13 December 2008

In the face of death every reason for human pride vanishes and instead what seriously matters comes to the fore. Everything comes to an end, every one of us is passing through this world. Only God has life in himself; he is life. Ours is a life of participation, given ab alio, thus a man can gain eternal life only because of the particular relationship that the Creator himself has established with him.

- Homily, 3 November 2008
In reality, true life, eternal life already begins in this world, although within the precariousness of human history; eternal life begins in the measure to which we open ourselves to the mystery of God and welcome it in our midst.

- Homily, 3 November 2008
The premature death of a person dear to us becomes an invitation not to persist in living in a mediocre way, but to strain towards the fullness of life as soon as possible.

- Homily, 3 November 2008

09 December 2008

The Crucified One is wisdom, for he truly shows who God is, that is, a force of love which went even as far as the Cross to save men and women. God uses ways and means that seem to us at first sight to be merely weakness. The Crucified One reveals on the one hand man's frailty and on the other, the true power of God, that is the free gift of love: this totally gratuitous love is true wisdom.

- Audience Address, 29 October 2009
The "stumbling block" and "folly" of the Cross lie in the very fact that where there seems to be nothing but failure, sorrow and defeat, there is the full power of God's boundless love, for the Cross is an expression of love and love is the true power that is revealed precisely in this seeming weakness.

- Audience Address, 29 October 2009

21 November 2008

We do not of course desire the end of the world. Nevertheless, we do want this unjust world to end. We also want the world to be fundamentally changed, we want the beginning of the civilization of love, the arrival of a world of justice and peace, without violence, without hunger. We want all this, yet how can it happen without Christ's presence? Without Christ's presence there will never be a truly just and renewed world.

- General Audience, 12 November 2008
Paul has no fear of death; indeed, on the contrary, death indicates being totally with Christ. Yet Paul also shares in the sentiments of Christ who did not live for himself but for us.

- General Audience, 12 November 2008
[T]he expectation of Jesus' parusia does not dispense us from working in this world but, on the contrary, creates responsibility to the divine Judge for our actions in this world. For this very reason our responsibility for working in and for this world increases.

- General Audience, 12 November 2008
Our future is "to be with the Lord."

- General Audience, 12 November 2008

13 November 2008

The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him.

- General Audience, 5 November 2008
The novelty of the Resurrection, consists in the fact that Jesus, raised from the lowliness of his earthly existence, is constituted Son of God "in power."

- General Audience, 5 November 2008
The theologian, the preacher, does not create new visions of the world and of life, but he is at the service of truth handed down, at the service of the real fact of Christ, of the Cross, and of the Resurrection. His task is to help us understand today the reality of "God with us" that lies behind the ancient words, and thus the reality of true life.

- General Audience, 5 November 2008
His Christology is never original at the expense of faithfulness to tradition.

- General Audience, 5 November 2008
The whole teaching of Paul the Apostle starts from, and arrives at, the mystery of him whom the Father raised from the dead.

- General Audience, 5 November 2008

07 November 2008

Love for the poor and divine liturgy go together; love for the poor is liturgy.

- General Audience, 1 October 2008
Christian freedom is never identified with libertinage or with the will to do as one pleases; it is actuated in conformity to Christ and hence in authentic service to the brethren and above all to the neediest.

- General Audience, 1 October 2008
In this is where it appears that the Bible is a book of a people and for a people; an inheritance, a testament handed over to readers so that they can put into practice in their own lives the history of salvation witnessed in the text. There is therefore a reciprocal relationship of vital belonging between the people and the Book: the Bible remains a living Book with the people which is its subject which reads it; the people cannot exist without the Book, because it is in it that they find their reason for living, their vocation and their identity. This mutual belonging between people and Holy Scripture is celebrated in every liturgical ceremony, which, thanks to the Holy Spirit, listens to Christ since it is He who speaks when the Scripture is read in the Church and welcomes the Covenant that God renews with his people.

- Homily, 27 October 2008
[A]nyone who believes they have understood the Scriptures, or at least a part of them, without undertaking to build, by means of their intelligence, the twofold love of God and neighbor, demonstrates that in reality they are still a long way from having grasped its deeper meaning.

- Homily, 27 October 2008
God is not only the object of love, commitment, will and feelings, but also the intellect, which should not be excluded from this. Our thinking must conform to God's thinking.

- Homily, 27 October 2008
If it is true that the Bible is also a literary work, even more, the great code of universal culture, it is also true that it should not be robbed of its divine element, but rather should be read in the same Spirit in which it was written. Scientific exegesis and lection divina are, therefore, both necessary and complementary for seeking, through the literal meaning, the spiritual one, which God wants to communicate to us today.

- Angelus Address, 26 October 2008

29 October 2008

The quest for the truth bears most fruit when it is sustained by love for the truth.

- Address, 16 October 2008
The Rosary is a school of contemplation and silence.

- Address, 19 October 2008
The Rosary is a spiritual "weapon" in the battle against evil, against all violence, for peace in hearts, in families, in society and in the world.

- Homily, 19 October 2008
The Lord's presence is a source of joy, for wherever he is, evil is overcome and life and peace triumph.

- Homily, 19 October 2008

20 October 2008

Every crisis, in fact - nature teaches us this - is a passage that leads to a new stage of life.

[T]each the faith of the Church in its integrity, with courage and the conviction of those who live by it and for it, never ceasing to proclaim the moral values of the Catholic Doctrine explicity, which refer to the family, sexuality and life, that are sometimes the subject of debate in the political and cultural context and in the means of social communication.
By its very nature, the Gospel urges people of faith to offer themselves in loving service to their brothers and sisters without distinction and without counting the cost (cf. Luke 10:25-37). Love is the outward manifestation of the faith that sustains the community of believers and empowers them to be signs of hope for the world.

