A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Francis Speaks

On where the Pope’s energy comes from

It’s a gift of the Lord. When I am visiting a country I forget everything, but not because I want to forget; it comes spontaneously to me to forget, and I’m fully there. This gives me perseverance. I don’t get tired on the trips -- I get tired afterwards! Where do I get the strength from? I believe the Lord gives it to me. There’s no explanation. I pray to the Lord to be faithful, to serve him in this work of travelling, that the trips not be tourism is what I ask. And the rest is grace that comes from him. I can’t think of anything else to say about it. But then ... I don’t do so much work!

On Jean Vanier

A week ago I called him on the telephone; he listened to me but he could hardly speak. I would like to express my gratitude for this witness: a man who was able to read the Christian fruitfulness in the mystery of death, of the cross, of sickness, in the mystery of those who are held in contempt and rejected in the world. He worked, not only for the least but also for those that risk being condemned to death before being born. His life was spent thus. Simply thank you to him and thank you to God for having given us this man with his great witness.

Reflecting on his trip Macedonia

First, an experience with the poor today in Macedonia, at Mother Teresa’s Memorial. There were so many poor people, but it was necessary to see the meekness of those sisters: they took care of the poor without paternalism, as if they were their own children. They showed meekness and the capacity to embrace the poor. The tenderness of these sisters!

Nowadays we habitually insult one another: one politician insults another, a neighbour insults another, in families they also insult one another. I don’t dare say there is a culture of insult, but insult is a handy weapon, as is speaking badly of others, being guilty of calumny and detraction. And to see these sisters who took care of every person as if he were Jesus, affected me deeply. A good young person approached me and the Superior said to me, “This one is good”, and she embraced him and said in front of him, “Pray for him because he drinks too much”, but with the tenderness of a mother, and this was an image for me of the Church as Mother. To see the maternity of the Church is one of the most beautiful things. Today I sensed the Church as Mother, and I thank the Macedonians for having this treasure in the city of Skopje.

Bulgaria

Another deep experience for me was to do with the First Communions in Bulgaria. It’s true, I was emotional because my memory went to 8 October 1944, to my First Communion, when we came in singing “O holy altar, guarded by the Angels”, that old hymn that no doubt some of you remember. I saw those children opening themselves to life with a sacramental decision. The Church guards children because they are small. They must grow, they are a promise, and I felt this very intensely. I felt that at that moment those 245 children were the future of the Church, they were the future of Bulgaria.

These were two things that I lived with much intensity. I wanted to communicate this to you. And thank you so much! Pray for me.

Source: Zenit, 9 May 2019

From the press conference during the return flight from Bulgaria and North Macedonia

To the children making their First Communion

Dear boys and girls, now you will receive Jesus. Don’t think about anything else. Come to the altar with silence in your hearts. Think about how Jesus comes to your heart, and how he will do the same again and again. Think of your parents, your catechists, your grandparents, your friends. And if you’ve had a fight with someone, forgive them from the heart. Draw close to Jesus.

I hope that today is the beginning of many Communions, so that your hearts are always like they are today: celebrating, full of joy, and above all, full of gratitude.   

Source: Aleteia, 6 May 2019


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