30 December 2009

Today, as in the time of Jesus, Christmas is not a fairytale for children, but rather God's answer to the drama of humanity in search of peace.

- Angelus Address, 20 December 2009
To be joyful we do not just have need of things, but love and truth: We need a God who is near, who warms our hearts, and responds to our profound desires. This God is manifested in Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. This is why that Baby, whom we place in the stable or the cave, is the center of everything, the heart of the world.

- Angelus Address, 13 December 2009
...the creche is a school of life, where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in having a lot of things, but in feeling loved by the Lord, in making oneself a gift for others, in loving. We look at the creche: The Madonna and St. Joseph do not seem to be a very fortunate family; they had their first child in the midst of great hardships; and yet they are full of deep joy, because they love each other, they help each other and above all they are certain that God is at work in their history, God who made himself present in the little Jesus.

- Angelus Address, 13 December 2009
We should have a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ that shines on the face of the Church, so that all may be gathered into the one human family, under God's loving fatherhood.

When married couples devote themselves generously to the education of children, guiding them and orienting them to the discovery of God's plan of love, they are preparing that fertile spiritual ground from which vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life spring up and develop.

- Angelus Address, 30 August 2009
Jesus did not come to teach us philosphy but to show us a way, indeed the way that leads to life.

- Angelus Address, 13 September 2009
Serving, and is no doing giving oneself; exisiting not for oneself but for others, on behalf of God and in view of God; this is the innermost core of Jesus Christ's mission and at the same time of the true essense of his priesthood.

- Homily, 12 September 2009
The Gospel is, at its core, not only a word - Christ himself is the Gospel.

- Homily, 12 September 2009
Prudence demands humble, disciplined and watchful reason that does not let itself be blinded by prejudices; it does not judge according to desires and passions but rather seeks the truth, even though it may prove uncomfortable.

- Homily, 12 September 2009
Fidelity is not fear but rather is inspired by love and by its dynamism.

- Homily, 12 September 2009
It is the Lord himself, through the words of prayer and the act of the imposition of hands, who takes that man totally into his service, draws him into his priesthood.

- Homily, 12 September 2009
When they meet us, our contempories want to see what they see nowhere else, that is, the joy and hope that come from being with the Risen Lord.

Although God is the only one who can plant the call to the pastoral service of his people in the human heart, all the members of the Church should question themselves on the deep urgency and real commitment with which they feel and lives this cause.

In our time - when an urgent need to educate the new generations is evident - it is therefore necessary for the Church to continue to support sports for youth, making the most of their positive aspects also at competitive levels - such as their capacity for stimulating competitiveness, courage and tenacity in pursuing goals. However, it is necessary to avoid every trend that perverts the nature of sports by recourse to practices that can even damage the body, such as doping.

- Message to Cardinal Rylko, 3 November 2009
...Christian Advent becomes an opportunity to reawaken within ourselves the true meaning of waiting, returning to the heart of our faith which is the mystery of Christ, the Messiah who was expected for long centuries and was born in poverty, in Bethlehem.

- Homily, 28 November 2009
The essential meaning of the adventus was: God is here, he has not withdrawn from the world, he has not deserted us.
- Homily, 28 November 2009
In the language of the ancient world it [the word adventus] was a technical term used to indicate the arrival of an official or the visit of the king or emperor to a province. However, it could also mean the coming of the divinity that emerges from concealment to manifest himself forcefully or that was celebrated as being present in worship.

- Homily, 28 November 2009

14 July 2009

It is to be hoped that every Catholic family, by teaching their children to live in accordance with an upright conscience, in loyalty and truth, may become a home of values and human virtues, a school of faith and love for God.

06 July 2009

This is what the faithful expect of the priest: that is, the example of an authentic devotion to the Eucharist; they like to see him spend long periods of silence and adoration before Jesus as was the practice of the Holy Cure d'Ars.

- Homily, 11 June 2009
It is hope which comes from Christ's love which gives us the strength to live and to deal with difficulties.

- Angelus Address, 14 June 2009
The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: love alone makes us happy because we live in a relationship, and we live to love and to be loved. Borrowing an analogy from biology, we could say that imprinted upon his "genome", the human being bears a profound mark of the Trinity, of God as Love.

- Angelus Address, 7 June 2009
All things derive from love, aspire to love and move impelled by love, though naturally with varying degrees of awareness and freedom.

- Angelus Address, 7 June 2009
God is wholly and only love, the purest, infinite and eternal love. He does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly given and communicated.