27 September 2008

18 October 2008

Only Christ is the true hope of man; only entrusting the human heart to Him can it open up to love that overcomes hate.

- Homily, 9 October 2008
It is precisely this generous path that was taken by those who we are venerating today as Saints. In Baptism they received the wedding garment of divine grace, they kept it clean and purified it and made it radiant during their life through the Sacraments. They are now taking part in the wedding feast in Heaven. The banquet of the Eucharist is an anticipation of the final feast in Heaven, to which the Lord invites us every day and in which we must take part, clothed in the wedding garment of his grace. Should it happen that we soil or even tear this garment with sin, God's goodness does not reject or abandon us to our destiny but rather offers us, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the possibility of restoring the wedding garment to the pristine state required for the feast.

- Homily, 12 October 2008
This is what happened in the Paschal Mystery: The power of evil was defeated by the omnipotence of God's love.

- Homily, 12 October 2008
Only with the heart is one able to truly know a person.

- General Audience, 8 October 2008
Christianity is not a new philosophy or a new morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ.

- General Audience, 3 September 2008
In the ancient Church Baptism was also called "illumination", because this Sacrament gives light; it truly makes one see.

- General Audience, 3 September 2008
The average reader may be tempted to linger too long on certain details, such as the light in the sky, falling to the ground, the voice that called him, his new condition of blindness, his healing like scales falling from his eyes and the fast that he made. But all these details refer to the heart of the event: the Risen Christ appears as a brilliant light and speaks to Saul, transforms his thinking and his entire life. The dazzling radiance of the Risen Christ blinds him; thus what was his inner reality is also outwardly apparent, his blindness to the truth, to the light that is Christ. And then his definitive "yes" to Christ in Baptism restores his sight and makes him really see.

- General Audience, 3 September 2008

30 September 2008

The altar of the sacrifice becomes in a certain way the meeting point between Heaven and earth; the centre, we might say, of the One Church that is heavenly yet at the same time a pilgrim on this earth where, amidst the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, disciples of the Lord proclaim his Passion and his death until he comes in glory (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 8).
- Homily, 21 September 2008
Jesus makes himself truly present in the Eucharistic Mystery, which is renewed on every altar. His is a dynamic presence that takes hold of us to make us his, to liken us to him. He attracts us with the force of his love, bringing us out of ourselves to be united with him, making us one with him.

The Real Presence of Christ makes each one of us his "house" and all together we form his Church, the spiritual building of which St Peter speaks.
- Homily, 21 September 2008
Actually, being called is already the first reward: to be able to work in the Lord's vineyard, to put oneself at his service, to collaborate in his work, is in itself a priceless recompense that repays every effort. Yet only those who love the Lord and his Kingdom understand this: those who instead work only for the pay will never realize the value of this inestimable treasure.
- Angelus Address, 21 September 2008

22 September 2008

The family home is where children learn the essential values of responsibility and harmonious coexistence. It is here too that prejudices are either born or broken. Every parent threfore has the grave duty to instill in their cildren, through example, respect for the dignity that marks every person irrespective of ethnicity, religion or social grouping.

18 September 2008
When we contemplate the sacred host, his glorious transfigured and risen Body, we contemplate what we shall contemplate in eternity, where we shall discover that the whole world has been carried by its Creator during every second of its history. Each time we consume him, but also each time we contemplate him, we proclaim him until he comes again, “donec veniat”. That is why we receive him with infinite respect.

- Homily at Eucharistic Adoration, 15 September 2008
Let yourself be embraced by him! Gaze no longer upon your own wounds, gaze upon his. Do not look upon what still separates you from him and from others; look upon the infinite distance that he has abolished by taking your flesh, by mounting the Cross which men had prepared for him, and by letting himself be put to death so as to show you his love. In his wounds, he takes hold of you; in his wounds, he hides you. Do not refuse his Love!”

- Homily at Eucharistic Adoration, 15 September 2008
In order to heal us, he does not remain outside the suffering that is experienced; he eases it by coming to dwell within the one stricken by illness, to bear it and live it with him. Christ’s presence comes to break the isolation which pain induces. Man no longer bears his burden alone: as a suffering member of Christ, he is conformed to Christ in his self-offering to the Father, and he participates, in him, in the coming to birth of the new creation.
Without the Lord’s help, the yoke of sickness and suffering weighs down on us cruelly. By receiving the sacrament of the sick, we seek to carry no other yoke that that of Christ, strengthened through his promise to us that his yoke will be easy to carry and his burden light (cf. Mt 11:30).

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
For each individual, suffering is always something alien. It can never be tamed. That is why it is hard to bear, and harder still – as certain great witnesses of Christ’s holiness have done – to welcome it as a significant element in our vocation, or to accept, as Bernadette expressed it, to “suffer everything in silence in order to please Jesus”.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
Christ imparts his salvation by means of the sacraments, and especially in the case of those suffering from sickness or disability, by means of the grace of the sacrament of the sick.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
Mary shares, as if by anticipation, with us, her future children, the joy that dwells in her heart, so that it can become ours. Every time we recite the Magnificat, we become witnesses of her smile.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008

This smile of Mary is for all; but it is directed quite particularly to those who suffer, so that they can find comfort and solace therein. To seek Mary’s smile is not an act of devotional or outmoded sentimentality, but rather the proper expression of the living and profoundly human relationship which binds us to her whom Christ gave us as our Mother.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008

Mary loves each of her children, giving particular attention to those who, like her Son at the hour of his Passion, are prey to suffering; she loves them quite simply because they are her children, according to the will of Christ on the Cross.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
Today Mary dwells in the joy and the glory of the Resurrection. The tears shed at the foot of the Cross have been transformed into a smile which nothing can wipe away, even as her maternal compassion towards us remains unchanged.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
Cross is truly the place where God’s compassion for our world is perfectly manifested.

