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Catechesis with Francis

The words of Pope Francis, given at his weekly general audiences.

Elected during the Year of Faith, Pope Francis took over from where Pope Benedict XVI had stopped on the catecheses on faith. Papa Francisco has then given series of catechesis on the Seven Sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Church, the family, the Jubilee of Mercy, Christian hope, Holy Mass, the Sacraments of Baptism & Confirmation, the Commandments and is currently speaking about the Our Father.

For the gift of their music, many thanks to:
Ooberfuse - 'Credo' for the catecheses in the Year of Faith
Fr Rob Galea - 'To the Ends of the Earth' (℗ 2011 Robert Galea, with permission) for the catecheses on the Saints
Fr Stan Fortuna CFR - 'Lord have Mercy' for the catecheses in the Jubilee of Mercy
Fr Tansi CFR - 'Rest' for the catecheses on Hope

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He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead      

Francis: "Firstly let us remember that, with the Ascension, the Son of God brought to the Father our humanity assumed by Him and wants to attract everyone to himself, to call the whole world to be welcomed into God's open arms, so that at the end of history the whole of reality may be consigned to the Father. There is, however, this “immediate time” between the first coming of Christ and the last, which is precisely the time that we are living. In this context of the “immediate time" is placed the parable of the ten virgins (cf Mt 25, 1-13). It is about ten girls who are awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom, but he is late and they fall asleep. At the sudden announcement that the Bridegroom is arriving, they all prepare to welcome him, but while five of them, who are wise, have oil to fuel their own lamps, the others, who are foolish, are there with their lamps extinguished because they have no oil; and while they are searching for some the Bridegroom arrives and the foolish virgins find the door leading to the nuptial feast closed. They knock insistently, but it is now too late, the Bridegroom responds: I do not know you. The Bridegroom is the Lord, and the time of waiting for his arrival is the time that He gives to us, to all of us, with mercy and patience, before his final coming; it is a time of vigilance; time in which we must keep alight the lamps of faith, hope and charity, in which to keep our hearts open to goodness, beauty and truth; time to live according to God, because we do not know either the day or the hour of Christ’s return. What is asked of us is to be prepared for the encounter — prepared for an encounter, for a beautiful encounter, the encounter with Jesus -, which means knowing how to see the signs of his presence, keeping our faith alive, with prayer, with the Sacraments, being vigilant so as not to fall asleep, so as not to forget about God. The life of Christians asleep is a sad life, it is not a happy life. The Christian must be happy, the joy of Jesus. Let us not fall asleep!"

The Third Day He Rose again in accordance with the Scriptures      

Francis: "First of all we note that the first witnesses of this event were women. At dawn, they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, and find the first sign: the empty tomb (cf Mk 16, 1). Then follows the encounter with a Messenger of God who announces: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, is not here, he is risen" (cf v 5-6). The women are driven by love and know how to welcome this announcement with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves, they transmit it. The joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills the heart, cannot be contained. This should also happen in our life. Let us feel the joy of being Christians! We believe in a Risen One who has conquered evil and death! Let us have the courage to "go out" to bring this joy and this light to all the places of our life! The Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty; it is the most precious treasure! How can we not share this treasure, this certainty with others? It is not only for us, it is to be transmitted, to be given to others, to be shared with others. This is precisely our testimony."

