Vatican Radio REPORT/SHARE - On Saturday evening Pope Francis was scheduled to visit the papal basilica of Saint Mary Major where he led the recitation of the Rosary. This evening’s prayer at is in observance of May which is traditionally celebrated as the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The visit was scheduled as part of the Year of Faith appointments set by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. This will be Pope Francis’ second visit to the basilica, the first being the day after his election to the papacy. The 4th century Basilica of Saint Mary Major is one of the four Major Basilicas of Rome, and the oldest church in the West to be dedicated to Mary the mother of God.
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS - LET US ALWAYS REMAIN MEEK AND HUMBLE
(Vatican Radio) “Let us always remain meek and humble, that we might defeat the empty promises and the hatred of the world.” This was the message of Pope Francis on Saturday morning during the homily at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Humility and meekness are the weapons we have to defend ourselves from the hatred of the world. This was the focus of Pope Francis during his homily, which centered on the struggle between the love of Christ and the hatred of the prince of this world. The Lord, he said, tells us to be not afraid when the world hates us as it hated Him:
“The way of the Christians is the way of Jesus,” he said. “If we want to be followers of Jesus, there is no other way: none other than that, which He indicated to us - and one of the consequences of this is hatred – it is the hatred of the world, and also the prince of this world. The world would love that which belongs to it. [But Jesus tells us], ‘I have chosen you, from the world’: it was precisely He, who rescued us from the world, who chose us - pure grace! With His death, His resurrection, He redeemed us from the power of the world, from the power of the devil, from the power of the prince of this world. The origin of the hate [we experience], then is this: that we are saved. It is that prince who does not want that we should have been saved, who hates.”
Here then is the reason that the hatred and persecution continue from the early days of the Church even unto the present day. There are, “Many persecuted Christian communities in the world,” said Pope Francis, noting with bitterness, “indeed there are more persecuted communities in this time than in the early days: today, right now, in this day and in this hour.” Asking himself why this is the case, the Pope said, “Because the spirit of the world hates.” From this comes a perennially valid admonishment:
"There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear! Today, dialogue is necessary among us humans, it is necessary for peace. Dialogue is a habit, it is an attitude that we must have among us to feel and understand each other…and that [dialogue] must be maintained forever. Dialogue comes from charity, from love. But with that prince, it is impossible to dialogue: one can only respond with the Word of God who defends us, for the world hates us – and just as he did with Jesus, so will he do with us. ‘Only look,’ he will say, ‘just do this one small little scam…it is a small matter, nothing really – and so he begins to lead us on a road that is slightly off. This is a pious lie: ‘Do it, do it, do it: there is no problem,' and it begins little by little, always, no? Then [he says]: ‘But ... you're good, you're a good person: You [get away with] it.’ It is flattering – and he softens us by flattery: and then, we fall into the trap.”
Pope Francis went on to say that the Lord asks us to remain sheep, because if one decides to quit the fold, then he does not have, “a shepherd to defend him and he falls into the clutches of these wolves.”
“You may ask the question,” continued Pope Francis, ‘Father, what is the weapon to defend against these seductions, from these blandishments, these enticements that the prince of this world offers?’. The weapon is the same weapon of Jesus, the Word of God - not dialogue - but always the Word of God, and then humility and meekness. We think of Jesus, when they give that slap: what humility! What meekness! He could have insulted him, no? One question, meek and humble. We think of Jesus in His Passion. His Prophet says: ‘As a sheep going to the slaughter.’ He does not cry out, not at all: humility. Humility and meekness. These are the weapons that the prince and spirit of this world does not tolerate, for his proposals are proposals for worldly power, proposals of vanity, proposals for ill-gotten riches.”
“Today,” continued Pope Francis, “Jesus reminds us of this hatred that the world has against us, against the followers of Jesus.” The world hates us, he repeated, “because He has saved us, redeemed us.” Recalling the “weapons to defend ourselves” he added that we must remain sheep, “because sheep are meek and humble, [and when we are sheep] we have a shepherd.” The Pope concluded with an invocation to the Virgin Mary, asking her, “to help us become meek and humble in the way of Jesus.”
The Mass on Saturday morning was concelebrated by the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, with a contingent of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in attendance.
Pope Francis offered the soldiers a greeting of affection and gratitude. "The Church,” he said, “loves you so much,” and, “so do I.”
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