CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Daily Feed
Feb. 18, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?
Feb. 4, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking
St. Nicholas School, Kinsley, Advent Cantata, Dec. 7, 2008
Click on the photo below for the 41-minute concert.
Vatican astronomer: If you're afraid of science, you don't have faith
The Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, who has worked as an astronomer and planetary scientist at the
Vatican for more than 20 years, told journalists recently that faith and reason are hardly at odds.
“If you have no faith in your faith, that is when you will fear science,” Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., said May 8.
He spoke to journalists at a press conference ahead of a May 9-12 summit on “Black Holes, Gravitational Waves, and Space-Time Singularities” being held in Castel Gandolfo at the Vatican Observatory, just outside Rome.
“The Vatican Observatory was founded in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII to show that the Church supports good science, and to do that we have to have good science,” Br. Consolmagno said, explaining the reasoning behind the conference.
The hope is that the encounter will foster good science, good discussion, and even friendship. Among the speakers will be a Nobel Prize winner in physics and a Wolf Prize winner.
Among the topics of papers being presented at the conference are Strong evidence for an accelerating universe; Black hole perturbations: a review of recent analytical results; and Observing the Signature of Dynamical Space-Time through Gravitational Waves.
“Those of us that are religious, will recognize the presence of God, but you don't have to make a theological leap to search for the truth,” Br. Consolmagno said. “There are many things we know we do not understand. We cannot be good religious people or scientists if we think that our work is done.”
The summit is also taking place in recognition of Fr. Georges Lemaître, the Belgian physicist and mathematician who is widely credited with developing the “Big Bang” theory to explain the origin of the physical universe.
Addressing common misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang, such as the idea that it did away with the need for a creator, Br. Consolmagno said the solution isn’t just to put God at the beginning of things and call that good, either.
“The creative act of God is not something that happened 13.8 billion years ago,” he said. “God is already there before space and time exist. You can't even say ‘before’ because he is outside of time and space.”
The creative act is happening continuously: “If you look at God as merely the thing that started the Big Bang, then you get a nature god, like Jupiter throwing around lightning bolts.”
“That's not the God that we as Christians believe in,” he went on. “We must believe in a God that is supernatural. We then recognize God as the one responsible for the existence of the universe, and our science tells us how he did it.”
The organizer of the conference, Fr. Gabriele Gionti, S.J., said Fr. Lemaître always distinguished between the beginnings of the universe and its origins.
“The beginning of the universe is a scientific question, to be able to date with precision when things started. The origins of the universe, however, is a theologically charged question.”
Answering that question “has nothing at all to do with a scientific epistemology,” he added.
Br. Consolmagno commented that “God is not something we arrive at the end of our science, it’s what we assume at the beginning. I am afraid of a God who can be proved by science, because I know my science well enough to not trust it!”
“An atheist could assume something very different, and have a very different view of the universe, but we can talk and learn from each other. The search for truth unites us.”
He suggested that to demonstrate that the Church and science are not at odds, those who are both church-goers and scientists should make that fact more known to their fellow parishioners.
He threw out some practical ideas, such as setting up a telescope in the church parking lot or leading the parish’s youth group on a nature hike.
The Church, in a sense, developed science through the medieval universities she founded, he explained. For example, Bishop Robert Grosseteste, a 13th century Bishop of Lincoln and chancellor of Oxford University, helped develop the scientific method and was often cited by Roger Bacon.
“If there is a rivalry” between the Church and science, Br. Consolmagno said, “it's a sibling rivalry.”
“And it's a crime against science to say that only atheists can do it, because if that were true, it would eliminate so many wonderful scientists.”
What was Sr. Lucia's advice after Fatima visions? Pray. Everyday.
Fatima, Portugal, May 11, 2017 / 05:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The niece of Fatima visionary Sr. Lucia dos Santos said her aunt was a normal person like everyone else, but shared some personal advice that her saintly relative used to give: to pray at least something every day.
“She always asked me to pray the rosary every day, because there were many who did not pray,” Maria dos Anjos, niece of Fatima visionary Lucia dos Santos, told CNA in an interview.
“This was what Our Lady asked: that we pray the rosary every day. Because there were many who didn't pray and because of this many souls went to hell because there was no one to pray for them,” she said.
Anjos, who only saw her aunt when they went to visit her in the convent, said the advice Lucia always gave her was to pray daily, and “that I not forget.”
She recalled that in a few of the conversations she had with her aunt, she confessed to not finishing the rosary because she was tired, having worked hard in the fields all day.
In response, Lucia didn’t reproach, but instead told her to “always start it, and if you don’t finish, Our Lady will finish it.”