- Homily at Mass with the Sick, 15 September 2008
To live Christian love, means at the same time to introduce God's light into the world and to point out its true source.

- Homily at Torchlight Procession, 14 September 2008
Mary teaches us to pray, to make of our prayer an act of love for God and an act of fraternal charity.

- Homily at Torchlight Procession, 14 September 2008
Mary left death behind her; she is entirely re-clothed with life, the life of her Son, the risen Christ. She is thus the sign of the victory of love, of good and of God, giving our world the hope that it needs.

- Homily at Torchlight Procession, 14 September 2008
To allow oneself to become absorbed by activity runs the risk of depriving prayer of its specifically Christian character and its true efficacy.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008
Prayer is indispensable if we are to receive Christ's power.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008

This privilege concerns us too, for it discloses to us our own dignity as men and women, admittedly marked by sin, but saved in hope, a hope which allows us to face our daily life. This is the path which Mary opens up for man. To give oneself fully to God is to find the path of true freedom. For by turning towards God, man becomes himself. He rediscovers his original vocation as a person created in his image and likeness.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008

Let us turn our gaze towards Christ. It is he who will make us free to love as he loves us, and to build a reconciled world. For on this Cross, Jesus took upon himself the weight of all the sufferings and injustices of our humanity. He bore the humiliation and the discrimination, the torture suffered in many parts of the world by so many of our brothers and sisters for love of Christ.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008
More than a simple sign, it is an initiation into the mysteries of the faith that Bernadette receives from Mary. The sign of the Cross is a kind of synthesis of our faith, for it tells how much God loves us; it tells us that there is a love in this world that is stronger than death, stronger than our weaknesses and sins. The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008
By raising our eyes towards the Crucified one, we adore him who came to take upon himself the sin of the world and to give us eternal life. And the Church invites us proudly to lift up this glorious Cross so that the world can see the full extent of the love of the Crucified one for mankind, for every man and woman. She invites us to give thanks to God because from a tree which brought death, life has burst out anew. On this wood Jesus reveals to us his sovereign majesty, he reveals to us that he is exalted in glory. Yes, “Come, let us adore him!” In our midst is he who loved us even to giving his life for us, he who invites every human being to draw near to him with trust.

- Homily at Lourdes, 14 September 2008
The Holy Spirit has always cleansed what is soiled, watered what is arid, and straightened what is crooked.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
Man is always in need of liberation from his fears and his sins. Man must ceaselessly learn or relearn that God is not his enemy, but his infinitely good Creator. Man needs to know that his life has a meaning, and that he is awaited, at the conclusion of his earthly sojourn, so as to share for ever in Christ's glory in heaven.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
The globalized, multicultural and multireligious society in which we live is a God-given opportunity to proclaim Truth and practice Love so as to reach out to every human being without distinction, even beyond the limits of the visible Church.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
Even while living in a world which courts them and flatters their base instincts, and carrying, as they do, the heavy burdens handed down by history, the young retain a freshness of soul which has elicited my admiration.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
Everyone has a place in the Church. Every person, without exception, should be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and women and wishes none to be lost, entrusts us with this mission by appointing us shepherds of his sheep.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
It can never be said often enough that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, for it is at the service of the laity. Priests are gift from God for the Church.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
The Church - one, holy, catholic and apostolic - has given birth to you in Baptism.

- Address to the French Bishops, 14 September 2008
The Virgin Mary’s maternal love disarms all pride; it renders man capable of seeing himself as he is, and it inspires in him the desire to be converted so as to give glory to God.

Thus, Mary shows us the right way to come to the Lord. She teaches us to approach him in truth and simplicity. Thanks to her, we discover that the Christian faith is not a burden: it is like a wing which enables us to fly higher, so as to take refuge in God’s embrace.
The life and faith of believers make it clear that the grace of the Immaculate Conception given to Mary is not merely a personal grace, but a grace for all, a grace given to the entire people of God. In Mary, the Church can already contemplate what she is called to become. Every believer can contemplate, here and now, the perfect fulfilment of his or her own vocation.

- Angelus Address, 14 September 2008
Every day, praying the Angelus gives us the opportunity to meditate for a few moments, in the midst of all our activities, on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. At noon, when the first hours of the day are already beginning to weigh us down with fatigue, our availability and our generosity are renewed by the contemplation of Mary’s “yes”.
- Angelus Address, 14 September 2008
The Holy Spirit enables you to approach the Mystery of God; he makes you understand who God is. He invites you to see in your neighbours the brothers and sisters whom God has given you, in order to live with them in human and spiritual fellowship – in other words, to live within the Church. By revealing who the crucified and risen Lord is for us, he impels you to bear witness to Christ.

- Address to French Youth, 13 September 2008
All of you desire to love and to be loved! It is to God that you must turn, if you want to learn how to love, and to find the strength to love. The Spirit, who is Love, can open your hearts to accept the gift of genuine love.

- Address to French Youth, 13 September 2008
All of you are seeking the truth; and all of you want to live in truth! This truth is Christ. He is the only Way, the one Truth and the true Life.
- Address to French Youth, 13 September 2008
Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests at the heart of the Church! Nothing will ever replace a Mass for the salvation of the world! Dear young and not so young who are listening to me, do not leave Christ’s call unanswered.

