During Angelus, Pope Suggests We Can Be Saints Too
Francis Reminds Faithful That Like the Canonized Saints, There Are Those 'Next Door'
We are all children of God! Are we aware of this great gift? Yesterday, on the Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis asked this during his Angelus address at noon in St. Peter's Square, as he reflected on the saints who watch over us, those in our midst, and those we are meant to become.
Recalling that the day's reading from the Book of Revelation recalls that saints are persons that, in "bearing His seal," belong totally to God in a full and exclusive way, and are His property, the Pontiff posed the following question to the thousands gathered in the Square: "What does it mean to bear the seal of God in one’s life and in one’s person?"
The Apostle John, the Pontiff observed, says it means that, in Jesus Christ, we have become truly children of God.
"Are we aware of this great gift? We are all children of God!" the Pope said, adding, "Do we remember that in Baptism we received the “seal” of our Heavenly Father and became His children? To say it simply: we bear God’s surname, our surname is God, because we are children of God."
"Here is the root of the vocation to holiness! And the saints we remember today are precisely those who lived in the grace of their Baptism, they kept the “seal” intact, behaving as children of God, seeking to imitate Jesus, and now they have reached their goal because they finally “see God as he really is.”
A second characteristic proper to the saints, the Holy Father continued, is that they are examples to imitate. Here, he pointed out, we do not only refer to canonized saints, but also to those who are or who have been in our midst, making the effort to live out the Gospel in their ordinary lives.
The Pope stressed that we have met these saints, perhaps in our family, or among our friends and acquaintances, and that we must be thankful to them and, above all, to God who has given them to us, put them close to us, "as living and infectious examples of the way of living and of dying in fidelity to the Lord Jesus and to His Gospel."
"How many good people we have known and know, and we say: 'But this person is a Saint!,' we say it, it comes spontaneously. These are the 'next door saints,' those not canonized but who live with us," Francis said.
The Argentine Pope highlighted that when we imitate their gestures of love and mercy, it is somewhat like perpetuating their presence in this world, and that these acts are the only ones "that resist the destruction of death."
Gestures such as an act of tenderness, a generous help, time spent listening, a visit, a good word, or even a smile, might seem insignificant to our eyes, the Holy Father said, "but in God’s eyes they are eternal, because love and compassion are stronger than death."
Before reciting the midday prayer, the Pope prayed, "May that the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, help us to trust more in God’s grace, to walk with speed on the way of holiness. We entrust to our Mother our daily endeavor, and we pray to her also for our dead in the profound hope of meeting again one day, all together, in the glorious communion of Heaven."
After launching a series of appeals, including for an end to violence in the Central African Republic, where he will visit later this month, Francis, as usual, concluded, wishing those gathered a good Sunday lunch, and telling them not to forget to pray for him. But, this week, he also wished all the faithful peace and serenity in the spiritual company of the saints.
Pope Francis also mentioned that Sunday afternoon, he would go to Rome's Verano Cemetery, to celebrate Holy Mass in suffrage for the dead. "On visiting the main cemetery of Rome," he said, "I will unite myself spiritually to all those that in these days go to pray at the tombs of their dear ones in every part of the world."
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-angelus-address--3
Pope Defends Woman's Right to Work, Be a Mom
Speaking to Christian Business Executives, Francis Encourages Them to Have Workplaces Where Holiness Thrives
Speaking to some 7,000 Christian business executives in the Vatican's Paul VI hall on Saturday, he lamented, "Many, many times we've heard that a woman goes to her boss and says: 'I have to tell you that I am pregnant' --- Then at the end of the month she doesn't work any more."
"The woman must be protected, helped in this double endeavor: the right to work and the right to maternity," the Holy Father said.
He made this statement off the cuff as he was addressing the Christian Union of Italian Business Executives (UCID), which is made up of Italian Catholic entrepreneurs who are committed to working toward the common good.
A theme at the center of the Pope's address was that companies can become places of holiness. The Pontiff encouraged the businesspeople present to continue their noble efforts of working for the common good and to never forget that they are called to be social missionaries of the Gospel, and to remember the poor, even if circumstances are difficult.
The Holy Father also advised the executives to maintain a proper balance between family and work life and reminded them of the good it does to direct economic activity in a way that puts the person and the common good at the forefront.