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father      

Francis: "At the end of his Gospel, St Luke narrates the event of the Ascension in a very synthetic way. Jesus led the disciples “out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. They prostrated themselves before him and then went back to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the Temple praising God” (Lk 24, 50-53); thus states St Luke. I would like to remark on two elements of the story. First, during the Ascension Jesus accomplishes the priestly gesture of blessing and the disciples certainly expressed their faith by prostration, they knelt down with bowed heads. This is a first important point: Jesus is the unique and eternal Priest who with his passion has traversed death and the sepulchre and has risen and ascended into Heaven; He is beside God the Father, where he intercedes for ever in our favour (cf Heb 9, 24). As St John affirms in his First Letter, He is our advocate: how beautiful it is to hear this! When someone is summoned by a judge or goes into a case, the first thing he does is to seek an advocate to defend him. We have one who always defends us, who defends us from the snares of the devil, who defends us from ourselves, from our sins! Dearest brothers and sisters, we have this Advocate: let us not be afraid to go to Him to ask forgiveness, to ask for blessing, to ask for mercy! He always forgives us, he is our advocate: he always defends us! Do not forget this! Jesus's Ascension into heaven makes us know this very consoling reality for our pathway: in Christ, true God and true man, our humanity has been brought to God; He has opened the passage for us; He is like a roped leader when one climbs a mountain, who has reached the summit and attracts us up to Him in leading us to God. If we entrust our life to Him, if we let ourselves be guided by Him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our saviour, our advocate."

Mary Magdalen, Apostle of Hope      

Francis: "It is as she is stooping near the tomb, her eyes full of tears, that God surprises her in the most unexpected way. John the Evangelist underlines how persistent her blindness is: she does not notice the presence of the two angels who question her, and she does not even become suspicious seeing the man behind her, whom she thinks is the custodian of the garden. And instead she discovers the most staggering event in human history when finally she is called by her name: “Mary!” (v 16).

How beautiful it is to think that the first apparition of the Risen Lord — according to the Gospels — took place in such a personal way! There is someone who knows us, who sees our suffering and disappointment, and who is moved by us, and calls us by our name. It is a law that we find engraved in many pages of the Gospel. Around Jesus there are many people who are seeking God; but the most prodigious reality is that, long before that, it is first of all God who is concerned for our life, who wants to raise it up, and to do this He calls us by name, recognizing the personal face of each of us. Each man is a story of love that God writes on this earth. Each one of us is a story of God's love. God calls each of us by our own name: He knows us by name, He looks at us, He awaits us, He forgives us, He is patient with us. Is this true or not true? Each of us has this experience.

And Jesus calls her “Mary!”: the revolution of her life, the revolution destined to transform the existence of every man and woman, begins with a name which resounds in the garden of the empty sepulchre. The Gospels describe for us Mary’s happiness: the resurrection of Jesus is not a joy given with a dropper, but a waterfall that cascades over the whole of life. Christian existence is not woven with soft happiness, but with waves that sweep over everything. Try to think, you as well, in this instant, with the baggage of disappointments and failures that each of us bear in our hearts, that there is a God close to us who calls us by name and tells us: ‘Arise, stop weeping, because I have come to liberate you!” This is beautiful."

Hope, the Strength of the Martyrs      

Papa Francisco: "This fidelity to the style of Jesus — which is a style of hope — all the way to death, was to be called a very beautiful name by the first Christians: “martyrdom”, which means “testimony”. There were so many other possibilities offered by the vocabulary: it could have been called heroism, abnegation, self-sacrifice. And instead the early Christians called it a name that is scented with discipleship. The martyrs do not live for themselves, they do not fight so as to assert their own ideas, and they accept to have to die solely through fidelity to the Gospel. Martyrdom is not even the supreme ideal of Christian life, because above it there is charity, that is, the love towards God and towards neighbour. The Apostle Paul says it so well in the hymn to charity: “If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, it serves me nothing” (1 Cor 13, 3). The idea that suicide bombers can be called “martyrs” is repugnant to Christians: there is nothing in their end that can come close to the attitude of the children of God.

Sometimes, in reading the stories of so many martyrs of yesterday and today — who are more numerous than the martyrs of the first times — we are amazed in front of the strength with which they have faced the test. This strength is sign of the great hope which animated them: the certain hope that nothing and no one could separate them from the love of God given to us in Jesus Christ (cf Rom 8, 38-39).

May God always give us the strength to be his witnesses. May He give us the gift to live Christian hope above all in the hidden martyrdom of doing well and with love
our duties of each day. Thank you."

Click here for more catecheses on Christian hope.