- Homily, 13 September 2008

Every time the Mass is celebrated, every time Christ makes himself sacramentally present in his Church, the work of our salvation is accomplished. Hence to celebrate the Eucharist means to recognize that God alone has the power to grant us the fullness of joy and teach us true values, eternal values that will never pass away. God is present on the altar, but he is also present on the altar of our heart when, as we receive communion, we receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He alone teaches us to shun idols, the illusions of our minds.

- Homily, 13 September 2008

The Mass invites us to discern what, in ourselves, is obedient to the Spirit of God and what, in ourselves, is attuned to the spirit of evil. In the Mass, we want to belong only to Christ and we take up with gratitude – with thanksgiving – the cry of the psalmist: “How shall I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?” (Ps 116:12).

- Homily, 13 September 2008
Brothers and sisters, let us give the greatest veneration to the sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the Blessed Sacrament of the real presence of the Lord to his Church and to all humanity. Let us take every opportunity to show him our respect and our love! Let us give him the greatest marks of honour! Through our words, our silences, and our gestures, let us never allow our faith in the risen Christ, present in the Eucharist, to lose its savour in us or around us!

- Homily, 13 September 2008
Never does God, of whom the Apostle is an authorized witness here, ask man to sacrifice his reason!

- Homily, 13 September 2008
An idol is a delusion, for it turns its worshipper away from reality and places him in the kingdom of mere appearances.
- Homily, 13 September 2008
My greatest concern is for young people. Some of them are struggling to find the right direction, or are suffering from a loss of connection with their families. Still others are experiencing the limits of religious communitarianism. Sometimes on the margins and often left to themselves, they are vulnerable and must come to terms on their own with a reality that often overwhelms them. It is necessary to offer them a sound educational environment and to encourage them to respect and assist others if they are to develop serenely towards the age of responsibility.

The Pope, as witness of a God who loves and saves, strives to be a sower of charity and hope. All of human society needs hope.

15 September 2008

I say "prepare yourselves," because real love does not happen suddenly. Beyond sentiment, love is made of responsibility, constancy and a sense of duty. One learns all of this through the prolonged practice of the Christian virtues of trust, purity, abandonment to Providence and prayer.

- Address to Youth, 7 September 2008

24 August 2008

[H]e is the friend who never abandons us, because he knows the most intimate longings of our heart.

- Angelus Address, 24 August 2008

21 August 2008

I believe that in a certain way this is proof of the truth of Christianity: heart and reason encounter one another, beauty and truth converge, and the more that we ourselves succeed in living in the beauty of truth, the more that faith will be able to return to being creative in our time too, and to express itself in a convincing form of art.

- Q & A with Clergy, 6 August 2008
All the great works of art, cathedrals - the Gothic cathedrals and the splendid Baroque churches - they are all a luminous sign of God and therefore truly a manifestation, an epiphany of God. And in Christianity it is precisely a matter of this epiphany: that God became a veiled Epiphany - he appears and is resplendent.

- Q & A with Clergy, 6 August 2008
[I]f we look at the Saints, this great luminous trail on which God passed through history, we see that there truly is a force of good which resists the millennia; there truly is the light of light.

- Q & A with Clergy, 6 August 2008
The Lord is continuously holding out his hand to us too. He does so through the beauty of a Sunday; he does so through the solemn liturgy; he does so in the prayer with which we address him; he does so in the encounter with the Word of God; he does so in many situations of daily life - he holds his hand out to us. And only if we take the Lord's hand, if we let ourselves be guided by him, will the path we take be right and good.

- Angelus Address, 10 August 2008
Being loved by God who knows and loves each one of us in Christ; no one can take this away and, while we have this, we are not poor but rich.

- Angelus Address, 3 August 2008
It means being indelibly marked, inalterably changed, a new creation. For those who have received this gift, nothing can ever be the same! Being “baptized” in the one Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13) means being set on fire with the love of God. Being “given to drink” of the Spirit means being refreshed by the beauty of the Lord’s plan for us and for the world, and becoming in turn a source of spiritual refreshment for others. Being “sealed with the Spirit” means not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilization of love.

- Homily, 20 July 2008
Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive “power from on high”, enabling us to be salt and light for our world.

- Homily, 20 July 2008
Yet this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires.

- Homily, 20 July 2008
In the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God’s love.

- Address at WYD Vigil, 19 July 2008
What constitutes our faith is not primarily what we do but what we receive.

- Address at WYD Vigil, 19 July 2008
God is with us in the reality of life, not the fantasy! It is embrace, not escape, that we seek! So the Holy Spirit gently but surely steers us back to what is real, what is lasting, what is true. It is the Spirit who leads us back into the communion of the Blessed Trinity!

- Address at WYD Vigil, 19 July 2008
Unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved through our efforts alone. God has made us for one another (cf. Gen 2:24) and only in God and his Church can we find the unity we seek.

- Address at WYD Vigil, 19 July 2008
By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles which enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony.

- Address at WYD Vigil, 19 July 2008
Religion offers peace, but more importantly, it arouses within the human spirit a thirst for truth and a hunger for virtue.

False “gods”, whatever name, shape or form we give them, are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.

- Address, 18 July 2008
At each Mass, when the Lord’s Body and Blood are lifted up at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, lift up your own hearts and lives, through Christ, with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, as a loving sacrifice to God our Father.

- Homily, 19 July 2008
The Cross reveals that we find ourselves only by giving our lives away, receiving God’s love as an unmerited gift and working to draw all men and women into the beauty of that love and the light of the truth which alone brings salvation to the world.

- Homily, 19 July 2008
[E]very altar is a symbol of Jesus Christ, present in the midst of his Church as priest, altar and victim .

- Homily, 19 July 2008
Is it not true that when presented with high ideals, many young people are attracted to asceticism and the practice of moral virtue through self-respect and a concern for others? They delight in contemplating the gift of creation and are intrigued by the mystery of the transcendent.