“You are called," he reminded those present, "to cooperate in order to grow an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity, to deal with the ethical challenges of the market and, above all the challenge of creating good employment opportunities."
Pope Francis commended their engaging together for this goal, and prayed that it bear fruit as long as the Gospel remains alive and present in their hearts and minds.
On the Net:
UCID's official website (in Italian): http://ucid.it
Imitating the Saints: Where Do I Start?
‘7 Saints for 7 Virtues’ Provides Guidebook for Beginners or Those More Advanced
Pope Francis on Sunday, the Solemnity of All Saints, spoke about the common vocation to holiness, rooted in our baptism. He said the saints are examples to imitate, both those who are canonized and those he referred to as “next door” saints — those we interact with in our daily lives.
A book by Jean M. Heimann makes imitating the saints seem a bit more feasible.
“Seven Saints for Seven Virtues” profiles seven popular saints and associates them with a specific virtue. Heimann considers what the virtue is, how the saint was a model of it, and then gives some down-home examples of how the virtue might look in daily life. Each section finishes with an examen about how the virtue might be put into action and a prayer.
This user-friendly set-up makes the book a great resource for those beginning the spiritual life, or those who have been working for a (long) while at trying to become one of the “next door” saints the Pope speaks of.
In the context of All Saints Day, ZENIT asked Heimann to tell us a bit more about her book:
ZENIT: How and why did you choose these seven saints?
Heimann: Before I began Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, I prayed abou t which saints I should write about and the Holy Spirit guided me in their selection. I also have a personal relationship with the saints I write about in the book, that is, I communicate with them on a regular basis in my daily prayers and ask them to intercede in specific situations. These particular saints possess the seven heavenly virtues that are in opposition to the seven deadly sins, which I discuss in the book. They are, in fact, heroic models of the virtues.
The saints and their corresponding virtues include: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta – charity; St. Agnes—chastity; St. Pope John Paul II—diligence; St. Joseph—humility; St. Catherine of Siena—kindness; St. Monica—patience; St. Augustine—temperance.
ZENIT: How does devotion to the saints play a role in your own faith life?
Heimann: As a young child of seven, I grew up learning about the saints from my mom’sLives of the Saints book, which was beautifully illustrated with full-color portraits of each saint. They were very special beings to me – more beautiful than royalty and more gifted than superheroes. I eagerly learned why they were so special and exactly what their gifts were; however, it wasn’t until I returned to my faith, after a 15-year absence, that I discovered the real power that the saints possess, and that is the gift of drawing us closer to the heart of Jesus.
They inspired me to seek holiness in my life and to emulate their virtues to draw closer to Jesus. They are companions on my spiritual journey who cheer me on to fight the good fight and to persevere to win the race. I hope to meet them all face to face one day.
I pray a daily Litany to the Saints and pray for their intercession in specific needs I have or for those of others. As a prayer intercessor, I have witnessed the intercessory power of the saints, our dear friends in heaven, who support us here on earth.
ZENIT: Do you have a particular devotion to a particular saint?
Heimann: One saint who has become a close friend and powerful intercessor for me over the years is St. Therese of Lisieux, who advocated the “Little Way” of performing small tasks with great love as the way to show her love for God and to become holy. St. Therese’s “Little Way” of loving God was impressed upon my heart as a teenager (her autobiography was required reading my sophomore year in high school) and later, as an adult, when I wrote the thesis for my Master of Arts degree in Theology as a graduate student at Newman University two years ago. St. Therese of Lisieux helped me with my thesis and she also performed small miracles for me, such as healing a friend with a cancerous tumor. She has also inspired and assisted me in writing my book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, and getting it published by a major Catholic publishing company.
I had been praying a novena to her that if it was God’s will for me to get this book published, to open the doors. I had written two books previously and even though they were praised and publication looked promising, they were eventually rejected by publishers. After 10 years of pitching books at online conferences and attending one live conference, in January 2014, my proposal for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues was approved for publication by Servant Books, thanks to St. Therese of Lisieux.
While St. Therese of Lisieux is not featured in this book, I write about her in my upcoming book, Learning to Love with the Saints, which is scheduled to be released in spring 2016.
