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Pope at Santa Marta: Let’s Have Docility to Let Ourselves Be Transformed (Full Text of Morning Homily)

At Casa Santa Marta, Prays for Us to Use The Silence of This Time As an Opportunity

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Let us have the docility to let ourselves and our communities be transformed.

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this today, April 21, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.

At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of Coronavirus, Francis prayed we do not lose the opportunity the silence of this period offers us to learn from it.

“In this time,” Francis said, “there is a lot of silence. Silence can also be heard. That this silence, which is a bit new in our habits, teaches us to listen, makes us grow in listening skills. Let’s pray for this.”

In his homily, the Holy Father commented on today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 4: 32-37) which describes the life of the members of the first Christian community who had a single heart and a single soul and no one considered his belongings as his property, but among them everything was common, and none was needy.

The Holy Spirit, Pontiff underscored, is capable of doing these wonders. The first Christian community is an ideal or model, of what the Holy Spirit can do if we are docile.

The Holy Father warned against three elements which divide us, namely money, vanity and gossip, noting they disrupt our harmony. Speaking about money, the Argentine Pontiff lamented how many families do not even speak over inheritance debates.

“However,” Francis reminded, “the Spirit always comes with His strength to save us from the worldliness of money, of vanity and of gossip, because the Spirit isn’t the world: He is against the world; He is able to do these miracles, these great things.

The Jesuit Pope said we cannot take the Holy Spirit for ourselves, but that we can only let Him transform us. “And our docility opens the door to the Holy Spirit: it is He who does the change, the transformation — this rebirth from Above.”

Recalling in Acts when Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, Francis underscored that the Holy Spirit is able to do wonders, things of which we can’t even imagine.

This first Christian community, Francis reminded, isn’t a “fantasy,” but “a model,” “where we can arrive when there is docility and the Holy Spirit is allowed to enter and He transforms us.”

The Holy Spirit, Francis reminded, is the Teacher of harmony…

“Let us ask the Lord for this docility to the Spirit so that He may transform us and transform our communities, our parish, diocesan and religious communities, Pope Francis concluded, praying: so “that He may transform them, to always go forward in the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community.”

The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.

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. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.

Likewise, the Pope had a private Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, with very limited participation by others, at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. One could watch via streaming.

It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy 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, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.

In Italy where more than 24,000 people have died from coronavirus, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been seven cases of coronavirus; at least two people healed.

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:

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FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]

“Born from Above” (John 3:7) is to be born with the strength of the Holy Spirit. We cannot take the Holy Spirit for ourselves; we can only let Him transform us. And our docility opens the door to the Holy Spirit: it is He who does the change, the transformation — this rebirth from Above. It’s Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (Cf. Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit is able to do wonders, things of which we can’t even think. An example is this first Christian community, which isn’t a fantasy, what is said to us here isn’t a fantasy: it’s a model, where we can arrive when there is docility and the Holy Spirit is allowed to enter and He transforms us. A community — let’s say it so — which is “ideal.” It’s true that immediately after problems would begin, but the Lord makes us see up to where we can reach if we are open to the Holy Spirit, if we are docile. There is harmony in this community (Cf. Acts 4:32-37). The Holy Spirit is the Teacher of harmony, He is able to do it, and He did it here. He must do it in our heart: He must change so many things of ours, but effect harmony, because He Himself is harmony. Also, the harmony between the Father and the Son: He is love of harmony. And with harmony, He creates these things, such as this very harmonious community. However then, history tells us — the Book itself of the Acts of the Apostles — the many problems in the community. This is a model: the Lord permitted this model of an almost “heavenly” community to make us see where we must arrive.

However, divisions began in the community. In the second chapter of his Letter, the Apostle James, says: “Show no partiality as you hold the faith” (James 2:1), because they existed! “Don’t discriminate”: the Apostles must go out to admonish. And in chapter 11 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul laments: “I hear that there are divisions among you” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:18): internal divisions begin in the communities. And one must arrive at this “ideal,” but it isn’t easy: there are so many things that divide a community, be it a parish, or diocesan, or priestly community, or of men or women Religious . . . so many things enter to divide the community.

Seeing what the things are, which divided the first Christian communities, I find three: first, money. When the Apostle James says this — not to have personal favourites –, he gives an example because “if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your church, your assembly and immediately you take him to the front and you leave the poor man aside” (Cf. James 2:2), it’s money. Paul says the same thing: “The rich bring things to eat and they eat, and the poor remain standing” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:20-22), we leave them there as if to say to them: “Arrange yourselves as you can.” Money divides; the love of money divides the community, it divides the Church.

Many times, in the history of the Church, where there are doctrinal deviations — not always, but many times — money is behind them: money of power, be it political power, be it in cash, but it’s money. Money divides the community. Therefore, poverty is the mother of the community; poverty is the wall that protects the community. Money divides, personal interests <divide>, also in families. How many families end up divided over an inheritance? How many families? And they no longer speak to each other . . . How many families . . . are divided over an inheritance . . . it divides — money divides.

Vanity is something else that divides a community, the desire to feel oneself better than others. “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men” (Cf. Luke 18:11), — the Pharisee’s prayer. Vanity, feeling myself <better> . . . And also vanity in making myself seen, vanity in my habits, in my dress: how many times – not always but many times — the celebration of a Sacrament is an example of vanity, those that are dressed the best, who do this or that  . . . it’s vanity . . . at the greatest celebration . . . Vanity enters there also, and vanity divides, because vanity leads you to be a peacock and, where there is a peacock there is always division.

A third thing that divides a community is gossip. It’s not the first time I say it, but it’s the reality; it’s the reality, that thing which the devil puts in us, as a need to speak badly of others. “But what a good person she is . . . “– “Yes, yes, but however . . .” immediately a “but”, that is a stone to disqualify the other and I say immediately something that I heard and so I lower the other somewhat.

However, the Spirit always comes with His strength to save us from the worldliness of money, of vanity and of gossip, because the Spirit isn’t the world: he is against the world; He is able to do these miracles, these great things.

Let us ask the Lord for this docility to the Spirit so that He may transform us and transform our communities, our parish, diocesan and religious communities: that He may transform them, to always go forward in the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community.

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 that 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 now receive you sacramentally, 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 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.

(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,

Is risen, as He promised, alleluia.

Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).

 

 

 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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