Month: December 2015

Remembering

This: that there was once a man, a woman and a small vulnerable child who went into exile in Egypt, Africa. The Holy Family were refugees from a storm of terror.

 

From the Christmas homily of Pope Francis:

 

This Child teaches us what is truly essential in our lives. He was born into the poverty of this world; there was no room in the inn for him and his family. He found shelter and support in a stable and was laid in a manger for animals. And yet, from this nothingness, the light of God’s glory shines forth. From now on, the way of authentic freedom and perennial redemption is open to every man and woman who is simple of heart. This Child, whose face radiates the goodness, mercy and love of God the Father, trains us, his disciples, as Saint Paul says, “to reject godless ways” and the richness of the world, in order to live “temperately, justly and devoutly” (Tit 2:12).

 

It is what the West chooses not to remember or hear that offers a path through the narrow gate of redemption.

 

mother and child

Advent and Mary’s maternal tenderness

Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Advent and the season of waiting for a Saviour’s birth, beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. While elsewhere wars rage and the voices raised sound shrill or demented.

 

From the Catholic Herald‘s account:

Concluding the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the opening of the Holy Door, Pope Francis prayed that through Mary, Christians may recognise the victory of divine mercy over sin.

Amid tight security, the Pope made his way to the bustling city centre on Tuesday afternoon to venerate a statue of the Immaculate Conception at the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome.

Reciting a prayer composed especially for the occasion, the Pope said he came not only in the name of families, young people and the elderly, but for the sick, the imprisoned and “those who arrived from faraway lands in search of peace and work.”

The Pope placed them under the maternal care of the “Mother of Mercy” whose “heart is full of tenderness toward all your children.”

“Gazing toward you, our Immaculate Mother, we recognise the victory of divine mercy over sin and over all its consequences,” he said. “May it reignite in us the hope of a better life, free from slavery, resentments and fear.”

Recalling the day’s opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis prayed that Christians in Rome may hear Mary’s call toward “that Holy Door which represents Christ.”

Mary, he said, calls everyone to “enter and receive the gift of mercy” and to “not be afraid and ashamed.”

 

For listening, the old Hymn of Lourdes:

Advent in Africa

The Pope celebrating the beginning of Advent at Bangui’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the Central African Republic.

 

Through you, I would greet all the people of the Central African Republic: the sick, the elderly, those who have experienced life’s hurts. Some of them are perhaps despairing and listless, asking only for alms, the alms of bread, the alms of justice, the alms of attention and goodness.

But like the Apostles Peter and John on their way to the Temple, who had neither gold nor silver to give to the paralytic in need, I have come to offer God’s strength and power; for these bring us healing, set us on our feet and enable us to embark on a new life, to “go across to the other side” (cf. Lk 8:22).

 

Such joy and  affection everywhere for Pope Francis as he travelled around Africa. The image was taken in the Kangemi slums near Naiobi in Kenya.

 

Francis in Kangemi