Jean M. Heimann, M.A. in Theology, is a freelance writer, a psychologist and an educator, a parish presenter and diocesan speaker, and an oblate with the Community of St. John. She has been an active blogger for 12 years at Catholic Fire (http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/)
Seven Saints for Seven Virtues: http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Saints-Virtues-Jean-Heimann/dp/1616368454
ANALYSIS: Loosening Restrictions on Marijuana: Discerning Medical From Recreational Use
Studies in Colorado Consider Effects of Legalization
Debate over the legalization of marijuana continues apace in a number of countries. A recent report by the British Treasury spoke of the large amount of tax revenue that could be obtained through legalization, the BBC reported Oct 13.
There are, however, no plans to change the law on marijuana and in a statement the Home Office said that: “There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people's mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities."
Relaxing the restrictions on marijuana was a subject raised in the recent Canadian elections. During the campaign the Liberal Party, which ended up winning, promised they would legalize the drug, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported Oct. 12.
Yet only in December last year Health Canada conducted an ad campaign against marijuana use. The newspaper article also quoted Dr. Anthony Ocana, a family doctor and addiction specialist, who said he has noticed one serious long-term harmful effect among his patients who smoke almost daily: the gradual decline of their cognitive function.
As well, he said psychosis is the biggest short-term risk for those under 25 years old who consume cannabis on more than 20 days a month.
Meanwhile, in Australia the state government of Victoria announced it would start trials using marijuana in 2017 for patients with serious health problems, the Australian newspaper reported Oct. 23. According to media reports it would not involve smoking marijuana, but instead its use would be by means of application of an oil.
Medically supervised use of marijuana for diagnosed illnesses, where its side effects are carefully considered along with its benefits, is very different from the recreational use of the drug, which many continue to advocate.
The downside of marijuana use was examined in a study published by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in September this year.
Titled, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” it is the third annual report on the impact of marijuana legalization in the state.
In 2010, Colorado’s legislature passed legislation that included the licensing of medical marijuana centers and manufacturing of marijuana for medical purposes. In November 2012, Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana.
The study found there were a number of negative consequences following legalization of the drug.
+ In 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, there was a 32% increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013. Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 92% from 2010– 2014. During the same time period all traffic deaths only increased 8%.
+ As well, marijuana-related traffic deaths were approximately 20% of all traffic deaths in 2014 compared to half that just five years ago.
+ In 2013, 11.16% of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 years old were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.15% nationally. Colorado ranked 3rd in the nation and was 56% higher than the national average.
+ Drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40% from school years 2008/2009 to 2013/2014. The vast majority were for marijuana violations.
+ In 2013, 29% of college age students (ages 18 to 25 years old) were considered current marijua na users compared to 18.91% nationally. Colorado, ranked 2nd in the nation, was 54% higher than the national average.
+ In 2013, 10.13% of adults ages 26 years old and over were considered current marijuana users compared to 5.45% nationally. Colorado, ranked 5th in the nation, was 86% higher than the national average.
+ In 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, there was a 29% increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits in only one year.
+ In the three years after medical marijuana was commercialized, compared to the three years prior, there was a 46% increase in hospitalizations related to marijuana.
+ National THC potency, the active ingredient in marijuana, has risen from an average of 3.96% in 1995 to an average of 12.55% in 2013. The average potency in Colorado was 17.1%.
+ Homelessness increased with the appeal of legal marijuana being a factor. Denver has more licensed medical marijuana centers (198) than pharmacies (117).
Impact on the brain
The Colorado study also referred to research on the impact of marijuana on teenage brains. Researchers at Northwestern University published a study in the journal Hippocampus that found heavy marijuana users had long-term memory test scores 18% lower than those who had not used marijuana.
Another study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry by Dr. Muiris Houston found that daily users of marijuana prior to the age of 17 are 60% less likely to complete high school or get a university degree than those who do not use marijuana.
In addition, teens who are daily users of marijuana are seven times more likely to attempt suicide. And teenagers who use marijuana on a daily basis are eight times more likely to use other drugs later in life.
These studies clearly show that legalization of marijuana is not to be undertaken lightly and can only be justified for clearly defined medical applications.