- Angelus Address, 7 June 2009
In every situation we must offer the joyful witness of our adherence to the Gospel, accepting the Apostle Paul's invitation to boast only of the Cross of Christ, with the sole ambition of completing in ourselves what is lacking in the Passion of the Lord, for the sake of his Body, that is the Church (cf. Col 1: 24).

And if at times we are given to taste the cup of loneliness, misunderstanding and suffering, if service seems at times a burden to us and the cross is sometimes heavy to carry, may the certainty that God knows how to make all things fruitful sustain and comfort us.

He wants us to be his "friends", friends who seek intimacy with him, who follow his teachings and strive to make him known to and loved by all. The Lord wants us, that is, all "his own", to be holy, not concerned to build ourselves a humanly interesting or comfortable career, seeking neither public applause nor success, but rather entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to carry out our duty to the very end, in the knowledge that we are "useless servants", glad to be able to offer our poor contribution to spreading the Gospel.

In moments of darkness and inner difficulty, turn your gaze to Christ who lovingly fixed his eyes on you one day and called you to be with him and to work, at his school, for his Kingdom.

To live no longer for ourselves but for Christ: this is what gives full meaning to the life of those who let themselves be conquered by him.

- Homily, 24 May 2009
Heaven": this word Heaven does not indicate a place above the stars but something far more daring and sublime: it indicates Christ himself, the divine Person who welcomes humanity fully and for ever, the One in whom God and man are inseparably united for ever. Man's being in God, this is Heaven. And we draw close to Heaven, indeed, we enter Heaven to the extent that we draw close to Jesus and enter into communion with him.

- Homily, 24 May 2009
In fact, when the beauty and truth of Christ win our hearts, we feel the joy of being his disciples and take on with conviction the mission of proclaiming his redemptive message.

We cannot do whatever we please with the world; rather, we are called to conform our choices to the subtle yet nonetheless perceptible laws inscribed by the Creator upon the universe and pattern our actions after the divine goodness that pervades the created realm.

In God’s plan for the family, the love of husband and wife bears fruit in new life, and finds daily expression in the loving efforts of parents to ensure an integral human and spiritual formation for their children. In the family each person, whether the smallest child or the oldest relative, is valued for himself or herself, and not seen simply as a means to some other end. Here we begin to glimpse something of the essential role of the family as the first building-block of a well-ordered and welcoming society.

- Homily, 14 May 2009
Our life as Christians is not simply a human effort to live the demands of the Gospel imposed upon as duties. In the Eucharist we are drawn into the mystery of divine love. Our lives become a grateful, docile and active acceptance of the power of a love which is given to us.

Ours is the task of proclaiming and witnessing that the Almighty is present and knowable even when he seems hidden from our sight, that he acts in our world for our good, and that a society’s future is marked with hope when it resonates in harmony with his divine order.

Peace is above all a divine gift.

And as believers in the one God we know that human reason is itself God’s gift and that it soars to its highest plane when suffused with the light of God’s truth. In fact, when human reason humbly allows itself to be purified by faith, it is far from weakened; rather, it is strengthened to resist presumption and to reach beyond its own limitations. In this way, human reason is emboldened to pursue its noble purpose of serving mankind, giving expression to our deepest common aspirations and extending, rather than manipulating or confining, public debate. Thus, genuine adherence to religion – far from narrowing our minds – widens the horizon of human understanding. It protects civil society from the excesses of the unbridled ego which tend to absolutize the finite and eclipse the infinite; it ensures that freedom is exercised hand in hand with truth, and it adorns culture with insights concerning all that is true, good and beautiful.

Prayer is hope in action.

The conscience is the human capacity to perceive the truth, but this capacity is often impeded by particular interests. And to break free from these interests, to open up more to the truth, to true values, is a major undertaking: it is a task of the Church to help us to know true criteria, true values, and to free us from particular interests.

- In-flight Interview, 8 May 2009

31 May 2009

Let us be attracted by their examples, let us be guided by their teachings, so that our existence too may become a hymn of praise to God, in the footsteps of Jesus, worshipped with faith in the mystery of the Eucharist and served generously in our neighbor.

- Homily, 26 April 2009

30 April 2009

Charism and institution are always complementary for the edification of the Church.

Risen, Jesus gave his disciples a new unity, stronger than before, invincible because it was founded not on human resources but on divine mercy, which made them all feel loved and forgiven by him. It is therefore God's merciful love that firmly unites the Church, today as in the past, and makes humanity a single family; divine love which through the Crucified and Risen Jesus forgives us our sins and renews us from within.

