My dear young friends, I want to invite you to “dare to love”. Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful; a love that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death forever through love (cf. Rev. 5:13).
Pope Benedict XVI, World Youth Day 2007
Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with (his people). Christ is alive in his Church. “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching – in all that it does.
St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By
“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favour, you shall reach the goal.”
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church
On Mothering Sunday…
- we give thanks for Mary, our Mother, Virgin & Queen – and ask her to pray for us and for our families;
- we pray for our Mother, the Church – that she will be holy and draw many to Jesus;
- we pray for our mothers, living or departed – and give thanks for their generosity in bringing us to life;
- we pray for all pregnant women – that the Lord will bless them and the children that they carry.
“God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy”. (Misericordiae vultus, 15)
Pope Francis, Lent Message 2016
“Do not be afraid of Confession! When one … finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession! I would like to ask you – but don’t say it aloud, everyone respond in their heart: when was the last time you made your Confession? Everyone think about it … Two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? Everyone count, everyone say ‘when was the last time I went to Confession?’ And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is more benevolent than priests, Jesus receives you, he receives you with so much love. Be courageous and go to Confession!”. I am telling you: each time we go to Confession, God embraces us. God rejoices! Let us go forward on this road. May God bless you.”(St Peter’s Rome, February 2014)
“Today we, like Mary and Simeon, want to take Jesus into our arms, to bring him to his people. Surely we will be able to do so if we enter into the mystery in which Jesus himself is our guide. Let us bring others to Jesus, but let us also allow ourselves to be led by him. This is what we should be: guides who themselves are guided. May the Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Mother, Saint Joseph and Saints Simeon and Anna, grant to all of us what we sought in today’s opening prayer: to “be presented [to him] fully renewed in spirit”.”
(Homily, St Peter’s, Rome, 2nd February 2015)
“Love gives rise to the desire for unity, even in those who have never been aware of the need for it. Love builds communion between individuals and between communities. If we love one another, we strive to deepen our communion and make it perfect. Love is given to God as the perfect source of communion—the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit—that we may draw from that source the strength to build communion between individuals and communities, or to re-establish it between Christians still divided. Love is the great undercurrent which gives life and adds vigour to the movement towards unity.”
(18th – 25th January is the
annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity)
St Basil the Great (329 – 379): “The bread that you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your cupboard belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274): “To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them.”
St Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380): “If you are what you should be, you’ll set the whole world ablaze.”
St Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556): “It is not the soul alone that should be healthy; if the mind is healthy in a healthy body, all will be healthy and much better prepared to give God greater service.”
St Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897): “Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labours.”
“Dear brothers and sisters!
Jesus Christ is the blessing for every man and woman, and for all of humanity. The Church, in giving us Jesus, offers us the fullness of the Lord’s blessing. This is precisely the mission of the people of God: to spread to all peoples God’s blessing made flesh in Jesus Christ. And Mary, the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus, the first and most perfect believer, the model of the pilgrim Church, is the one who opens the way to the Church’s motherhood and constantly sustains her maternal mission to all mankind. Mary’s tactful maternal witness has accompanied the Church from the beginning. She, the Mother of God, is also the Mother of the Church, and through the Church, the mother of all men and women, and of every people […] May this gentle and loving Mother obtain for us the Lord’s blessing upon the entire human family.”
(Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, January 1st, 2016)
“Let us pause before the Christ Child, let us pause in silence. Let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praises of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable. Let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us, he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness.”
(Edited from Midnight Mass Homily, 2013, St Peter’s, Rome)