2 Arrested in Vatican for Leaking Confidential Documents
Monsignor and Laywoman Being Investigated
The Vatican today released a communiqué regarding the arrest of two people, a priest and a laywoman, charged with leaking confidential information.
The arrests come as two books are slated to be released this week, supposedly detailing scandals related to Vatican finances.
Here is a translation of the statement, provided by Fr. Thomas Rosica, the English-language assistant to the Vatican press office.
* * *
As part of criminal investigations carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie that have been underway for several months involving the removal and dissementation of news and confidential documents, last Saturday and Sunday two individuals were called in for questioining on the basis of the evidence gathered.
The individuals are an ecclesiastic, Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallegjo Balda and Doctor Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of COSEA (Commission charged to study and address the organization of Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate).
[Msgr. Vallejo Balda’s biographical information can be found at this site:
Following the results of the interrogation the two people were held in detention in view of the continuing investigation.Today the Office of the Promoter of Justice, Professor Advocate Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Professor Roberto Zannotti, Asssitant Promoter of Justice, has validated the arrest of the above individuals, but they released Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were no precautionary requirements and also due to the fact that she cooperated with the investigation.
The position of Monsignor Vallejo Balda remains under consideration of the Office of the Promoter of Justice.
One should remember that disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offense under the Law no. IX of the State of Vatican City (13 July 2013) Article 10 (art. 116 bis C.P. ).
As for the books announced for publication in the the next few days, let it be clearly stated at this time, as in the past, that such actions are a serious betrayal of trust granted by the Pope and with regard to the authors, an operation that takes advantage of a serioiusly unlawful act unlawful delivery of confidential documents – an operation whose legal implications and possibly penalties are under study by the Office of the Promoter of Justice in view of possible further measures that will involve international cooperation. if necessary. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather to create confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must absolutely avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope.
Pope’s Address to Christian Union of Italian Business Executives
“The woman must be protected, helped in this double endeavor: the right to work and the right to maternity”
Here is a translation of the Pope’s address Saturday when he received in audience the Christian Union of Business Executives (UCID)
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
My cordial greeting goes to you all, and I thank Cardinal De Giorgi and the national President for having introduced this meeting.
The Christian Union of Business Executives brings together Catholic businessmen who set themselves the objective to be architects of development for the common good. To do this, you give great importance to Christian formation, carried out above all through reflection on the social teaching of the Church. This formative commitment is the foundation of action, be it personal , in the way of living one’s profession, be it associated, in the apostolate of the environment. Therefore, I exhort you to continue enthusiastically in your formative activities, to be the ferment and stimulation, by word and example, in the business world.
In as much as this is an ecclesial association, recognized by the Bishops, you are called to live the evangelical counsels with fidelity and the Social Doctrine of the Church in the family, at work and in society. This witness is very important. Therefore, I encourage you to live your business vocation in the very spirit of the lay mission. The “work” of the businessman, in fact,is a “noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 203).
The business and the executive office of firms can become places of sanctification, through each one’s commitment to build fraternal relations between businessmen, executives and workers, fostering co-responsibility and collaboration in the common interest. It is decisive to give special attention to the quality of the working life of dependents, who are the most precious resource of a business, in particular to foster harmonization between work and family. I am thinking in particular of the workers: the challenge is to watch over at the same time be it their right to work that is fully recognized, be it their vocation to maternity and presence in the family. How many times, how many times we have h eard that a woman goes to the boss and says: “I must tell you I am pregnant.” “From the end of the month she doesn’t work more.” The woman must be protected, helped in this double endeavor: the right to work and the right to maternity. Qualifying also is the responsibility of businesses for the defense and care of creation and to engage in progress that is “healthier, more human, more social and more integral” (Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 112).