- Regina Caeli Address, 19 April 2009
This divine power brings hope and joy: this is the definitive liberating content of the Easter revelation. God reveals himself and the power of the trinitarian love that annihilates the destructive forces of evil and death in the events of Easter.

- Audience Address, 15 April 2009
Jesus' resurrection founds our certain hope and illuminates the whole of our earthly pilgrimage, including the human enigma of pain and death.

- Audience Address, 15 April 2009
What is asked of those who are called, for their part, is careful listening and prudent discernment, a generous and willing adherence to the divine plan, and a serious study of the reality that is proper to the priestly and religious vocations, so as to be able to respond responsibly and with conviction.

Let Christ dwell within you, and having placed all your faith and trust in him, spread this hope around you. Make choices that demonstrate your faith. Show that you understand the risks of idolizing money, material goods, career and success, and do not allow yourselves to be attracted by these false illusions. Do not yield to the rationale of selfish interests. Cultivate love of neighbour and try to put yourselves and your human talents and professional abilities at the service of the common good and of truth, always prepared to “make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15). True Christians are never sad, even if they have to face trials of various kinds, because the presence of Jesus is the secret of their joy and peace.

Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you encounter. Be patient and persevering so as to overcome the natural youthful tendency to rush ahead and to want everything immediately.

Make space for prayer in your lives! To pray alone is good, although it is even more beautiful and fruitful to pray together, because the Lord assured us he would be present wherever two or three are gathered in his name (cf. Mt 18:20).

When we express our faith in prayer, we find him even in times of darkness because he offers himself to us. Persevering prayer opens the heart to receive him, as Saint Augustine explains: “Our Lord and God … wants our desire to be exercised in prayer, thus enabling us to grasp what he is preparing to give” (Letter 130:8,17).

We know that it is in God alone that a human person finds true fulfilment.

Experience shows that personal qualities and material goods are not enough to guarantee the hope which the human spirit is constantly seeking

Youth is the time when decisive choices concerning the rest of our lives come to fruition. Perhaps this is why it is the time of life when fundamental questions assert themselves strongly: Why am I here on earth? What is the meaning of life? What will my life be like? And again: How can I attain happiness? Why is there suffering, illness and death? What lies beyond death?

20 April 2009

Love, in fact, means letting go of oneself, giving oneself, not wanting to possess oneself, but becoming free from oneself: not retiring into oneself – (what will become of me?) – but looking ahead, towards the other – towards God and towards the men that he sends to me.

- Homily, 5 April 2009
Praying is a journey in personal communion with Christ, setting before him our daily life, our successes and failures, our struggles and our joys – in a word, it is to stand in front of him.

- Homily, 9 April 2009
Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us.

- Homily, 9 April 2009
Indeed, when all is said and done, there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself. Consequently, the priesthood of the disciples can only be a participation in the priesthood of Jesus. Our being priests is simply a new and radical way of being united to Christ. In its substance, it has been bestowed on us for ever in the sacrament. But this new seal imprinted upon our being can become for us a condemnation, if our lives do not develop by entering into the truth of the Sacrament.

- Homily, 9 April 2009
Indeed, when all is said and done, there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself. Consequently, the priesthood of the disciples can only be a participation in the priesthood of Jesus. Our being priests is simply a new and radical way of being united to Christ. In its substance, it has been bestowed on us for ever in the sacrament. But this new seal imprinted upon our being can become for us a condemnation, if our lives do not develop by entering into the truth of the Sacrament.

- Homily, 9 April 2009
True love does not come cheap, it can also prove quite costly. It resists evil in order to bring men true good.

-Homily, 9 April 2009

17 March 2009

Who knows the men and women of today better than the parish priest? The rectory is not in the world; rather it is in the parish. And people often come here to the parish priest, usually openly, with no pretext other than suffering, sickness, death or family matters. And they come to the confessional stripped of any veneer, with their very being. No other "profession", it seems to me, gives this possibility of knowing the person as he is, in his humanity, rather than in the role he plays in society. In this sense, we can truly study the person in his core, beyond roles, and learn ourselves what it is to be human, what it is to be in the school of Christ. To this end, it is absolutely important to come to understand the human being, the human being of today, in ourselves and with others, but also always listening attentively to the Lord and accepting in myself the seed of the word, so that it may become leaven within me and become communicable to others.

If you are sincere with yourself and begin to realize what faith is for yourself, from your human experience now, drinking from your own well as St Bernard put it, then you will also be able to say to others what needs to be said.