We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.

- Ecumenical Address, 18 July 2008
The road of ecumenism ultimately points towards a common celebration of the Eucharist (cf. Ut Unum Sint, 23-24; 45), which Christ entrusted to his Apostles as the sacrament of the Church’s unity par excellence.

- Ecumenical Address, 18 July 2008
Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything!

- Address, 17 July 2008
[L]ife is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose (cf. Gen 1:28)! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness, and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy. Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

- Address, 17 July 2008
Yet, experiences, detached from any consideration of what is good or true, can lead, not to genuine freedom, but to moral or intellectual confusion, to a lowering of standards, to a loss of self-respect, and even to despair.

- Address, 17 July 2008
Jesus is close to you! Feel his healing embrace, his compassion and mercy!

- Address, 17 July 2008
[S]tep forward into Christ’s loving embrace; recognize the Church as your home. No one need remain on the outside, for from the day of Pentecost the Church has been one and universal.

- Address, 17 July 2008
They long to hear the word of God, and to learn more about their Christian faith. They are eager to take part in an event which brings into focus the high ideals that inspire them, and they return home filled with hope and renewed in their resolve to contribute to the building of a better world.

- Address, 17 July 2008
Their example testifies that, only when one is in contact with the Lord, is one full of peace and joy and in this way it is possible to spread everywhere serenity, hope and optimism.

- General Audience, 20 August 2008

08 August 2008

The Eucharist is not a meal with friends. It is the mystery of a covenant.

- Homily, 22 June 2008
The Eucharist is our most beautiful treasure. It is the Sacrament par excellence; it ushers us into eternal life in advance; it contains the entire mystery of our salvation; it is the source and summit of the action and life of the Church as the Second Vatican Council recalled.

- Homily, 22 June 2008
By learning to pray we learn to live and on our journey we must pray ever better with the Church and with the Lord in order to live in a better way.

In prayer we open ourselves to the One who is the origin and foundation of our hope. The prayerful person is never totally alone for God is the One who in every situation and in any trial is always able to listen to and help him/her. Through perseverance in prayer the Lord broadens our desires and expands our mind, rendering us better able to receive him within ourselves. The correct way to pray is, therefore, a process of inner purification. We must open ourselves to God's gaze, to God himself so that, in the light of God's Face, lies and hypocrisy fall away. This manner of exposing oneself in prayer to God's Face is really a purification that renews us, sets us free and opens us not only to God but also to our brothers and sisters.

9 June 2008
Jesus raised from the dead is truly the faultless foundation that supports our faith and hope.

9 June 2008
All men and women have an obligation to seek the truth. When it is found, they are compelled to model their entire lives in accordance with its demands.

26 June 2008

The greatest liberty is to say "yes," to conform with the will of God. Only in saying "yes" does man really become himself. Only in the great opening of the "yes," in the unification of his will with the divine will, does man become immensely open, he becomes "divine."

- General Audience, 25 June 2008

24 June 2008

The fear of God, which the Scriptures define as the "beginning of true wisdom," coincides with faith in God, with the sacred respect for his authority over life and the world. Being "without the fear of God" is equivalent to putting ourselves in his place, feeling ourselves to be masters of good and evil, of life and death.

But he who fears God feels interiorly the security of a child in the arms of his mother (cf. Psalm 130:2): He who fears God is calm even in the midst of storms, because God, as Jesus has revealed to us, is a Father who is full of mercy and goodness. He who loves God is not afraid: "In love there is no fear," writes the Apostle John...

The believer, therefore, is not afraid of anything, because he knows that he is in the hands of God, he knows that evil is irrational and does not have the last word, and that Christ alone is the Lord of the world and life, the Incarnate Word of God, he knows that Christ loved us to the point of sacrificing himself, dying on the cross for our salvation.

04 June 2008

Adoring the Body of Christ, means believing that there, in that piece of Bread, Christ is really there, and gives true sense to life, to the immense universe as to the smallest creature, to the whole of human history as to the most brief existence. Adoration is prayer that prolongs the celebration and Eucharistic communion and in which the soul continues to be nourished: it is nourished with love, truth, peace; it is nourished with hope, because the One before whom we prostrate ourselves does not judge us, does not crush us but liberates and transforms us.

- Homily, 22 May 2008
Kneeling before the Eucharist is a profession of freedom: those who bow to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate themselves before any earthly authority, however powerful. We Christians kneel only before God or before the Most Blessed Sacrament because we know and believe that the one true God is present in it, the God who created the world and so loved it that he gave his Only Begotten Son (cf. Jn 3: 16).

- Homily, 22 May 2008
Each one can find his own way if he encounters the One who is the Word and the Bread of Life and lets himself be guided by his friendly presence. Without the God-with-us, the God who is close, how can we stand up to the pilgrimage through life, either on our own or as society and the family of peoples? The Eucharist is the Sacrament of the God who does not leave us alone on the journey but stays at our side and shows us the way. Indeed, it is not enough to move onwards, one must also see where one is going! "Progress" does not suffice, if there are no criteria as reference points.

- Homily, 22 May 2008
The Corpus Christi procession teaches us that the Eucharist seeks to free us from every kind of despondency and discouragement, wants to raise us, so that we can set out on the journey with the strength God gives us through Jesus Christ.

- Homily, 22 May 2008
The Eucharist is a public devotion that has nothing esoteric or exclusive about it.
- Homily, 22 May 2008
The Eucharist is a school of charity and solidarity. The one who is nourished on the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before the one who, even in our day, is deprived of daily bread.