Anjos, 97, is the daughter of one of Lucia’s older sisters. She grew up in the house directly across the street from where Lucia and her family used to live, and continues to live there with one of her sons today. Every evening she can be seen sitting on the front porch area with a rosary in hand.
While now there are paved streets and cars driving past the houses and tourist shops set up near Lucia’s house, which is now preserved as a museum and is open to the public for visits, Anjos said that when she was growing up, “there wasn’t anything here...just a mountain and some sheep and donkeys.”
Although she was only one year old at the time Lucia entered the convent, Anjos said her family would go to visit whenever they could.
Lucia, she said, “was a sister like the others. There was no difference. She was just like the other sisters who were in the convent,” and was always “joyful” – both as a child and as a religious sister.
Recalling memories that her mother had shared of her and Lucia’s childhood, Anjos said Lucia was a normal child like everyone else, and never lacked playmates.
“Many children came to play with her because their parents went to the wine estates and left their children here, because there was always someone at the house of Lucia’s mother who looked after the kids,” Anjos said.
Her grandmother and mother to Lucia, Maria Rosa Farreira, was catechist, and would also teach the children who came to the house while their parents were away.
Faith was always a big part of their family, even before the apparitions, Anjos said, explaining that “we always prayed the rosary, we went to Mass every Sunday, we did what we saw that could be done.”
After the apparitions of Mary, “we continued, doing more, and remembering that Our Lady asked us to pray more and to make more sacrifices,” she said, jesting that “we do our homework well.”
She recalled being able to attend Mass with Pope John Paul II during one of his three visits to Fatima, saying she was able to receive communion from him alongside her aunt, Sister Lucia.
“When communion came, I received communion from his hands, from the hands of the Holy Father. I liked it a lot,” she said, adding “you always like good things, do you not?”
Though she wasn’t able to speak with John Paul, Anjos said she was still “very happy,” and is equally content to welcome Pope Francis during his May 12-13 visit for the centenary of the Fatima apparitions.
During the visit, Francis will also canonized the two other Fatima visionaries – Francisco and Jacinta Marto – who were Lucia’s younger cousins, but died shortly after the apparitions took place.
“I am very glad they will be canonized,” she said, explaining that in her and her family’s mind, the siblings were already saints. Though it will now become official, she said she believes devotion to them will be “the same,” since people had already viewed them as holy.
While she’s sad she won’t be able to attend this Mass personally, Anjos said she’ll be watching it on TV, which she said is enough to make her happy.
Noting an uptick in visits to the shrine, Anjos said that many people, her family included would pray the rosary and visit the shrine after the apparitions, but “it seems that we have more devotion.”
“I think that faith has increased here and in the whole world,” she said. “At least I think it has, because many people come here, and that’s why we have to (pray) more and more. I think it did a lot of good for people to have Our Lady appear here.”
Pope: Mary's 'yes' echoes the joy, suffering of every mother
Vatican City, May 10, 2017 / 05:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Days before his trip to Fatima, Pope Francis said Mary’s ‘yes’ at the Annunciation was more than a yes to bearing the Son of God, but was also an acceptance of everything she would endure after – something every mother experiences with a new child.
“It was not easy to answer with a ‘yes’ to the angel's invitation; yet she, a woman still in the flower of youth, answers with courage, despite not knowing anything about the fate that awaited her.”
“Mary at that moment looks like one of the many mothers of our world, brave to the extreme when it comes to welcoming in her womb the story of a new human being who is growing,” he said May 10.
Her ‘yes’ to the angel at the Annunciation was just the first step “in a long list of obedience” leading to the moment she stands at the foot of her Son’s cross, the Pope said.
During his general audience, Pope Francis centered his catechesis on the few lines from the Gospel of John that describe Mary “standing by the cross of Jesus.” Though Mary is largely a silent figure in the Gospels, she listens and “ponders every word and every event in her heart.”
“The Gospels are laconic, and extremely subtle. They record with a simple verb the presence of the Mother: She ‘was standing,’ she was standing,” he said, noting that “nothing is said of her reaction: if she weeps, if she does not weep ... nothing; not even a brushstroke to describe her grief.”
Throughout history poets and painters have imagined this moment in art and literature, “but the Gospels just say, she was ‘standing.’ She was there, in the worst moment, in the cruelest time, and suffered with her son,” but “she was standing,” Francis said.
Though there had been a “slow eclipse” of her presence in the Gospels, she returns at this crucial moment when many others had fled.
“Mothers do not betray, and at that moment, at the foot of the cross, none of us can say whose was the cruelest passion; whether that of an innocent man who dies on the scaffold of the cross, or the agony of a mother who accompanies the last moments of her son's life,” he said.
