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Regina Coeli Address: On Jesus’ New Commandment to Love One Another

‘He Asks Us to Love Each Other Not Only with Our Love but with His Love’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave May 19, 2019, before and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Before the Regina Coeli:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel takes us to the Cenacle, to make us listen to some of the words that Jesus addresses to His disciples in His “farewell address” before his Passion. After having washed the feet of the Twelve, He says to them: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. In what sense does Jesus call this a “new” commandment? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of His people to love their neighbor as themselves (Cf. Leviticus 19:18). Jesus Himself answered anyone who asked Him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, saying that the first is to love God with all one’s heart and the second to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Cf. Matthew 22:38-39).

So, what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to His disciples? Why does He call it a “new commandment”? The old commandment of love became new because it was complete with this addition: “as I have loved you,” “love one another as I have loved you.” The novelty is all in Jesus Christ’s love, that with which He gave his life for us. It’s about God’s love, <which is> universal, unconditional and limitless, which finds its summit on the cross. In that moment of extreme abasement, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God showed and gave the world the fullness of love. Rethinking the Passion and agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of His: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. “

Jesus first loved us; He loved us despite our fragility, our limitations, and our human weaknesses. It was He who enabled us to become worthy of His love, which knows no limits and never ends. By giving us the new commandment, He asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love but with His, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we invoke Him with faith. In this way — and only thus — we can love one another not only as we love ourselves, but as He has loved us, namely, immensely more. In fact, God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread everywhere the seed of love that renews relations between persons and opens horizons of hope. Jesus always opens horizons of hope; His love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new men, brothers, and sisters in the Lord, and it makes us the new People of God, namely the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and to love one another in Him.

The love that was manifested on the Cross and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus if we also love with this love. And this love makes us capable of loving enemies and of forgiving those that have offended us. I’ll ask you a question, each one answer in his heart. Am I able to love my enemies? We all have people — I don’t know if they are enemies, but who don’t agree with us, who are “on the other side,” or some have people who have hurt them . . . Am I able to love those people, that man or that woman who has hurt me, who has offended me? Am I able to forgive him/her? Each one answer in his heart.  The love of Jesus makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of Jesus’ friends; it stimulates us to dialogue and helps us to listen to one another and know one another mutually. Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relations. It makes us capable of overcoming the barriers of our own weakness and our prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways; triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with Her maternal intercession, to receive from Her Son Jesus the gift of His commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.

[Original text: Italian]  [[ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

After the Regina Coeli:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Beatified yesterday in Madrid was Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri, lay faithful of the Opus Dei, who served brothers with joy, combining the teaching and the proclamation of the Gospel. Her witness is an example for Christian women committed in the social realm and in scientific research.  Let us applaud, all together, the new Blessed!

My warm greeting goes to you, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular, to those who have come from Mexico, California, and Haiti; to the faithful of Cordoba (Spain) and of Viseu (Portugal) and to the students of Pamplona and Lisbon.

I greet the Canonesses of the Cross, on the centenary of their foundation; the leaders of Sant’Egidio Community from various countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular, the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who have come on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.

I greet the faithful of Biancavilla and Cosenza; those of Pallagorio with the choral, the Confirmation youngsters of Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir of San Marzano sul Sarno and that of Saint Michael in Bolzano; the School of the Daughters of Saint Anne of Bologna and the cyclists of the Bambino Gesu Hospital.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

About Virginia Forrester

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