Let us meet at the feet of the Virgin Mother

Tomorrow Pope Francis will arrive in Portugal on pilgrimage to celebrate the 100th anniversary of  Apparitions of Our Lady to three young shepherd children. At the feet of our Mother, he will present “the brothers and sisters of the world redeemed by His blood without excluding anyone.” Let us join Pope Francis on pilgrimage and be united with him spiritually in prayer and in oneness of heart, pleading for the peace that only Jesus can give, making reparation for those who do not believe and for our own sins.

Video of the Day
Pope Francis’ Message to the People of Portugal in advance of his pilgrimage to Fatima

Quotes of the Day
from Pope Francis’ message to Portugal

 Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts.

Prayer illuminates one’s eyes to know how to see others as God sees them, to love them as he loves them.

I come to you in joy to share with you the Gospel of Hope and Peace.

Life is about interactions

Video of the Day
His Holiness Pope Francis’ TED Talk

Quotes from Pope Francis’ TED Talk,
in which he looks at the future through the lens of “you”

How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.

When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?

Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude.

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People’s paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves “respectable,” of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road.

We have so much to do, and we must do it together.

Every one of us is precious

we are precious, each and every one of us. Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.

The door of hope

To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.

Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life.

A single individual is enough for hope to exist. And that individual can be you.

When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.

The revolution of tenderness

God himself descended into Jesus to be on our level. …This is the path that Jesus himself took. He lowered himself, he lived his entire human existence practicing the real, concrete language of love.

Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.

Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.

There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.

Question of the Day

Why them, and not me?

To walk together

Praying With Pope Francis – January 2017

Monthly prayer intention: For Christian unity

That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.

Urgent prayer intention: For homeless people affected by the cold

That in these days of such great cold that we think of all the people living on the streets, affected by the cold and by the indifference of others. We pray for them and ask the Lord to warm the hearts of others to help them.

Advent: To receive the child Jesus

Praying With Pope Francis: Intentions for December 2016
for the Challenges that confront humanity (Universal)
and the mission of the Church (Evangelization)

Universal intention: End to child-soldiers
That the scandal of child‐soldiers may be eliminated the world over.

Evangelization intention: Europe
That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness,
and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.

Quote of the Day

The Child of Bethlehem is frail, like all newborn children. He cannot speak and yet he is the Word made flesh who came to transform the hearts and lives of all men and women. This Child, like every other child, is vulnerable; he needs to be accepted and protected. Today too, children need to be welcomed and defended, from the moment of their conception. — Pope Francis, homily, May 25, 2014

Questions of the Day

And we have to ask ourselves: Who are we, as we stand before the Child Jesus? Who are we, standing as we stand before today’s children? Are we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and care for him with the love of a father and a mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to eliminate him? Are we like the shepherds, who went in haste to kneel before him in worship and offer him their humble gifts? Or are we indifferent? Are we perhaps people who use fine and pious words, yet exploit pictures of poor children in order to make money? Are we ready to be there for children, to “waste time” with them? Are we ready to listen to them, to care for them, to pray for them and with them? Or do we ignore them because we are too caught up in our own affairs? — Pope Francis, homily, May 25, 2014

 

Respect truth & promote the good news

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for October

Universal Intention – Journalists

How can media be put to the service of the culture of encounter?

By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating information. They should strive to respect, with equal care, the nature of the facts and the limits of critical judgment concerning individuals. They should not stoop to defamation. — Catechism of the Catholic Church #2497

Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider “thought crimes.” — CCC #2499

Evangelization Intention – World Mission Day

 Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel. — Evangelii Gaudium 20

We adore, we proclaim, we await

Prayer for Peace of His Holiness Pope Francis
delivered at the Catholic Chaldean Church of Saint Simon Bar Sabbae, 30 Sep 2016

Lord Jesus,
we adore your cross
which frees us from sin, the origin of every division and evil;
we proclaim your resurrection,
which ransoms man from the slavery of failure and death;
we await your coming in glory,
which will bring to fulfilment your kingdom of justice, joy and peace.

Lord Jesus,
by your glorious passion,
conquer the hardness of our hearts, imprisoned by hatred and selfishness;
by the power of your resurrection,
save the victims of injustice and maltreatment from their suffering;
by the fidelity of your coming,
confound the culture of death and make the triumph of life shine forth.

Lord Jesus,
unite to your cross the sufferings of the many innocent victims:
the children, the elderly, and the persecuted Christians;
envelop in paschal light those who are deeply wounded:
abused persons, deprived of freedom and dignity;
let those who live in uncertainty experience the enduring constancy of your kingdom: the exiles, refugees, and those who have lost the joy of living.

Lord Jesus,
cast forth the shadow of your cross over peoples at war;
may they learn the way of reconciliation, dialogue and forgiveness;
let the peoples so wearied by bombing experience the joy of your resurrection:
raise up Iraq and Syria from devastation;
reunite your dispersed children under your gentle kingship:
sustain Christians in the Diaspora and grant them the unity of faith and love.

O Virgin Mary, Queen of peace,
you who stood at the foot of the cross,
obtain from your Son pardon for our sins;
you who never doubted the victory of his resurrection,
sustain our faith and our hope;
you who are enthroned as Queen in glory,
teach us the royal road of service and the glory of love.

Amen.

Wrap us in your divine mercy, O God

Prayer for Peace and Protection From Violence and Terrorism

O almighty and merciful God, Lord of the universe and of history. All that You have created is good and your compassion for the mistakes of mankind knows no limits.

