Pray to and learn from St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta…
Pope Francis encouraged this today, April 2, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for victims of Coronavirus.
Today, the Holy Father prayed for the homeless, lamenting that “these days of sorrow and sadness highlight so many hidden problems.”
Specifically, the Argentine Pontiff made reference to a photograph featured in the daily papers, which he said, touches the heart.
“So many homeless people in a city, huddling in a parking lot…,” he observed, recognizing: “there are so many homeless people today.”
According to Vatican News, the Pope invited faithful to ask St. Teresa of Calcutta to awaken in each of us a closeness to those “who live, hidden, in the cracks of society,” such as the homeless and those whose plight, in these moments of crisis, is so evident.
The Pope’s homily this Thursday morning focused on the day’s readings from the Book of Genesis and from St. John’s Gospel. They both, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, focus on the figure of Abraham, on the Covenant with God and how Jesus comes to “remake” creation by forgiving our sins.
“The Lord has made us a promise and now He asks us to enter into a Covenant, a Covenant of faithfulness,” he said.
Francis reminded that we are Christians due to the fact that God has elected and chosen us.
Pope Francis concluded his homily, stating: “This is the revelation that the Word of God gives us today about our Christian existence. Let it be like that of our father: conscious of being chosen, joyful in going towards a promise and faithful in making the Covenant.”
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 can be read below:
The Lord has always remembered His Covenant. We repeated it in the Responsorial Psalm. The Lord doesn’t forget; He never forgets. Yes, He forgets only in one case, when He forgives sins. After having forgiven He loses His memory, He doesn’t remember the sins. In <all> other cases, God doesn’t forget. His fidelity is memory; His fidelity with His people. His fidelity with Abraham is the memory of the promises He made. God chose Abraham to undertake a way. Abraham is a chosen one; he was a chosen one. God chose him. Then in that election, He promised him an inheritance and today, in the passage of the Book of Genesis, there is a further step. As for you, my Covenant is with you — the Covenant. A Covenant that makes him see far his fecundity: you will become the Father of a multitude of nations. The election, the promise and the Covenant are the three dimensions of the life of faith, the three dimensions of Christian life. Each one of us is a chosen one. No one chooses to be Christian among all the possibilities that the religious “market” offers him; he is a chosen one. We are Christians because we were chosen. In this election there is a promise; there is a promise of hope, the sign is fecundity: “Abraham will be Father of a multitude of nations and . . . you will be fruitful in faith. Your faith will flower in works, in good works, also in fruitful works – a fruitful faith. However, you must — the third passage — observe the Covenant with Me.” And the Covenant is fidelity, to be faithful. We have been chosen; the Lord has given us a promise, now He asks us for a Covenant, a Covenant of fidelity. Jesus says that Abraham exulted with joy thinking, seeing his day, the day of the great fecundity, that Son of his — Jesus was a son of Abraham — who came to redo Creation, which is more difficult than to do it, says the liturgy — He came to undertake the redemption of our sins, to free us. A Christian is Christian not because he can make the faith of Baptism seen: the faith of Baptism is a paper. You are a Christian if you say yes to the election that God made of you, if you go behind the promises the Lord has made to you, and if you live a Covenant with the Lord: this is the Christian life. The sins on the way are always against these three dimensions: not to accept the election and we, <ourselves>, “choosing” many idols, so many things that aren’t of God; not to accept hope in the promise, to go, to look at the promises from a distance, many times also – as the Letter to the Hebrews says – hailing them from afar and acting so that <our> promises are today with the small idols that we make; and to forget the Covenant, to live without the Covenant, as if we were without the Covenant. Fruitfulness is joy, that joy of Abraham who saw the day of Jesus and was full of joy. This is the revelation that the Word of God gives us today on our Christian existence. May it be like that of our Father: conscious of being chosen, joyful to go towards a promise and faithful in fulfilling the Covenant.
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:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. As I cannot receive You sacramentally now, come at least spiritually into my heart. As if you have already come, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from 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, gate and root of salvation, bring light into the world. Delight, glorious Virgin, beautiful among all women; Hail All Holy One, pray for us to Christ the Lord.”