Tag Archives: pope francis


“Lent is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched…” Pope Francis said at Mass on Ash Wednesday. “God does not tire, nor will he tire, of holding out his hand.” He encouraged us to pause, see, and return to the Father.

He offered suggestions of how to pause, including refraining from showing off, or from an attitude which gives rise to unproductive thoughts and self-pity. These lead us to forget our call to encounter others and share in their burdens. He urged an end to the desire “to control everything, know everything, destroy everything,” which stems from a lack of gratitude for our life and what we’ve been given. Lent is a good time for the “creative power of silence” in order to “leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere… Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.” Francis warned about “haughty looks” and “fleeting and pejorative comments,” words stemming from a lack of “tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error.”

Francis urged us instead to see – to reflect on those actions which promote faith, hope and charity – to look upon the faces of the vulnerable and in need, like families who, despite hardship, still strive to make their homes “a school of love.” May we see the faces of children and youth, yearning for a future, the faces of the elderly reflecting “God’s wisdom at work,” and the faces of sick people and their carers, whose vulnerability reminds us of the value of every person. “See the remorseful faces of so many who try to repair their errors and mistakes, and who from their misfortune and suffering fight to transform their situations and move forward.” Finally, the Pope encouraged everyone to make time during Lent to “see and contemplate the face of Crucified Love… To see his face is an invitation filled with hope for this Lenten time, in order to defeat the demons of distrust, apathy and resignation.”

Pope Francis invited all to “return without fear to those outstretched, eager arms of your Father, who is rich in mercy, who awaits you. Return without fear, for this is the favorable time to come home.”

Full text can be viewed here.

Pope Francis closes the Synod

Commentators have praised Pope Francis’s closing comments at the recent Synod. Here are some extracts, starting with some “temptations”….

“One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility or rigidity, that is, wanting to close oneself – within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know, and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

The temptation to a destructive tendency to “goodness” that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfill the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.”

Later Pope Francis talked eloquently about the Church:

“This is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

…We still have one year to mature… the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”

Fr Matthew