I would say that the first thing that can help is our personal experience. We are not living on the moon! I am a man of this time if I live my faith sincerely in the culture of today with the mass media of today, with dialogue, with the realities of the economy, etc if I myself take my own experience seriously, and seek to adapt to this reality. In this way we are on the way to making ourselves understood by others.

- Meeting the Clergy of Rome, 26 February 2009

15 March 2009

Together with fasting and works of mercy, prayer forms the essential structure of our spiritual life.

- Angelus Address, 8 March 2009
Prayer, in face, reaches its culmination - and thus becomes the source of interior light - when the spirit of man adheres to that of God and their wills join almost to form a single will.

- Angelus Address, 8 March 2009

10 March 2009

In the Sacrament of Penance, the Crucified and Risen Christ purifies us through his ministers with his infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and with our brothers and makes us a gift of his love, his joy and his peace.

- Angelus Address, 15 February 2009
The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul. This miracle thus has a strong symbolic value. Jesus, as Isaiah had prophesied, is the Servant of the Lord who "has borne our griefs / and carried our sorrows" (Is 53: 4). In his Passion he will become as a leper, made impure by our sins, separated from God: he will do all this out of love, to obtain for us reconciliation, forgiveness and salvation.

- Angelus Address, 15 February 2009

15 February 2009

Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: 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. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for love. When we consider this, we see that it is in this way that he gave meaning to our suffering, a meaning that many men and women of every age understood and made their own, experiencing profound serenity even in th bitterness of difficult physical and moral trials.

- Angelus Address, 1 February 2009
Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person.

Voluntary fasting enables us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends low and goes to the help of his suffering brother (cf. Encyclical Deus caritas est, 15). By freely embracing an act of self-denial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger.

Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God.

The true fast is thus directed to eating the “true food,” which is to do the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4,34). If, therefore, Adam disobeyed the Lord’s command “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,” the believer, through fasting, intends to submit himself humbly to God, trusting in His goodness and mercy.

True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father, who “sees in secret, and will reward you” (Mt 6,18).

Since we all are weighed down by sin and its consequences, fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God.

Scripture is read correctly by putting oneself in dialogue with the Holy Spirit, to take from it light "for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

- Wednesday Audience Address, 28 January 2009

15 January 2009

Being "baptized in Christ" means being spiritually immersed in that death which is the act of God's infinite and universal love, capable of redeeming every person and every creature from the slavery of sin and death.

11 December 2008
It is offered, not imposed. Salvation is a gift that always asks to be accepted personally.

- Address to the Faculty and Students of Pontifical Universities

05 January 2009

In the darkness of the night of Bethlehem a great light really was lit: the Creator of the universe became flesh, uniting himself indissolubly with human nature so as truly to be "God from God, Light from Light" yet at the same time a man, true man.

- Wednesday Audience, 17 December 2008
At Christmas, therefore, we do not limit ourselves to commemorating the birth of a great figure: we do not simply and abstractly celebrate the birth of the man or in general the mystery of life; even less do we celebrate only the beginning of the new season. At Christmas we commemorate something very tangible and important for mankind, something essential for the Christian faith, a truth that St John sums up in these few words: "The Word became flesh".

- Wednesday Audience, 17 December 2008
Unfortunately, under the influence of hedonist consumerism Christmas risks losing its spiritual meaning and being reduced to a mere commercial opportunity for purchases and the exchange of gifts! However, it is true that the difficulties, the uncertainties and the financial crisis itself that numerous families have had to come to terms with in recent months and which is affecting all humanity could be an incentive to rediscover the warmth of simplicity, friendship and solidarity: typical values of Christmas. Stripped of its consumerist and materialistic encrustations, Christmas can thus become an opportunity for welcoming, as a personal gift, the message of hope that emanates from the mystery of Christ's Birth.

- Audience Address, 17 December 2008
Indeed, the whole Church focuses her gaze of faith on this Feast that is now at hand, preparing herself, as she does every year, to join in the joyful singing of the Angels who will announce to the shepherds in the heart of the night the extraordinary event of the Birth of the Redeemer, inviting them to go to the Grotto in Bethlehem. It is there that the Emmanuel lies, the Creator who made himself a creature, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a poor manger (cf. Lk 2: 13-16).

- Audience Address, 17 December 2008
Every Christmas crib is a simple yet eloquent invitation to open our hearts and minds to the mystery of life. It is an encounter with the immortal Life which became mortal in the mystic scene of the Nativity.

- Urbi et Orbi Message, Christmas 2008