- Angelus Address, 25 May 2008

Be united but not closed. Be humble but not fearful. Be simple but non ingenuous. Be thoughtful but not complicated. Enter into dialogue with all, but be yourselves.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008

[T]he truer a friend of Jesus we are, the better able we are to open our hearts to others so that they too may become truly young and have a great future before them.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
To find love with Christ, to truly find him as the companion of our lives, we must first of all be acquainted with him.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
The life of the soul is the encounter with him, the actual Face of God; it is silent, persevering prayer, it is sacramental life, it is the Gospel meditated upon, it is spiritual guidance, it is cordial membership in the Church, in your Ecclesial Communities.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
It is the spiritual life that I am asking you to cultivate, dear friends.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
Being young implies being good and generous and once again true goodness is Jesus himself, that Jesus whom you know or whom your heart is seeking: he is the Friend who never betrays, faithful to the point of giving his life on the Cross. Surrender to his love!

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
But we must all remain young in heart! It is beautiful to be young and today everyone wants to be young, to stay young, and they disguise themselves as young, even if the time of youth has passed, visibly passed. And I wonder - I have thought about it - why is it beautiful to be young? What is the reason for the dream of eternal youth? It seems to me that there are two crucial elements: youth still has the whole future before it. Everything is in the future, a time of hope. The future is full of promises. To be sincere, we must say that for many people the future is also dark, full of threats.

- Address to Youth, 18 May 2008
Dear young people, dare to dedicate your life to courageous choices, not alone of course, but with the Lord!

- Homily, 17 May 2008
Following Christ always requires the courage to go against the tide. However, it is worth it: this is the way to real personal fulfilment and hence to true happiness.

- Homily, 17 May 2008
Every person is known and loved, wanted and guided by him [the Lord].

Not only has permitting recourse to the termination of pregnancy not solved the problems that afflict many women and a fair number of families, but it has also made another wound in our society, unfortunately, already burdened by deep suffering.

If the practice of sexuality becomes a drug that seeks to enslave one's partner to one's own desires and interests, without respecting the cycle of the beloved, then what must be defended is no longer solely the true concept of love but in the first place the dignity of the person.

What was true yesterday is true also today.

- Address to the International Congress Celebrating Humanae Vitae, 10 May 2008

Life is always a precious gift; every time we witness its beginnings we see the power of the creative action of God who trusts man and thus calls him to build the future with the strength of hope.

If faith is alive, Christian culture can never become "obsolete" but on the contrary will remain alive and present. And if faith is alive, today too we can respond to the imperative that is ceaselessly repeated in the Psalms: "O Sing to the Lord a new song" (Ps 98[97]: 1).

- General Audience, 21 May 2008
Culture, the whole of our great Christian culture, is born from this contact of the heart with the Truth who is Love. Nor, if faith stays alive, will this cultural inheritance die; rather, it will remain alive and present.

- General Audience, 21 May 2008
Faith is love and therefore creates poetry and music. Faith is joy, therefore it creates beauty.

- General Audience, 21 May 2008
Democracy and the rule of law are not nurtured by materialism, individualism and moral relativism but by integrity and mutual confidence, especially when sustained by committed and selfless leaders who are willing to offer their service to their fellow citizens for the building up of the common good.

No nation today is free from the influence of globalization with its benefits and its challenges. This phenomenon facilitates trade opportunities, access to information and the communication of values. Unfortunately, it can also promote superficial lifestyles and attitudes that undermine healthy customs based on moral truth and virtue.

The rosary, when it is not a mechanical repetition of traditional formulas, is a biblical meditation that permits us to reflect on the events of the Lord's life in the company of the Blessed Virgin, treasuring them, as she did, in our heart.

- Address at the End of the Marian Month, 31 May 2008

01 May 2008

Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN)
Worship Christ the Lord in your hearts: cultivate a personal relationship of love with him, your first and greatest love, one and totalizing, in which to live, purify, illumine and sanctify all your other relationships.

- Homily, 27 April 2008
The imposition of hands visually expresses the specific manner of this meeting: the Church, impersonated by the Bishop standing with extended hands, prays to the Holy Spirit to consecrate the candidate: the deacon, on his knees, receives the imposition of hands and entrusts himself to this mediation. Altogether these gestures are important but the invisible spiritual movement that they express is infinitely more important, a movement clearly evoked by the sacred silence that envelops everything, internal and external.

- Homily, 27 April 2008
It is a matter of only a few seconds, a very short time, but full of an extraordinary spiritual intensity.

- Homily, 27 April 2008
In order to be collaborators in the joy of others, in a world that is often sad and negative, the fire of the Gospel must burn within you and the joy of the Lord dwell in you. Only then will you be able to be messengers and multipliers of this joy, bringing it to all, especially to those who are sorrowful and disheartened.

- Homily, 27 April 2008
What can be greater, more exciting, than cooperating in spreading the Word of life in the world, than communicating the living water of the Holy Spirit? To proclaim and to witness joy: this is the central core of your mission, dear deacons who will soon become priests.

- Homily, 27 April 2008
In seeing the darkness that today threatens their lives, youth can find in the saints the light that dissipate it: the light of Christ, hope for all men.

- General Audience, 30 April 2008

10 April 2008

God thirsts for our faith and wants us to find the source of our authentic happiness in him.

- Homily, 24 February 2008
In order to recognize God, we must give up the pride that dazzles us, that wants to drive us away from God as though God were our rival. To encounter God it is necessary to be able to see with the heart. We must learn to see with a child's heart, with a youthful heart not hampered by prejudices or blinded by interests. Thus, it is in the lowly who have such free and open hearts and recognize Jesus, that the Church sees her own image, the image of believers of all ages.