And she doesn’t get angry or protest: she simply stands and listens, Pope Francis said, pointing to the relationship between listening and the virtue of hope.
Despite everything, even the “deepest darkness,” Mary does not leave, but stands faithfully, he said. “That's why we all love her as a Mother...We are not orphans: we have a Mother in heaven, who is the Holy Mother of God.”
Mary, he said, teaches to us “the virtue of waiting, even when everything seems meaningless: she is always confident in the mystery of God.”
Even though she didn’t know what the outcome of her Son’s Passion would be, she is loyal to the plan of God, just as she promised to the angel “on the first day of her vocation,” Francis said, explaining that it is also part of her motherly instinct to suffer for her child.
“The suffering of mothers: We have all known strong women that braved the many sufferings of their children!” he said.
Even in the first days of the Church, before Christ’s resurrection is known and the disciples are all afraid, the “Mother of Hope” stays, Francis said. “She was simply there, in the most normal of ways, as if it were a natural thing.”
Thus, he concluded, “in moments of difficulty, Mary, the Mother Jesus has given to us all, can always support our steps, can always say to our heart: ‘Get up! Look ahead, look at the horizon,’ because she is a Mother of Hope.”
What Catholic leaders had to say about US missile strikes in Syria
Washington D.C., Apr 7, 2017 / 03:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo expressed regret and disappointment at Thursday’s U.S. missile strikes in Syria, saying he hoped for “a political solution.”
“We were very sorry,” Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo responded to Thursday’s night’s missile strike by the United States on a Syrian government airbase near Homs, in retaliation for what the U.S. said was a chemical attack conducted by government forces on civilians.
The archbishop had hoped the U.S. “would have done something toward peace and reconciliation and a political solution” in Syria, and would first have investigated to prove that forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were indeed responsible for the use of chemical weapons.
The U.S. launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat Syrian airbase near Homs on Friday morning (local time), destroying several warplanes and killing six. Several civilians were injured, but all of those killed and seriously injured were soldiers. The missiles were launched from two destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea.
President Trump said the attack was in response to the deaths of dozens of Syrians from poison gas on Tuesday following a bombing in the Idlib province by Syrian government forces.
About 98 have died so far from the gas and over 5,000 are injured, a doctor on the ground in the area, Dr. Ahmad Dbais from the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, told CNA. They showed symptoms of exposure to sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent, and not chlorine, he said.
Trump blamed Assad and his forces for conducting a chemical weapons attack – a violation of international law and a war crime. Assad for his part has denied the culpability of Syrian forces in the deaths, and his Russian allies said that Syrian bombs had hit buildings where Syrian rebels were manufacturing chemical weapons, spreading the gasses.
The Syrian airbase used for Tuesday’s bombing was targeted on Thursday by U.S. forces, President Trump noted.
“Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children,” the President stated from Mar-a-Lago, Fla. on Thursday night. “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”
Russia's military was informed of the strike in advance, the Pentagon has said.
Leading U.S. bishops called Friday for a political solution to the conflict in Syria. The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and the head of the International Justice and Peace Committee, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, issued the joint statement.
“The use of internationally banned indiscriminate weapons is morally reprehensible,” they stated of the chemical attacks. “At the same time, our Conference affirmed the call of Pope Francis to attain peace in Syria 'through dialogue and reconciliation.'”
“The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask the United States to work tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.”
In late 2012 and throughout 2013, several reports came out of Syria alleging the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. In September 2013, UN chemical weapons inspectors confirmed that sarin was used in one of the attacks taking place Aug. 21, 2013. Estimated death tolls from these attacks range from at least 300 to as many as 1,500 killed. Over 3,600 people were wounded in the attacks.
On September 7, 2013, Pope Francis held a vigil for peace in Syria and other conflicts around the world. “Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace,” Pope Francis said of the vigil.
After criticism of the attacks from the United States and the international community, U.S. and Russian delegations helped to strike an agreement in September 2013 requiring Syria to disclose its chemical weapons and facilities to the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The organization moved to shut down and dispose of the facilities and weapons, and by the end of 2014, Syria’s chemical weapons were declared destroyed, along with 24 of the 27 chemical weapons production facilities.
However, U.S. intelligence reports indicated that Syria had not disclosed the entirety of its program to inspectors. Furthermore, reports kept surfacing of continued use of chemical agents in attacks against civilian targets in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In 2015 and 2016, the OPCW and UN partners conducted a fact-finding investigation into some of these attacks.