We come to You today to ask You to keep in peace the world and its people, to keep far away from it the devastating wave of terrorism, to restore friendship and instill in the hearts of your creatures the gift of trust and of readiness to forgive.

O Giver of life, we pray to You also for all those who have died as victims of brutal terrorist attacks. Grant them their eternal reward. May they intercede for the world that is torn apart by conflicts and disagreements.

O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to You for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence: children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with Your strength and, at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.

Holy Spirit Consoler, visit the families of the victims of terrorism, families that suffer through no fault of their own. Wrap them in the mantle of Your divine mercy. Make them find again in You and in themselves the strength and courage to continue to be brothers and sisters for others, above all for immigrants, giving witness to Your love by their lives.

Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognize the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for the life and for the dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty.

O God, Eternal Father, in Your mercy hear our prayer which we raise up to You amidst the deafening noise and desperation of the world. We turn to You with great hope, full of trust in Your infinite Mercy. Made strong by the examples of the blessed martyrs of Perú, Zbigniew and Michael, who have rendered courageous testimony to the Gospel, to the point of offering their blood, we entrust ourselves to the intercession of Your Most Holy Mother. We ask for the gift of peace and of the elimination from our midst of the sore of terrorism.

Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

— Pope Francis’ prayer during visit to the Basilica of Saint Francis, Krakow, July 30, 2016 (Vatican)

The first terrorism: the god of money

Questions/Quote of the Day
Excerpt from Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference, returning to Italy from Poland

Antoine Marie Izoard of i.Media: “Catholics are a bit in shock, and not only in France, after the barbarous assassination of Fr. Jacques Hamel – as you know well – in his church while celebrating the Holy Mass. Four days ago you here told us that all religions want peace. But this holy, 86-year-old priest was clearly killed in the name of Islam. So Holy Father, I have two brief questions: why do you, when you speak of these violent events, always speak of terrorists, but never of Islam, never use the word Islam? And then, aside from prayer and dialogue, which are obviously essential, what concrete initiatives can you advise or suggest in order to counteract Islamic violence? Thank you, Holiness.”

Pope Francis:“I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy… this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence . . . and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there’s everything. There are violent persons of this religion… this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language — the Apostle James says this, not me — and even with a knife, no?

I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true. I had a long conversation with the imam, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University, and I know how they think . . . They seek peace, encounter . . . The nuncio to an African country told me that the capital where he is there is a trail of people, always full, at the Jubilee Holy Door. And some approach the confessionals — Catholics — others to the benches to pray, but the majority go forward, to pray at the altar of Our Lady… these are Muslims, who want to make the Jubilee. They are brothers, they live…

When I was in Central Africa, I went to them, and even the imam came up on the Popemobile… We can coexist well… But there are fundamentalist groups, and even I ask… there is a question… How many young people, how many young people of our Europe, whom we have left empty of ideals, who do not have work… they take drugs, alcohol, or go there to enlist in fundamentalist groups. One can say that the so-called ISIS, but it is an Islamic State which presents itself as violent . . . because when they show us their identity cards, they show us how on the Libyan coast how they slit the Egyptians’ throats or other things… But this is a fundamentalist group which is called ISIS… but you cannot say, I do not believe, that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist.”

Izoard: “Your concrete initiatives to counteract terrorism, violence?”

Pope Francis: “Terrorism is everywhere. You think of the tribal terrorism of some African countries. It is terrorism and also . . . But I don’t know if I say it because it is a little dangerous… Terrorism grows when there are no other options, and when the center of the global economy is the god of money and not the person — men and women — this is already the first terrorism! You have cast out the wonder of creation — man and woman — and you have put money in its place. This is a basic terrorism against all of humanity! Think about it!”

Responses to Pope Francis’ remarks and other thoughts on Islam and violent jihad

As you did to the least, you did to me

Pope Francis at World Youth Day Krakow
Stations of the Cross – Friday, July 29, 2016

“I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

These words of Jesus answer the question that arises so often in our minds and hearts: Where is God?

  • Where is God if evil is present in our world? If there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles, and refugees?
  • Where is God when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism, and war?
  • Where is God when cruel diseases break the bonds of life and affection, or when children are exploited and demeaned, and they, too, suffer from grave illness?
  • Where is God amid the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit?

These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer.

We can only look to Jesus, and ask him. And Jesus’ answer is this: God is in them. Jesus is in them. He suffers in them, and deeply identifies with each of them. He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, one body.

We are called to serve the crucified Jesus in all those who are marginalized.

Unless those who call themselves Christians live to serve, their lives serve no good purpose. By their lives, they deny Jesus Christ.

The way of the cross is the way of fidelity in following Jesus to the end in the often dramatic situations of everyday life. It is a way that fears no lack of success, ostracism, or solitude, because it fills our hearts with the fullness of Jesus. The way of the cross is the way of God’s own life, his style, which Jesus brings even to the pathways of a society at times divided, unjust, and corrupt. — Pope Francis

— Pope Francis, excerpt from World Youth Day remarks after Stations of the Cross

Works of peace follow prayer

Peace in Syria is possible! — Pope Francis

Pope Francis asks all of us to live the Holy Year of Mercy enthusiastically to overcome indifference, and proclaim with strength that peace in Syria is possible. How? We must “embody the Word of God.”

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Works of peace then follow prayer. — Pope Francis

Question of the Day

Where does your daily prayer and scripture meditation lead you?