Repent and change your life…
Return faithfully to the Lord …
Renounce your idols and other sources of security…
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this today, April 14, two days after Easter Sunday, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of Coronavirus, the Holy Father prayed that God give us the grace of unity.
“In these difficult times,” Pope Francis prayed, “may He allow us to discover the communion that binds us and the unity which is always greater than any division.”
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on St. Peter’s invitation to conversion on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-41), when he told the people of Jerusalem to repent and change their ways.
“And Peter,” Francis said, “is clear: “Repent, repent, change your life, you who received God’s promise and you who forsook God’s Law, your many things, among them idols, so many things . . . Repent. Return to fidelity” (Cf. Acts 2:38). This is what repentance is: to return to be faithful.”
Fidelity, the Argentine Pontiff recognized, isn’t always a common attitude in people’s life, in our life. “There are always illusions that attract our attention and so often we want to go after these illusions.”
The Pope also called on faithful to abandon ‘what they turn to,’ which is not God, namely their idols. He noted that often being self assured and comfortable, lends itself to unfaithfulness in one way or another.
He said, even if we do not ‘kneel’ before these idols, if we still tend to turn to them, it is time to start abandoning them.
We need to radically return to the Lord, the Pope suggested.
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.
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:
FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
Peter’s preaching pierces the people’s heart: “He whom you crucified is risen” (Cf. Acts 2:36). On hearing “this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37). And Peter is clear: “Repent, repent, change your life, you who received God’s promise and you who forsook God’s Law, your many things, among them idols, so many things . . . Repent. Return to fidelity” (Cf. Acts 2:38). This is what repentance is: to return to be faithful. Fidelity — that human attitude that isn’t so common in people’s life, in our life. There are always illusions that attract our attention and so often we want to go after these illusions — fidelity, in good times and in bad times. There is a passage in the Second Book of Chronicles that strikes me a lot. It’s in chapter 12, at the beginning. “When the rule of Rehoboam was established — it says — and was strong, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him (Cf. 2 Chronicles 12:1), thus says the Bible. It’s a historical fact, but in fact, it’s a universal fact. Many times, when we feel secure, we begin to make our plans and, slowly, we forsake the Lord; we don’t remain faithful. And my security isn’t that which the Lord gives me but an idol. This is what happened to Rehoboam and the people of Israel. They felt secure — in an established kingdom — they forsook the law and began to render worship to idols. Yes, we can say: “Father, I don’t kneel before idols.” No, perhaps you don’t kneel, but the fact is true that you seek them and adore them many times in your heart — many times. One’s own security opens the door to idols.
However, is our security evil? No, it’s a grace. To be secure, but to be secure knowing that the Lord is with me. However, when there is security and I am at the center, I forsake the Lord, as king Rehoboam, and I become unfaithful. It’s so difficult to remain faithful. The whole history of Israel, and then the whole history of the Church, is full of infidelity — full: full of egoisms, of one’s securities that make the people of God forsake the Lord and lose their fidelity, the grace of fidelity. And also among us, among people, fidelity certainly isn’t a common virtue. One isn’t faithful to another, to another . . . “Repent, return to faithfulness to the Lord” (Cf. Acts 2:38).
And in the Gospel, the icon of fidelity is that faithful woman who never forgot all that the Lord had done for her. She was there, faithful, before the impossible, before the tragedy, a fidelity that makes her think also that she is able to carry the body . . . (Cf. John 20:15) – a weak but faithful woman, the icon of fidelity of Mary of Magdala, Apostles of the Apostles.
Let us ask the Lord today for the grace of fidelity, to thank Him when He gives us securities, bur never to think that they are “my” securities and always to look beyond our securities; the grace to be faithful also before sepulchres, before the collapse of so many illusions. A fidelity that remains always, but that is not easy to maintain. May it be He, the Lord, who guards it.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to maker a Spiritual Communion.
Here Is the Prayer Recited by the Pope:
O my Jesus, I prostrate myself at your feet 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, the ineffable 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 be able to inflame my whole being in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.
Before leaving the Chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the ancient Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide.
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,
Has risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).