67-8)
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Apostles, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you‘ (28:19-20). These words are also addressed to us today. They help us better understand that our vocation is to preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the young, and to care for the little ones. Think about it: what is our vocation today, at our age? To preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the young and to care for the little ones. Never forget this.
It is very beautiful to think of our life with the Lord as a relationship with a friend that grows day by day. Friendship with God. Have you ever thought about this? This is the way! Let us think about God who loves us and wants us as friends. Friendship with God is able to change the heart. Piety is one of the great gifts of the Holy Spirit, which makes us capable of recognising God’s fatherhood. We have a tender Father, an affectionate Father, a Father who loves us, who has always loved us. When we experience this, our hearts melt and doubts, fears, feelings of unworthiness dissolve. Nothing can hinder this love that comes from the encounter with the Lord.
Melbourne Catholic29 February 2024
Melbourne Catholic28 February 2024