What is most important is to remain in Jesus….
Pope Francis stressed this today, April 1, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, reported Vatican News.
The Holy Father noted that when we remain in the Lord and in His word, that is when we are really His disciples. The Jesuit Pope pointed out that the Lord does not say what is necessary is learning or studying, as He takes that for granted.
When we remain in Christ, Francis underscores, we become free again, we are no longer consumed by other things and priorities.
Discipleship, he stressed, makes us free. And this remaining in the Lord, is what constitutes our identity as Christians. He observed that if we are well educated in the faith and doctrine, that is important, but you are not entirely with Christ, you are not really a disciple.
Today, the Holy Father prayed for all “who work in the media, who work to communicate.”
“They are working,” he said, “so that people are not so isolated; for the education of children, to help us to bear this time of isolation.”
In today’s homily, the Holy Father reflected on the struggle between Jesus and the Doctors of the Law over His identity. When Jesus in the end backs them into a corner, the Pope suggested, the Doctors resort to blasphemy and insults.
Before concluding, the Pope exhorted faithful to partake in Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, and ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.
Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation.
It was announced this month that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time.
The Vatican has also published the Pope’s Holy Week and Easter schedule, confirming this year’s events will not welcome the physical presence of the faithful, and the events will be made available via streaming.
This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, following guidelines put out by Italian authorities.
In addition to Santa Marta, the Vatican has taken other steps to keep people safe and to stay close to the Pope, even if from a distance. They are televising the Pope giving privately, from the papal library, his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.
The Vatican Museums are now closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is available below:
In these days, the Church has us listen to John’s eighth chapter: it’s the very intense discussion between Jesus and the Doctors of the Law. And, above all, it seek to have one see one’s own identity: John seeks to bring us close to that struggle to clarify the identity, be it of Jesus, be it the identity of the Doctors. Jesus put them in the corner, making them see their own contradictions. And, in the end, they find no way out but insult: it’s one of the saddest pages, it’s a blasphemy; they insult Our Lady.
However, speaking of identity, Jesus says to the Jews who had believed in Him, He counsels them: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” That very dear word of the Lord returns, which He will repeat so many times, and then in the Supper: remain. “Remain in Me.” Remain in the Lord. He doesn’t say: study well, learn the arguments well; He takes this for granted. Howeve, He goes to the most important thing, that which is the most dangerous for life if it’s not done: remain. “Continue in my word,” and those that continue in Jesus’ word have their own Christian identity. And, what is it? “You are truly my disciples.” Christian identity isn’t a card that says: “I am a Christian,” an identity card, no. It’s discipleship. If you remain in the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the life of the Lord, you will be a disciple. If you don’t remain in Him, you will be one that sympathizes with the Doctrine, that follows Jesus as a man that does so much charity, who is so good, who has right values; however, discipleship is in fact the true identity of a Christian.
And it’s discipleship that will give us freedom: a disciple is a free man because he remains in the Lord. And, what does it mean to “remain in the Lord”? It means to allow oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The disciple allows himself to be guided by the Spirit; therefore, a disciple is always a man of tradition and of novelty, he is a free man — free, never subject to ideologies, to doctrines within the Christian life, doctrines that can be argued . . . he remains in the Lord, it is the Spirit that inspires. When we sing to the Spirit, we say to Him that He is a guest of the soul, that he dwells in us, but this <is true> only if we remain in the Lord.
I ask the Lord to make us know this wisdom of remaining in Him and to make us know that familiarity with the Spirit: the Holy Spirit gives us freedom. And the anointing is His. He who remains in the Lord is a disciple, and a disciple is one who is anointed, and anointed by the Spirit, who has received the anointing of the Spirit and takes it forward. This is the way that Jesus makes us see for freedom and also for life. And discipleship is the anointing that those receive who remain in the Lord.
May the Lord make us understand this, which isn’t easy: because the Doctors didn’t understand it; it’s not understood with the head; this wisdom of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which makes us disciples, is understood with the head and with the heart.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
Here is the Prayer Recited by the Pope:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer You the repentance of my heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in your holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of your Love, the Eucharist. I desire to receive you in the poor abode that my heart offers You; while waiting for the happiness of Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May your Love inflame my whole being in life and in death: I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You.
Before leaving the Chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the ancient Marian antiphon Ave Regina Caelorum (“Hail Queen of Heaven”) was intoned:
“Hail, Queen of Heaven, hail, Lady of the Angels; door and root of salvation, bring light into the world. Delight, glorious Virgin, beautiful among all women; hail, O holy one, pray for us to Christ the lord.”[Working translation by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]