- Homily, 16 March 2008
God who created heaven and earth gave himself a name, made himself invocable; indeed, he made himself almost tangible to human beings. No place can contain him, yet for this very reason he gave himself a place and a name so that he, the true God, might be personally venerated as God in our midst.

- Homily, 16 March 2008

09 April 2008

The locality of Emmaus has not been identified with certainty. There are various hypotheses and this one is not without an evocativeness of its own for it allows us to think that Emmaus actually represents every place: the road that leads there is the road every Christian, every person, takes. The Risen Jesus makes himself our travelling companion as we go on our way, to rekindle the warmth of faith and hope in our hearts and to break the bread of eternal life.

- Regina Coeli Address, 6 April 2008
Humanity's temptation is always to want to be totally autonomous, to follow its own will alone and to maintain that only in this way will we be free; that only thanks to a similarly unlimited freedom would man be completely man. But this is precisely how we pit ourselves against the truth.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
...when we continually encounter the sacred it risks becoming habitual for us. In this way, reverential fear is extinguished. Conditioned by all our habits we no longer perceive the great, new and surprising fact that he himself is present, speaks to us, gives himself to us. We must ceaselessly struggle against this becoming accustomed to the extraordinary reality, against the indifference of the heart, always recognizing our insufficiency anew and the grace that there is in the fact that he consigned himself into our hands. To serve means to draw near, but above all it also means obedience.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
If the liturgy is the central duty of the priest, this also means that prayer must be a primary reality, to be learned ever anew and ever more deeply at the school of Christ and of the Saints of all the ages.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
We must learn to increasingly understand the sacred liturgy in all its essence, to develop a living familiarity with it, so that it becomes the soul of our daily life.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
There are therefore two duties that define the essence of the priestly ministry: in the first place, "to stand in his [the Lord's] presence".

- Homily, 20 March 2008
We have to recognize that we sin, even in our new identity as baptized persons. We need confession in the form it has taken in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In it the Lord washes our dirty feet ever anew and we can be seated at table with him.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
Christianity is not a type of moralism, simply a system of ethics. It does not originate in our action, our moral capacity. Christianity is first and foremost a gift: God gives himself to us - he does not give something, but himself. And this does not only happen at the beginning, at the moment of our conversion. He constantly remains the One who gives. He continually offers us his gifts. He always precedes us.

- Homily, 20 March 2008
On the Cross, in giving himself, he is as it were fused and transformed into a new way of being, in which he is now always with the Father and contemporaneously with humankind. He transforms the Cross, the act of killing, into an act of giving, of love to the end.

- Homily, 20 March 2008

03 April 2008


[T]he Easter Candle is lit from the new fire as a symbol of Christ who rises again in glory.

- General Audience, 19 March 2008
To better the world, make an effort above all to change yourselves through an intense sacramental life, especially through approaching the sacrament of penance, and participating assiduously in the celebration of the Eucharist.

- General Audience, 19 March 2008
To be friends of Christ, and to give testimony of him wherever we are, demands, furthermore, the strength to go against the grain, remembering the words of the Lord: You are in the world but not of the world (cf. John 15:19).

- General Audience, 19 March 2008
The Christian knows that there is an inseparable link between the truth, ethics and responsibility. Every authentic cultural expression contributes to form the conscience and encourage the person to better himself with the end of bettering society. In this way one feels responsible before the truth, at the service of which one must put one's own personal liberty.

- General Audience, 19 March 2008
Today, the world needs priests, consecrated men and women and Christian married couples. To respond to your vocation through one of these ways, be generous, help yourselves by having recourse to the Sacrament of Confession and the practice of spiritual direction on your journey as consistent Christians. Seek in particular to sincerely open your heart to the Lord Jesus, to offer him your unconditional "yes".

- Homily, 13 March 2008
The Holy Spirit does not change the external but rather the internal situations of life.

- Homily, 13 March 2008
It is necessary to present to these young men the fascination of the Consecrated Life, the radicalism of following Christ, obedient, poor and chaste, the primacy of God and of the Spirit, fraternal life in community and total dedication to the mission. Young men are sensitive to suggestions of demanding commitment but need witnesses and guides who can accompany them in the discovery and acceptance of this gift.

1 March 2008
Young people harbour a deep desire for a full life, for genuine love, for constructive freedom; but unfortunately, their expectations are often betrayed and come to nothing. It is indispensable to help the young to make the most of their inner resources, such as dynamism and positive aspirations; to put before them proposals that are rich in humanity and Gospel values; to urge them to integrate themselves into society as an active part of it through work and participation and commitment to the common good.

When one renounces everything to follow the Lord, when one gives to him all that one holds dearest, facing every sacrifice, one should not be surprised to become, as happened for the Divine Master, a "sign of contradiction", because the way a consecrated person thinks and acts often ends by clashing with the logic of the world. Actually, this is a cause of comfort since it testifies that the lifestyle of a consecrated person is an alternative to contemporary culture and that he can play a role in it which, in a certain way, is prophetic.

1 March 2008

02 April 2008

We must turn ever anew towards him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life towards the Lord. And ever anew we must withdraw our hearts from the force of gravity, which pulls them down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
Darkness, at times, can seem comfortable. I can hide, and spend my life asleep. Yet we are not called to darkness, but to light.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
In Baptism he takes us, as it were, by the hand, he leads us along the path that passes through the Red Sea of this life and introduces us to everlasting life, the true and upright life. Let us grasp his hand firmly! Whatever may happen, whatever may befall us, let us not lose hold of his hand! Let us walk along the path that leads to life.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
Believers – the baptized – are never truly cut off from one another.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
This is the reality of Baptism: he, the Risen One, comes; he comes to you and joins his life with yours, drawing you into the open fire of his love. You become one, one with him, and thus one among yourselves.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
In Baptism, the Lord enters your life through the door of your heart. We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another.

