: (1)God loves us – the summary of all theology Vatican City, 15 March 2015 (VIS) At midday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to recite the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square and, as usual, commented on day’s Gospel reading, which this Sunday was Jesus’ words to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”. “God loves us!” exclaimed the Pope. “He loves us truly, and he loves us so much! This is the simplest expression that summarises the whole of the Gospel, all faith, all theology: God loves, us, with freely given and boundless love”. “At the origin of the world there is only the Father’s free and gratuitous love”, affirmed Pope Francis, cited the words of St. Irenaeus who, in his work “Adversus haereses”, wrote: “In the beginning God formed Adam, not because He was in need of humans, but so He might have someone to receive His benefits”. And after the fall, He did not abandon man to the power of death, but instead rescued him with His mercy. “As in creation”, explained Francis, “also the subsequent stages in the history of salvation emphasise the gratuity of God’s love: the Lord chooses His people not because they were deserving, but because it was the smallest among all the peoples. And, in the fullness of time, although men have broken the covenant many times, instead of abandoning them God makes a new bond with them, in the blood of Jesus – the bond of the new and everlasting covenant – a bond that nothing can ever break”. The Cross of Christ is “the supreme proof of God’s love for us: Jesus has loved us ‘unto the end’, meaning not up to the final moment of his earthly life, but until the extreme limit of love. If in creation the Father has given us the proof of his great love by giving us life, in the passion of His Son He has given us the proof of all proofs: He has come to suffer and die for us. And this love that is so great is God’s mercy, because He loves us, He forgives us. With his mercy, God forgives all and God always forgives”. “May Mary, Mother of Mercy, place in our hearts the certainty that we are loved by God. May She be close to us in the moments of difficulty and give us the sentiments of Her Son, so that our Lenten itinerary may be an experience of forgiveness, of welcome and of charity”.
(2) To be able to confess our sins is a gift from God Vatican City, 14 March 2015 (VIS) – “The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to draw near to the Father trustfully, to have the certainty of his forgiveness. He is truly ‘rich in mercy’ and he extends it abundantly to those who turn to him with a sincere heart”, said the Pope in his homily during the penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday afternoon. “The transformation of the heart that leads us to confess our sins is a gift from God … it is ‘His work’” he continued. “As we leave the confessional, we were his strength that restores life and rekindles the enthusiasm of faith. After confession we are reborn”. “Jesus’ call impels us all not to stop at the surface of things, especially when facing a person. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity each person is capable of. No-one must be excluded from God’s mercy. Everyone knows that the way to reach it, and the Church, is the house that welcomes all and refuses no-one. Its doors are always wide open, so that those who are touched by grace may find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, the greater the love must be that the Church expresses towards those who convert”. “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may make more evident her mission as witness to mercy. It is a path that begins with a spiritual conversion; and we must take this path. Therefore, I have decided to convoke an extraordinary Jubilee, which will be centred upon God’s mercy. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. Let us live this in the light of the Word of the Lord: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’. And this is especially for confessors! Have mercy!”. “I am convinced that all the Church, which is in great need of receiving mercy, as we are sinners, may find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called upon to give consolation to every man and every woman in our time. Let us not forget that God forgives everything, and God always forgives. Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness. Let us hereafter entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and keep watch over our path; our path of repentance, our path with an open heart, a year long, to receive God’s indulgence, to receive God’s mercy”
. (3) St. Patrick “As you are children of Patrick…;” Greeting to all Irish persons and to those of Irish descent, indeed to all people of goodwill. Some may be surprised at one statement attributed to St. Patrick which was at one time carved over the entrance to St. Patrick’s Church in Soho, London “Ut liberi Patricii sint liberi Romae”. As ye are children of Patrick so be ye children of Rome. I often recall those words in these days when Pope Francis appears to be under attack from so many quarters. Even when I do not like a Pope (, e.g St. J P 11) I always listen and obey convinced as I am that “The gates of hell shall not prevail”
St. Patrick, intercede for Ireland and for her missionaries who spread the Faith you brought to that land. May they be true to your words and example. Amen.
God Bless Our Pope.
Beannactai na Feile Padraig