The Gospel of Mercy      

Papa Francisco: "We can contemplate even more clearly the great mystery of this love by turning our gaze to Jesus crucified. As He prepares to die innocent for us sinners, He supplicates the Father: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23, 34). It is on the cross that Jesus presents to the mercy of the Father the sin of the world: the sin of all, my sins, your sins, everyone’s sins. And there, on the cross, He presents them to the Father. And with the sin of the world all our sins are erased. Nothing and no one remains excluded from this sacrificial prayer of Jesus. This means that we must not be afraid to recognise ourselves and confess ourselves sinners. How many times do we say: “But, this one is a sinner, he has done that and that...”, and we judge others. And you? Each of us should ask ourselves: “Yes, that one is a sinner. And me?” We are all sinners, but we are all forgiven: we all have the possibility of receiving this forgiveness which is the mercy of God. We must not be afraid, therefore, to recognise ourselves sinners, to confess ourselves sinners, as every sin has been borne by the Son on the Cross. And when we confess it, repenting, entrusting ourselves to Him, we are certain of being forgiven. The Sacrament of Reconciliation renders actual for each one of us the strength of forgiveness that flows from the Cross and renews in our life the grace of the mercy that Jesus has acquired for us! We must not be afraid of our miseries: each of us has our own. The power of the love of the Crucified One does not know obstacles and never runs out. And this mercy erases our miseries." (6.04.16)

Click here for more catecheses during the Jubilee of Mercy.

Saint Joseph, Educator      

Francis: "Today I would like to take up the theme of guardian from a particular perspective: the educational perspective. We look to Joseph as the model of educators, who watches over and accompanies Jesus on his pathway of growth “in wisdom, age and grace”, as the Gospel says. He was not the father of Jesus: the father of Jesus was God, but he was made the papa of Jesus, he was made a father to Jesus so as to make him grow. And how did he make him grow? In wisdom, age and grace. .. Dear brothers and sisters, Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his guardianship of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is the model for every educator, in particular for every father. St Joseph is the model of the educator and the papa, the father. Thus I entrust to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society." (19.03.2014)

The Communion of Saints     

Francis: ".. And we come to another aspect: the communion of saints goes beyond earthly life, goes beyond death and lasts for ever. This union among us goes beyond the here and now and continues in the next life; it is a spiritual union that is born of Baptism and is not broken by death, but, thanks to the Risen Christ, is destined to find its fullness in eternal life. There is a deep and indissoluble bond between all those who are still pilgrims in this world — between us — and those who have crossed the threshold of death to enter into eternity. All the baptised here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the blessed who are already in Paradise form one big Family. This communion between earth and heaven is realised especially in the prayer of intercession. Dear friends, we have this beauty! This is a reality of ours, of everyone's, that makes us brothers, that accompanies us on the pathway of life and is found by us once again in heaven. Let us go forward on this pathway with trust, with joy. A Christian must be joyful, with the joy of having so many baptised brothers and sisters who walk with him; supported by the help of brothers and sisters who are on the same road towards heaven; and also with the help of brothers and sisters who are in heaven and pray to Jesus for us. Let us go forward on this road with joy!" (30.11.13)

Mary, Image and Model of the Church      

Francis: ".. Mary model of union with Christ. The life of the Holy Virgin was the life of a woman of her people: Mary prayed, Mary worked, went to the synagogue... But every action was always accomplished in perfect union with Jesus. This union reaches its culmination on Calvary: here Mary is united to the Son in the martyrdom of the heart and in the offering of the life to the Father for the salvation of humanity. Our Lady made her own the pain of the Son and accepted with Him the will of the Father, in this obedience that bears fruit, that gives true victory over evil and over death. This reality which Mary teaches us is very beautiful: to be always united to Jesus. We can ask ourselves: do we remember Jesus only when something goes wrong and we are in need, or is ours a constant relationship, a deep friendship, even when it means following him on the way of the Cross? Let us ask the Lord to grant us his grace, his strength, so that in our lives and in the life of every ecclesial community may be reflected the model of Mary, Mother of the Church. So be it!" (23.11.13)