Sunday, May 10, 2020

Regina Caeli: the Farewell Discourse

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the Holy Father, Pope Francis led the recitation of the Regina Caeli from the Library inside the Vatican Apostolic Palace.  At the conclusion of the Regina Caeli, the Pope appeared at the window of his study and imparted his Apostolic blessing.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's gospel (cf Jn 14: 1-12) we hear the beginning of Jesus' so-called Farewell discourse.  These are the words he spoke to the disciples at the end of the Last Supper, just before facing the Passion. At such a dramatic moment, Jesus began by saying: Do not let your hearts be troubled (Jn 14: 1). He says this to us too, in the dramas of our life. But how can we keep our hearts from being troubled?  Because our hearts are troubled.

The Lord points out two remedies for our troubles. The first is: Have faith in me (Jn 14: 1). This seems to be a bit theoretical, abstract advice, but Jesus wants to tell us a specific thing. He knows that, in life, the worst anxiety, trouble, arises from the feeling of not making it, from feeling alone and without points of reference in the face of what is happening. This anguish, in which one difficulty is added to other difficulties, cannot be overcome alone. We need the help of Jesus, and it is for this reason that Jesus asks us to have faith in him, that is, not to lean on ourselves, but on him ... because liberation from the disturbance necessitates us entrusting our problems to him. Trust in Jesus, make the leap. And this is a means of release from our troubles. Jesus is risen and alive; he is always by our side, and we can say to him: Jesus, I believe you are risen and that you are beside me. I believe you listen to me. I bring you what troubles me, my worries: I have faith in You and I entrust myself to You.

Then there is a second remedy for this disturbance, which Jesus expresses in these words: In my Father's house there are many dwellings … I am going to prepare a place for you (Jn 14: 2). Here is what Jesus did for us: he has prepared us a place in Heaven. He took our humanity upon himself to carry it beyond death, to a new place, to Heaven, so that where He is we too can be. This is the certainty that consoles us: there is a place reserved for each one of us. There is a place for me too. Each of us can say: there is a place for me. We do not live aimlessly and without destination. We are expected, we are precious. God is in love with us, we are his children. And for us he has prepared the most worthy and beautiful place: Heaven. Let's not forget: the dwelling that awaits us is Heaven. Here we are passing through. We are made for Heaven, for eternal life, to live forever. Forever: it's something we can't even imagine now. But it is even more beautiful to think that this will be forever: in joy, in full communion with God and with others, without any more tears, without grudges, without divisions and troubles.

But how can we reach Heaven? What is the way? This is Jesus' most decisive declaration. Today he says: I am the way (Jn 14: 6). To go up to Heaven, the way is Jesus: it is a matter of having a living relationship with him, imitating him in love, and following in his footsteps. And I, a Christian, you, a Christian, each of us Christians, can ask ourselves: Which way should I follow? There are ways that do not lead to Heaven: the ways of worldliness, the ways of self-affirmation, the ways of selfish power. And there is the way of Jesus, the way of humble love, of prayer, of meekness, of trust, of service to others. It is not the way of my own heroism, it is the way of Jesus being the hero in my life. It is a matter of going on every day, asking him: Jesus, what do you think of my choice? What would you do in this situation with these people?  It would do us good to ask Jesus, who is the way, for directions to Heaven. May Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, help us to follow Jesus, who opened the path to Heaven for us.
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

My thoughts go today toward Europe and Africa.  To Europe, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration which was made on 9 May 1950.  This declaration inspired the process of European integration, which led to the reconciliation of the people of this continent following the Second World War, and the long period of stability and peace which we are enjoying today.  The spirit of the Shuman Declaration continues to inspire those who bear responsibilities within the European Union, called to confront the social and economic consequences of the pandemic in a spirit of harmony and collaboration.

And my regards go also to Africa, for on the 10 May 1980, forty years ago, Saint John Paul II, during his first pastoral visit to that continent, gave voice to the cry of the people of Sahel, who had been severely tested by drought.  Today, I would like to congratulate the young people who are committed to the Laudato Si' Tree initiative.  The objective is to plant at least a million trees in the Sahel region, trees that will be part of the Great Green Wall of Africa.  I hope that many others will follow the example of solidarity that is being exhibited by these young people.

And today, in many countries, we are celebrating Mothers' Day.  I wish to remember all our mothers with gratitude and affection, entrusting them to the protection of Mary, our heavenly mother.  My thoughts also extend to all mothers who have passed into the other life and who are now accompanying us on our journey to heaven.  Let us observe some silence to remember every one of our mothers (Silent pause).

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye.

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