This call to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel, in the difficult and complex world of work, of the economy and of business, also implies openness and evangelical closeness to the different situations of poverty and fragility. Here also it is about an attitude, a style with which to carry forward programs of promotion and assistance, enhancing the numerous and meritorious concrete works of sharing and solidarity that you support in various parts of Italy. This will also be a way proper to you to put into practice the grace of the Jubilee of Mercy. One of you might say to me: ”Ah, Father, to practice mercy ... we do some charity ...” It’s not enough to give assistance, it’s not enough to do some charity. This is not enough; this, perhaps, is the first step. It is necessary to orient economic activity in the evangelical sense, that is, at the service of the person and of the common good. In this perspective, you are called to make a business spirit of subsidiarity grow, to address at the same time ethical challenges and those of the market, first among all the challenges being to create good opportunities of work. Think of young people. I believe that 40% of young people here today are without work. In another neighboring country, 47%; in another neighboring country, more than 50%. Think of young people, but be creative in creating opportunities of work that go forward and give work, because he who does not have work not only does not bring bread home but loses his dignity! And contributing to trace this way are also the initiatives of encounter and study, which you carry out on the territory.
Business is a good of common interest, in as much as it is a good of property and of private management, by the simple fact that it pursues objectives of general interest and importance, such as, for instance, economic development, innovation and occupation, it should be protected in as much as a good in itself. Called to this work of protection in the first place are institutions, but also businessmen, economists, financial and banking agencies and all the subjects involved must not fail to act with competence, honesty and a sense of responsibility. The economy and business are in need of ethics for their correct functioning; not any sort of ethics, but rather an ethic that puts the person and the community at the center. Today I renew to you the mandate to commit yourselves together to this end; and you will bear fruits in the measure in which the Gospel is alive and present in your hearts, in your mind and in your actions.
I entrust you, your work, your families and your dependents to the protection of Saint Joseph the Worker, the great Saint Joseph. I invoke upon each of you the Lord’s Blessing. And I ask you, please, to pray for me: I give you this work also!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
Macedonian President Visits Pope
Consider nation's desires to join the European Union
The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, visited Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
The president went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
According to a working translation of a Vatican statement, during the discussions, "the Parties expressed their satisfaction at the existing good bilateral relations, and their hope for the realisation of the country’s aspirations and increasing efforts to join the European Union."
"Attention then turned to various themes of international politics in the current global context, also in relation to persistent difficulties of an economic and social nature, and the need for joint efforts to offer assistance to the great number of refugees arriving in the region," the statement added. "Finally, the Parties recognised the importance of further encouraging the co-existence of and dialogue between the various ethnic and religious groups in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Of Macedonia's 2 million people, most are Macedonian Orthodox (64.8%). A third of the population is Muslim, with other Christians making up less than 1%.
Pope’s Homily at Cemetery on All Saints Day
Reflecting on the Beatitudes: “This is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness”
At 4 pm on Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass at the entrance of Rome’s Verano Cemetery, which he followed with a prayer for the dead and blessing of the tombs.
Concelebrating with the Holy Father were the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini; Archbishop Filippo Iannone, Vice-Manager of the diocese of Rome; and the parish priest of Saint Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, Father Armando Ambrosi.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s homily.
* * *
We heard Jesus in the Gospel who teaches his disciples and the crowd gathered on the hill near Lake Galilee (cf. Matthew 5:1-12). The word of the risen and living Lord points out also to us today the way to reach true blessedness, the way that leads of Heaven. It is a difficult way to understand, because it goes against the current, but the Lord says to us that he who goes on this way is happy; sooner or later he becomes happy.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” We might ask ourselves how a person can be happy who is poor of heart, whose only treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven. But the reason is precisely this: that having a despoiled heart, free from so many worldly things, this person is “awaited” in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How can those who mourn be happy? And yet, he who in life has not experienced sadness, anguish, pain will never know the strength of consolation. Happy instead can be all those that have the capacity to be moved, the capacity to feel the pain that is in their life and in the life of others. These will be happy, because the tender hand of God the Father will console and caress them.
“Blessed are the meek.” And we, on the contrary, how often are we impatient, nervous, always ready to complain! We have so many demands on others, but when they touch us, we react by raising our voice, as if we were the owners of the world, while in reality we are all children of God. Let us think, rather, of those mothers and fathers that are so patient with their children, who “make them go mad.” This is the Lord’s way: the way of meekness and patience. Jesus followed this way: when he was little he endured persecution and exile; and then, as an adult, calumnies, traps, false accusation in court, and he endured everything with meekness. Out of love for us He also endured the cross.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.” Yes, those who have a strong sense of justice, and not only towards others, but first of all towards themselves, they will be satisfied, because they are ready to receive the greatest justice, which only God can give.