The group concluded it had “sufficient evidence” that the Assad regime targeted civilians with chlorine gas – a chemical weapon that was not specifically required for destruction by the previous agreement, but which is nevertheless banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW and UN panel also concluded that the Islamic State had used a “sulphur-mustard” chemical weapon in Syria in 2014 and 2015.
Archbishop Jeanbart expressed his wish that the U.S. had investigated first to ensure who were the perpetrators of Tuesday’s deaths by gas before taking military action.
“Of course, if the government in Syria has used the gas and chemical weapons, we agree that he shouldn’t do [this] and he must be punished,” he told CNA. “But I am afraid they didn’t have time to check and to make sure that he [Assad] did it himself.”
“What is making us unhappy and sad is that this strike has come too quickly,” he added. “They would have been able to do it any time later. They would have been able, in this situation, to ask Russia make pressure on the government to withdraw, and perhaps it could have been a reason to impose and oblige Bashar Assad to step out.”
“But I do not understand what happened, and it has been more destruction and more sadness and more terror coming to our people.”
By citing the responsibility borne by those in positions of political authority, Pope Francis “expects some kind of political response,” Dr. Joseph Capizzi, a professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America, explained to CNA of Pope Francis’s appeal to the conscience of political leaders responsible for Tuesday’s atrocities.
Pope Francis was probably looking for the international community to “exert some pressure” on the perpetrators, he added, and this could include the proportional use of force.
Thursday night’s missile strike showed a “judicious use of force,” he said. Action was needed “to enforce international law and international treaties” on the use of chemical weapons.
While “one would prefer” that there be “international concerted action” instead of one world power – in this case, the U.S. – taking action, some variables could have prompted a unilateral action here, he explained.
First, the response to the use of chemical weapons – an attack on an airbase used to launch bombings in the region – needed to be swift and a surprise in order to be successful, he said, and an international action would have taken time to form – if it formed at all.
Also, he noted, the world was watching – in particular, North Korea and China. Amid North Korea’s ballistic missile test launch this past week, the Trump administration showed that it may act “in a more decisive manner” when international interests are at stake, Capizzi said.
With Chinese president Xi Jingping visiting the White House this week, Thursday’s attack could function as a message to China to hold North Korea in check.
However, there must be measures taken to prevent Thursday’s attack from morphing into a greater military struggle in the region, Capizzi acknowledged, especially as the situation in Syria has grown more complex in recent years with the involvement of Russia.
As history has shown, “small, limited uses of force on the international level can expand,” he reflected.
Don't send a mother who fled drug cartels back to Mexico, archdiocese pleads
Cincinnati, Ohio, Apr 8, 2017 / 05:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- U.S. immigration authorities should show mercy on a detained Catholic mother with a special needs child, who fled Mexico when drug cartels began to persecute her family, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said this week.
The archdiocese emphasized that Maribel Trujillo-Diaz has a pending asylum case, has no criminal record in the U.S., and is caring for her four children, one of whom has seizure-causing disabilities and requires special care.
“We urge that our elected and administrative officials exercise mercy for Maribel,” the archdiocese said April 6.
A parishioner and lector at St. Julie Billiart Parish in Hamilton, Trujillo-Diaz fled Mexico in 2002. She entered the U.S. illegally, but has a pending asylum case based on the fact that her family is being targeted by Mexican drug cartels.
Trujillo-Diaz and her family refused to work for a local Mexican drug cartel. Her father was kidnapped by the cartel last year, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“We fully respect the Department of Homeland Security’s duty to enforce our immigration laws, and we recognize that this is not an easy task,” said the archdiocese. “At the same time, it is clear that the common good cannot be served at this stage by separating this wife and mother from her family.”
Trujillo-Diaz regularly reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. At her Monday April 3 appointment, the archdiocese said, she was told she could remain at home as her case was further reviewed.
On April 5, ICE officials arrived at her brother’s house as she was preparing for work and took her into custody for imminent deportation.
The Cincinnati archdiocese called her detention “cruel and unacceptable,” praising Trujillo-Diaz as “a devoted wife and mother and outstanding member of her church and community.”
“Maribel has made a life in Ohio based on positive contributions to her church and her community. She has no criminal history,” the Cincinnati archdiocese said. “She is a lay leader at her parish, whose members are surrounding her with prayers that she be permitted to remain with them and her family.”
“Maribel’s children, ages 14, 12, 10 and 3, are all U.S. citizens,” the archdiocese said. “Her 3-year-old daughter has recurring seizures and requires the attention and care of her mother.”
