Pope Francis greets the faithful at his weekly general audience



‘God’s love has no limits’

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Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address at this morning’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square:
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Our reflection on God’s mercy introduces us today to the Easter Triduum. We will live Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday as intense moments, which enable us to enter increasingly in the great mystery of our faith: the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything in these three days speaks of mercy, because it renders visible the point that God’s love can reach. We will listen to the account of the last days of Jesus’ life. The evangelist John offers us the key to understand the profound meaning: “He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). God’s love has no limits. As Saint Augustine often repeated, it is a love that goes “to the end without end.” God truly offers Himself wholly for each one of us and does not spare Himself in anything. The Mystery we adore in this Holy Week is a great story of love that knows no obstacles. Jesus’ Passion lasts until the end of the world, because it is a story of sharing with the sufferings of the whole of humanity and a permanent presence in the events of the personal life of each one of us. In sum, the Easter Triduum is the memorial of a drama of love that gives us the certainty that we will never be abandoned in life’s trials.
On Holy Thursday Jesus institutes the Eucharist, anticipating in the paschal banquet His sacrifice on Golgotha. To make His disciples understand the love that animates Him, He washes their feet, offering once again a personal example of how they must act. The Eucharist is love that becomes service. It is the sublime presence of Christ, who wishes to satisfy the hunger of every man, especially of the weakest, to render him capable of giving witness through the difficulties of the world — but not only this. In giving Himself to us as food, Jesus attests that we must learn to break this nourishment with others, so that it becomes a true communion of life with all those in need. He gives Himself to us and asks us to abide in Him to do the same.
Holy Friday is the culminating moment of love. The death of Jesus, who on the cross abandons Himself to the Father to offer salvation to the whole world, expresses the love given to the end, without end. A love that intends to embrace all, no one excluded. A love that extends to every time and place: an inexhaustible source of salvation from which each one of us, sinners, can draw. If God has shown His supreme love in Jesus’ death, then we also, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, can and must love one another.
And, finally, Holy Saturday is the day of God’s silence. It must be a day of silence. We must do everything possible so that it is a day of silence, as that Day, which was the day of God’s silence. Jesus placed in the sepulcher shares with the whole of humanity the tragedy of death. It is a silence that speaks and expresses love as solidarity with all those ever abandoned, which the Son of God reaches filling the emptiness that only the infinite mercy of God the Father can fill. God is silent, but out of love. In this day love, that silent love, becomes expectation of life in the resurrection. We think of Holy Saturday: it will do us good to think of the silence of Our Lady, “the Believer,” who in silence awaited the Resurrection. Our Lady must be the icon for us of that Holy Saturday. To think much of how Our Lady lived that Holy Saturday, in expectation. It is a love that does not doubt, but that hopes in the Lord’s word, and which becomes manifest and splendid on Easter day.
It is all a great mystery of love and mercy. Our words are poor and insufficient to express it fully. We can be helped by the experience of a not well-known girl, who wrote sublime pages on the love of Christ. Her name was Julian of Norwich; she was illiterate, this girl who had visions of Jesus’ Passion and who then, having become a recluse, described in simple but profound and intense language, the meaning of merciful love. She said this: “Then our good Lord asked me: ‘Are you happy that I suffered for you?’ I said: ‘Yes, good Lord, and I thank you very much; yes, good Lord, may you be blessed.” Then Jesus, our good Lord, said: “If you are happy, so am I. To have suffered the Passion for you is a joy for me, a happiness, and eternal bliss; and if I could suffer more, I would do so.’” This is our Jesus, who says to each one of us: “If I could suffer more for you, I would do so.”
How beautiful these words are! They enable us to truly understand the immense and limitless love that the Lord has for each one of us. Let us be enveloped by this mercy that comes to us and, in these days, while we have our gaze fixed on the Passion and Death of the Lord, let us receive in our heart the greatness of His love and, as Our Lady on Saturday, in silence, in the expectation of the Resurrection.
{Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT] The Holy Father’s Greetings to Italian-speaking Faithful and Pilgrims
Dear Italian-speaking pilgrims: welcome! I am happy to receive the participants in the UNIV Congress for University students, promoted by the Opus Dei Prelature. I greet the members of the Italian School and Cultural Center of Toronto, with the Bishop, Monsignor Nicola De Angelis; the participants in the “Montefortiana” march of Verona and the Association of Italian Jurists. May the visit to the Eternal City, on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy, make everyone discover the joy of giving, through the works of mercy, which fills the heart more than receiving.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. The Easter Triduum, heart of the Liturgical Year, begins tomorrow. Dear young people, may Easter make you reflect on God’s love for us demonstrated with His death on the cross; dear sick, may Holy Friday teach you patience in the dark moments of the cross; and you, dear newlyweds, fill your new family with the joy of the Resurrection.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT] THE HOLY FATHER’S APPEAL
With a grieving heart I followed the sad news of the terrorist attacks that happened yesterday in Brussels, which caused numerous victims and wounded. I assure my prayer and my closeness to the dear Belgian population, to all the relatives of the victims and to all the wounded. I address again an appeal to all persons of good will to unite in unanimous condemnation of these cruel abominations, which are only causing death, terror and horror. I ask all to persevere in prayer and in asking the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, in this Holy Week, to comfort the afflicted hearts and to convert the hearts of these persons blinded by cruel fundamentalism. Let us pray: “Hail Mary, …” Now, in silence, let us pray for the dead, for the wounded, for their relatives, and for all the Belgian people.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]  

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