And then, “blessed are the merciful, because they will obtain mercy.” Happy those who are able to forgive, who have mercy on others, who do not judge everything and everyone, but try to put themselves in others’ shoes. Forgiveness is the thing of which we are all in need, no one excluded. Therefore, at the beginning of the Mass we recognize ourselves for what we are, namely, sinners. And it’s not a way of saying, a formality: it’s an act of truth. “Lord, behold me here, have mercy on me.” And if we are able to give forgiveness to others that we ask for ourselves, we are blessed. As we say in the “Our Father”: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.” We look at the face of those who go around sowing darnel: are they happy? Those who always seek occasions to embroil, to take advantage of others, are they happy? No, they cannot be happy. Instead those who every day, seek with patience to sow peace, are architects of peace, of reconciliation, these are blessed, because they are true children of our Father in Heaven, who always and only sows peace, to the point that He sent his Son into the world as seed of peace for humanity.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness. It is the way that Jesus followed, rather, He himself is this Way: one who walks with Him and passes through Him enters into life, into eternal life. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be simple and humble persons, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and especially the grace to allow ourselves to be forgiven by God to become instruments of His mercy.
This is what all the Saints did, who have preceded us in the eternal homeland. They accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage; they encourage us to go forward. May their intercession help us to walk on the way of Jesus, and obtain eternal happiness for our deceased brothers and sisters, for whom we offer this Mass.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
FULL TEXT: Pope's Angelus Address
'Are we aware of this great gift? We are all children of God!'
Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis' Angelus address Sunday at noon on the Feast of All Saints:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning and happy feast!
In today’s celebration, the Feast of All Saints, we feel the reality of the Communion of Saints to be particularly alive, namely our great family, made up of all the members of the Church, be it those of us who are still pilgrims on earth, be it those – immensely more – who have already left it and have gone to Heaven. We are all united, and this is called “Communion of Saints,” namely the community of all the baptized.
In the liturgy, the Book of Revelation recalls an essential characteristic of the saints and says this: they are persons that belong totally to God. It presents them as a multitude of “elect,” clothed in white and marked by the "seal of God” (cf. 7:2-4.9-14). Through this last particular, underscored with allegorical language, [it says] that the saints belong to God in a full and exclusive way; they are His property. And what does it mean to bear the seal of God in one’s life and in one’s person? The Apostle John also says: it means that, in Jesus Christ, we have become truly children of God (cf. 1 John 3:1-3).
Are we aware of this great gift? We are all children of God! Do we remember that in Baptism we received the “seal” of our Heavenly Father and became His children? To say it simply: we bear God’s surname, our surname is God, because we are children of God. Here is the root of the vocation to holiness! And the saints we remember today are precisely those who lived in the grace of their Baptism, they kept the “seal” intact, behaving as children of God, seeking to imitate Jesus, and now they have reached their goal because they finally “see God as he really is.”
A second characteristic proper to the saints is that they are examples to imitate. Let's pay attention: not only those who are canonized, but, so to speak, the “next door” Saints who, with the grace of God made the effort to practice the Gospel in the ordinariness of their life. We have also met these Saints; perhaps we had one in our family, or among our friends and acquaintances. We must be thankful to them and above all we must be thankful to God who has given them to us, who has put them close to us, as living and infectious examples of the way of living and of dying in fidelity to the Lord Jesus and to His Gospel. How many good people we have known and know, and we say: “But this person is a Saint!,” we say it; it comes spontaneously. These are the next door Saints, those not canonized but who live with us.
To imitate their gestures of love and mercy is somewhat like perpetuating their presence in this world. And, in fact, those evangelical gestures are the only ones that resist the destruction of death: an act of tenderness, a generous help, time spent listening, a visit, a good word, a smile ...These gestures might seem insignificant to our eyes, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, because love and compassion are stronger than death.
