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‘Keep Your Eyes Fixed Firmly on Christ’ – Pope’s Advice at 1st General Audience Since Summer Break

In the Midst of This Pandemic, Eyes on Christ & With This Faith, Embrace Hope His Kingdom Gives Us

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Aware of our vulnerability, we must keep our eyes fixed firmly on Christ…

In the midst of this pandemic, with strong faith, we must embrace the hope His Kingdom gives…

Pope Francis gave this advice this morning, Aug. 5, 2020, his first General Audience since his annual July break, after starting a new catechesis series on healing the world.

The Pontiff’s appeal came at the audience’s conclusion. Due to COVID19, the General Audiences continue to be held privately in the Vatican’s Apostolic Library and streamed for faithful worldwide.

“The pandemic continues to cause deep wounds, exposing our vulnerability,” the Pope began his audience saying, noting: “On every continent, there are many who have died, many are ill. Many people and many families are living a time of uncertainty.”

Thus,  he underscored, we must keep our gaze firmly fixed on Jesus.

“In the midst of this pandemic, our eyes on Jesus; and with this faith embrace the hope of the Kingdom of God that Jesus Himself brings us .”

Within the Christian tradition, faith, hope and charity, the Jesuit Pope suggested, are much more than feelings or attitudes. “They are virtues infused in us through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and are gifts that heal us and that make us healers, gifts that open us to new horizons, even while we are navigating the difficult waters of our time.”

Renewed

“Renewed contact with the Gospel of faith, of hope and of love,” he said, “invites us to assume a creative and renewed spirit. In this way, we will be able to transform the roots of our physical, spiritual and social infirmities and the destructive practices that separate us from each other, threatening the human family and our planet.”

The Pontiff recalled many examples of healing throughout Jesus’s ministry.

“In reality,” he pointed out, Jesus “heals not only the physical evil – which is true, physical evil – but He heals the entire person. In that way, He restores the person back to the community also, healed; He liberates the person from isolation because He has healed him or her.”

Christ’s actions, Francis observed, constitute “a direct response to the faith of those people, to the hope they put in Him, to the love they show that they have for each other.”

“And so, Jesus heals, but He does not simply heal the paralysis. Jesus heals everyone, He forgives sins, He renews the life of the paralyzed man and his friend. He makes him born again, let’s say it that way. It is a physical and spiritual healing, all together, the fruit of personal and social contact. Let’s imagine how this friendship, and the faith of all those present in that house, would have grown thanks to Jesus’s action, that healing encounter with Jesus!”

Let Us Ask Ourselves

“And so,” the Pontiff encouraged, “we can ask ourselves: today, in what way can we help heal our world? As disciples of the Lord Jesus, who is the physician of our souls and bodies, we are called to continue “His work, work of healing and salvation” (CCC, 1421) in a physical, social and spiritual sense.!

The Pontiff explained that over the next few weeks, he invites those following his audience “to tackle together the pressing questions that the pandemic has brought to the fore, social ills above all.”

“And we will do it in the light of the Gospel, of the theological virtues and of the principles of the Church’s social doctrine,” he said, noting: “We will explore together how our Catholic social tradition can help the human family heal this world that suffers from serious illnesses. It is my desire that everyone reflect and work together, as followers of Jesus who heals, to construct a better world, full of hope for future generations.”

At the end of the General Audience, the Pope recalled the horrendous and deadly explosions in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut yesterday, and called upon the International Community to help.

“Yesterday in Beirut, near the port,” Francis recalled, “there were massive explosions causing dozens of deaths, wounding thousands and causing serious destruction.”

“Let us pray for the victims, for their families,” he urged, adding: “let us pray for Lebanon so that, through the dedication of all its social, political and religious elements, it might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing.”

 

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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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