- Homily, 23 March 2008
[L]et us direct our gaze today toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his Cross. The Cross is the source of immortal life, the school of justice and peace, the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy. It is permanent proof of an oblative and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, even to dying crucified.

Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of God?

If with humble trust we draw near to him, we encounter in his gaze the response to the deepest longings of our heart: to know God and to establish with him a living relationship in an authentic communion of love, which can fill our lives, our interpersonal and social relations with that same love.

- Urbi et orbi Address, Easter 2008
In his glorious wounds we recognize the indestructible signs of the infinite mercy of the God...

- Urbi et orbi Address, Easter 2008
Fixing the gaze of our spirit on the glorious wounds of his transfigured body, we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day.

- Urbi et orbi Address, Easter 2008
It is only by walking with the Lord, by abandoning myself to his openness in the communion of the Church and not by living for myself - either for a happy earthly life or even only for personal bliss - but by making myself an instrument of his peace that I live well and learn this courage in the face of today's ever new and serious, sometimes almost impossible, challenges.

This is true Christian obedience, which is freedom: not as I want, with my own plan of life for myself, but in putting myself at his disposal so that he will make use of me. And in placing myself in his hands I am free. But it is a great leap that is never made once and for all.

A condition for the world to attain perfection, for it to be open to Heaven, is that the Gospel be proclaimed to all.

But this most necessary dimension of dialogue, that is, respect for the other, tolerance, cooperation, does not exclude the other dimension: the fact that the Gospel is a great gift, the gift of great love, of great truth, which we cannot only keep to ourselves alone. We must offer it to others, realizing that God gives them the necessary freedom and light to find the truth.

...creating spaces of silence even without images in order to reopen our hearts to the true image and the true word.

In my opinion, the Season of Lent could also be the time for a fast of words and images. We need a little silence, we need room where we are not constantly bombarded by images.

The Sacrament of Penance gives us the opportunity to be renewed through and through with God's power - ego te absolvo -, which is possible because Christ took these sins, this guilt, upon himself. I think there is a great need of this especially today. We can be healed. Souls that are wounded and ill, as everyone knows by experience, not only need advice but true renewal, which can only come from God's power, from the power of Crucified Love.

Every priest, of course, also continues to be a deacon and must always be aware of this dimension, for the Lord himself became our minister, our deacon.

23 March 2008

It is not sin which is at the heart of the sacramental celebration but rather God's mercy, which is infinitely greater than any guilt of ours.

Those who trust in themselves and in their own merits are, as it were, blinded by their ego and their heart is hardened in sin. Those, on the other hand, who recognize that they are weak and sinful entrust themselves to God and obtain from him grace and forgiveness.

No believer should die in loneliness and neglect.

When, at the moment of death, the relationship with God is fully realized in the encounter with "him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life; then we "live'" (Spe Salvi, n. 27).

The Lord of life is present beside the sick person as the One who lives and gives life, the One who said: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10).

The earthly experience concludes with death, but through death full and definitive life beyond time unfolds for each one of us.

The further the human being distances himself from God, the more closely God pursues him with his merciful love.

- Homily, 24 February 2008
Faith is born from the encounter with Jesus, recognized and accepted as the definitive Revealer and Saviour in whom God's Face is revealed.

- Homily, 24 February 2008
If there is a physical thirst for water that is indispensable for life on this earth, there is also a spiritual thirst in man that God alone can satisfy.

- Homily, 24 February 2008
Every believer is in danger of practising a false religiosity, of not seeking in God the answer to the most intimate expectations of the heart but on the contrary, treating God as though he were at the service of our desires and projects.

- Homily, 24 February 2008

16 March 2008

The Church thus urgently needs people with a deep and sound faith, a well-grounded culture and genuine human and social sensitivity, of Religious and priests who dedicate their lives to being on these very frontiers to bear witness and to help people understand that on the contrary there is profound harmony between faith and reason, between the Gospel spirit, the thirst for justice and initiatives for peace.

It is not oceans or immense distances that challenge the heralds of the Gospel but the boundaries resulting from an erroneous or superficial vision of God and man that stand between faith and human knowledge, faith and modern science, faith and the commitment to justice.


I wondered if Pope Benedict XVI might ever carry a different pastoral staff. No I wonder if he'll keep using this one of if he'll keep switching them now and again. I might be tempted to switch them around, just to keep people guessing.

[photo source]

15 March 2008

Christ's heart is divine-human: in him God and man meet perfectly, without separation and without confusion. He is the image, or rather, the incarnation of God who is love, mercy, paternal and maternal tenderness, of God who is Life.

- Angelus Address, 9 March 2008
[B]odily death is a sleep from which God can awaken us at any moment.

- Angelus Address, 9 March 2008

18 February 2008

One cannot contemplate Mary without being attracted by Christ and one cannot look at Christ without immediately perceiving the presence of Mary.

Mary is a model of total self-abandonment to God's will.

[I]f the Lord's voice is to be heard, an atmosphere of silence is essential.

- Homily, 1 February 2008
Indeed, even though it may seem that the priest's life does not attract most people's interest, it is in fact the most interesting and necessary adventure for the world, the adventure of showing, of making present, the fullness of life to which we all aspire. It is a very demanding adventure; and it could not be otherwise since the priest is called to imitate Jesus, who "came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20: 28).

- Homily, 1 February 2008

11 February 2008

God does not abandon us...his love comes to us where we are, with our misery and our weakness, to offer us a new possibility of goodness.

10 February 2008

In giving alms, we offer something material, a sign of the greater gift that we can impart to others through the announcement and witness of Christ, in whose name is found true life.