Wrapping up his quick trip to Sweden, the Pope celebrated Mass today for the small Catholic community of the nation, noting that today’s celebration of All Saints reminds us that sanctity is the secret to authentic happiness.
Toady’s Mass was a “celebration of holiness,” the Pope said, “a “holiness that is seen not so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.”
The Holy Father spoke of not only the canonized saints but the many “brothers and sisters who, in a quiet and unassuming way, lived their Christian life in the fullness of faith and love,” saying that among them surely are “many of our relatives, friends and acquaintances.”
The Pope said that all these diverse people have one thing in common: “if there is one thing typical of the saints,” he said, “it is that they are genuinely happy.”
“They found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed.”
The Catholic community of Sweden is only 1.15% of the population of the country, with some 113,000 faithful, served by two bishops, 141 priests and some 250 religious.
Speaking of the Beatitudes, the Holy Father said that these are for the saints “their path, their goal, their native land.”
“The Beatitudes are the image of Christ and consequently of each Christian,” he added, calling them later in the homily the “Christian’s identity card” marking us as “followers of Jesus.”
Pope Francis focused on one Beatitude: “Blessed are the meek,” saying that meekness is Jesus’ “spiritual portrait.”
“Jesus says of himself: ‘Learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart.’
“Meekness is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another. It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity.”
The Pope pointed to saints of the land he’s visiting, Saint Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, recently canonized, and Saint Bridget, Birgitta of Vadstena, co-patron of Europe.
“They prayed and worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians,” he said. “One very eloquent sign of this is that here in your country, marked as it is by the coexistence of quite different peoples, we are jointly commemorating the fifth centenary of the Reformation. The saints bring about change through meekness of heart. With that meekness, we come to understand the grandeur of God and worship him with sincere hearts. For meekness is the attitude of those who have nothing to lose, because their only wealth is God.”
The Holy Father said that in following Jesus, “we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy” and he proposed some beatitudes for our day:
— Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart.
— Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness.
— Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.
— Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
— Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
— Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
The Pope concluded, reminding that “the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith.”
“The saints spur us on by their lives and their intercession before God, and we ourselves need one another if we are to become saints,” he said. “Together let us implore the grace to accept this call with joy and to join in bringing it to fulfilment.”
The Holy Father also prayed the midday Angelus after the Mass, saying:
I thank God that I was able to visit this land and to meet with you, many of whom have come from all over the world. As Catholics, we are part of a great family and are sustained in the same communion. I encourage you to express your faith in prayer, in the sacraments, and in generous service to those who are suffering and in need. I urge you to be salt and light, wherever you find yourselves, through the way you live and act as followers of Jesus, and to show great respect and solidarity with our brothers and sisters of other churches and Christian communities, and with all people of good will.
In our life, we are not alone; we have the constant help and companionship of the Virgin Mary. Today she stands before us as first among the saints, the first disciple of the Lord. We flee to her protection and to her we present our sorrows and our joys, our fears and our aspirations. We put everything under her protection, in the sure knowledge that she watches over us and cares for us with a mother’s love.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-mass-in-malmo/
Full text Angelus: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-angelus-in-malmo/