A Catholic Monthly Magazine

to the Priests, Seminarians, Religious; About Wounded Families

Pope Speaks DecVIS 9 July 2015: “Today I am to speak to the priests, seminarians, women and men religious, and to say something to them. I thought about the Virgin, I thought about Mary … Mary never took centre stage. She was a disciple all through her life. The first disciple of her Son. And she was aware that everything she had was due to the pure gratuity of God. She was aware of this gratuity. Therefore, men and women religious, priests, seminarians, in all the days to come, take the path back to the gratuitousness with which God chose you. … We are subject to God's gratuitousness. If we forget this, slowly, we gradually move away from the basis from which Mary never wavered: God's gratuitousness.” “A second thing I wanted to say to you is to take care of your health, but most of all take care not to fall into a sort of spiritual Alzheimer's: do not lose your memory, especially the memory of where you are from. St. Paul intuited this danger, and to his dearest son, the bishop Timothy, to whom he gave pastoral counsel, he said: ‘Do not forget the faith of your grandmother and your mother.’ That is, 'Do not forget where you come from, do not forget your roots, do not feel as if you have been promoted.’ Gratuity is a grace that cannot co-exist with promotion and, when a priest, a seminarian, a man or woman religious, embarks upon a career – a human career – he or she begins to sicken with spiritual Alzheimer's and begins to lose the memory of where he or she is from.”

Francis suggested two basic principles to the priests and consecrated persons. “Every day, renew the feeling that everything is free, the feeling of the gratuity with which each one of you was chosen – none of us deserved this – and ask for the grace of not losing your memory, of not feeling more important. And these two principles will revive two attitudes. First, that of service. God chose me, but why? To serve … and there is nothing else, to serve when we are tired, when people annoy us. … An old priest, who was a genius all his life, said to me, 'the holy faithful People of God are essentially Olympian, or rather, they do what they want, and can be ontologically tiresome'. And this contains much wisdom, as taking the path of service means allowing oneself to be troubled without losing patience.” “Service, mixed with gratuity and then … that of Jesus: 'Freely you have received; freely give'. Please, please,” he repeated, “do not expect something in return; please, let your ministry be freely given. And the second attitude … is that of joy and cheer. And it is a gift from Jesus … that He gives to us if we ask for it and if we do not forget these two pillars of our priestly or religious life: the sense of gratuity and not losing the memory of where we come from.

May God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you. And please, please, I ask you to pray for me, as I am very often tempted to forget the gratuity with which God chose me and of forgetting where I come from. Pray for me.” Praying Hands

The wounds of the Family Vatican City, 24 June 2015 (VIS) 

– Following his recent catechesis on external threats to the family, such as poverty and illness, during today’s general audience the Pope spoke about those wounds that are produced as a result of family cohabitation. “In all families there are moments of discord, but when harmful words, acts and indifference are ignored, they can be aggravated and transformed into arrogance, hostility and contempt, which can become deep lacerations, dividing husband and wife and inducing them to seek understanding, support and consolation elsewhere. But often, these forms of support do not think of the good of the family. … And frequently the effects of separation have an impact on the children.” “But do we still know what a wound to the soul is? Do we feel the weight of the mountain that crushes the soul of a child, in families in which the members treat each other badly and harm each other, to the point of breaking the bonds of conjugal trust?” asked the Pope. … “When adults lose their head … when the father and mother harm each other, the soul of the child suffers greatly, feeling a sense of desperation. And they are wounds that leave a lifelong mark.” “In the family, everything is interconnected: when its soul is wounded at some point, the infection spreads throughout. … Husband and wife are one flesh”, emphasised the Pope, “But their creatures are flesh of their flesh. If we think of the severity with which Jesus warns adults not to offend the little ones, we can also better understand his word on the grave responsibility of safeguarding the conjugal bond that is at the origin of the human family. When a man and a woman become one flesh, all the wounds and neglect of the father and mother are brought to bear on the living flesh of the children.” 

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