May the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, help us to trust more in God’s grace, to walk with speed on the way of holiness. We entrust to our Mother our daily endeavor, and we pray to her also for our dead in the profound hope of meeting again one day, all together, in the glorious communion of Heaven.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The painful episodes that in these last days have exacerbated the delicate situation of the Central African Republic, arouse in my spirit intense preoccupation. I appeal to the parties involved to put an end to this cycle of violence. I am spiritually close to the Comboni Fathers of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui, who are receiving numerous evacuees. I express my solidarity to the Church, to the other religious confessions and to the whole Central African nation, so harshly tried, while making every effort to overcome the divisions and take up again the path of peace. To manifest the prayerful closeness of the whole Church to this very afflicted and tormented nation and to exhort all Central Africans to be increasingly witnesses of mercy and reconciliation, I have in mind to open the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Bangui on Sunday, November 29, during the Apostolic Journey I hope to make to that nation.
Yesterday, at Frascati, Mother Teresa Casini was proclaimed Blessed, founder of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Contemplative and missionary woman, she made her life an oblation of prayer and concrete charity in support of priests. I thank the Lord for her witness
I greet all of you pilgrims, from Italy and from so many countries, in particular those of Malaysia and of Valencia, Spain.
I greet the participants in the Race of Saints and the March of Saints, promoted respectively by the Foundation “Don Bosco in the World” and by the “Family Small Church” Foundation. I appreciate these manifestations that offer a dimension of popular feast to the celebration of All Saints. In addition, I greet the Saint Cataldo Choir, the boys of Ruvo di Puglia and those of Papanice.
This afternoon, I will go to the Verano Cemetery, where I will celebrate Holy Mass in suffrage for the dead. On visiting the main cemetery of Rome, I will unite myself spiritually to all those that in these days go to pray at the tombs of their dear ones in every part of the world.
I wish peace and serenity to all in the spiritual company of the Saints. Happy Sunday and please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
At Angelus, Pope Announces Will Open Holy Door in Bangui
Also Appeals for Warring Parties in Central African Republic to End Violence
Ahead of Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Africa later t his month, Pope Francis has called on the Central African Republic's warring parties to put an end to the violence, and has expressed his desire to open the Holy Door in Bangui Cathedral.
During his Angelus address Sunday at noon, the Holy Father expressed “strong worry” for the “painful episodes of the past days that have worsened the situation in Central African Republic.”
The Holy Father will visit the capitals of Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic, Nov. 25-30, when he makes his first Apostolic trip to the continent where the Church is growing fastest in the world.
In addition to urging all the people of CAR to be "witnesses of peace" and to "work for reconciliation," Francis reminded those in the "afflicted" and "tormented" nation of his closeness to them.
Francis also gave thanks for the Comboni missionary fathers at the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima in the nation's capital of Bangui who are helping those displaced, and expressed the solidarity of the Catholic Church to other religious denominations and to the entire African nation, as they work toward peace and overcoming division.
Pope Expresses Condolences for Russian Plane Crash Over Sinai Peninsula
In Telegram, Assures Russian People of Prayers, Invokes God's Strength, Peace
Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to all the loved ones of those killed in a Russian plane that crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday.
In a telegram sent to President Vladimir Putin yesterday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the Pope's behalf, the Holy Father assured the Russian people of his prayers and invoked upon the nation and all involved in recovery efforts, the strength and peace of God.
Shortly after the Airbus A321, traveling from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, took off in the Sinai Peninsula, it crashed, claiming the lives of all 224 people on board. According to the head of Russia's federal aviation agency, the investigation into the crash's cause is underway.
Below is the text of the Pope's telegram, published by the Vatican yesterday.
HIS EXCELLENCY VLADIMIR PUTIN
PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
HAVING LEARNED WITH SADNESS OF THE TRAGIC CRASH OF THE RUSSIAN AIRLINE IN THE SINAI PENINSULA, HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS CONVEYS HIS CONDOLENCES TO YOU AND THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE. HE OFFERS THE ASSURANCE OF HIS PRAYERS FOR ALL WHO HAVE DIED AND FOR THOSE WHO MOURN THEIR LOSS. UPON THE NATION AND ALL INVOLVED IN THE RECOVERY EFFORTS HIS HOLINESS INVOKES THE STRENGTH AND PEACE OF ALMIGHTY GOD.
CARDINAL PIETRO PAROLIN
SECRETARY OF STATE
[Original Text: English]
[Provided by the Vatican]