Kathleen Kersh, Trujillo-Diaz’s lawyer, said she is the only person who can care for her 3-year-old, having received medical training to detect and treat seizures. Another child suffers from early-onset diabetes.
An ICE spokesperson said the woman’s appeal efforts had been exhausted.
“Maribel Trujillo’s immigration case has undergone review at multiple levels of our nation’s legal system and the courts have uniformly held that she has no legal basis to remain in the United States,” the spokesperson said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Trujillo-Diaz became subject to deportation in 2014 when the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed her appeals. Last year her lawyer filed an effort to re-hear her case, citing her father’s kidnapping.
She was close to deportation in previous years. Thousands of area Catholics and other supporters rallied then to ask authorities to allow her to stay.
Last year, immigration officials, acting under prosecutorial discretion, decided she was low priority and no threat to public safety.
Her lawyer said at her March 6 check-in, officials implied they would seek her deportation.
“They told her, and this is exactly what they said: ‘We have a new president now. I don’t know if you are aware’,” Kersh said.
“I think the Trump administration is only looking at numbers and not looking for those people who are criminals or are a threat to public safety,” Kersh continued.
In a February letter, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati had spoken on behalf of Trujillo-Lopez.
“Our church and our community gain nothing by being left with a single-parent household when such a responsible and well-respected family can be kept together,” he said, citing Catholic teaching’s emphasis on the family as “the highest organization of human society.”
The archdiocese is asking Ohioans to contact U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Gov. John Kasich to encourage them to ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop Trujillo’s deportation.
This Holy Week, look for Jesus in those who suffer, Pope says
Vatican City, Apr 9, 2017 / 03:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Palm Sunday Pope Francis said that as Holy Week begins, we should contemplate not only the glory with which Jesus is recognized as king as he enters Jerusalem, but also the suffering he endures before his death, and which is seen in the many who suffer due to war, violence and slavery today.
As the Church enters into the week before Jesus’ Passion and death, the Lord “does not ask us to contemplate him only in pictures and photographs, or in the videos that circulate on the internet. No.”
Instead, Jesus is present “in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own: they suffer from slave labor, from family tragedies, from diseases.”
Many people also suffer from “wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike. Women and men who are cheated, violated in their dignity, discarded.”
The Pope’s words came at the same time a bomb attack took place on the Coptic Christian Church of Mar Gerges in the northern city of Tanta, Egypt, as worshippers packed the area to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass. According to the Associated Press, at least 21 were killed and around 40 others wounded in the blast.
“Jesus is in them, in each of them, and, with marred features and broken voice, he asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved,” the Pope said.
The presence of God in each of these brothers and sisters is not “some other Jesus,” the Pope said, but is “the same Jesus who entered Jerusalem amid the waving of palm branches. It is the same Jesus who was nailed to the cross and died between two criminals.”
“We have no other Lord but him: Jesus, the humble King of justice, mercy and peace,” he said, and encouraged faithful to reflect on Jesus’ suffering during Holy Week and to look for him in the faces of those among us who suffer.
As usual, Pope Francis celebrated his April 9 Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, beginning with the blessing of palms at the obelisk in the center of the piazza. After the blessing, he led a short procession up to the main altar, where he continued with the celebration of the rest of the Mass.
The Mass coincided with the 32nd World Youth Day, which this year holds the theme “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name,” and is the first step in preparing for the global 2019 WYD encounter in Panama.
To mark the occasion, a delegation of 200 youth from Panama, a number of other Central American countries and Mexico were present in the square to receive the WYD cross and the Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani” from Polish youth, who hosted the global 2016 event in Krakow.
In his homily during Mass, Pope Francis said the celebration of Palm Sunday is “bittersweet,” since there is both joy and sorrow as the Church recalls the cries acclaiming him as king during his entrance into Jerusalem, but which is accompanied by the solemn proclamation of his Passion and death.
“In this poignant contrast, our hearts experience in some small measure what Jesus himself must have felt in his own heart that day, as he rejoiced with his friends and wept over Jerusalem,” he said.
“Jesus himself sees in this joyful welcome an inexorable force willed by God,” he said, but noted that while he enters the city in this glorious manner, Jesus “is no misguided purveyor of illusions, no new age prophet, no imposter.”
“Rather, he is clearly a Messiah who comes in the guise of a servant, the servant of God and of man, and goes to his passion. He is the great ‘patient,’ who suffers all the pain of humanity,” he said, and encouraged faithful to reflect on the suffering Jesus would face in the week before his death.
As we listen to the crowd joyfully acclaim Jesus as our King, let us also reflect on “the slanders and insults, the snares and betrayals, the abandonment to an unjust judgment, the blows, the lashes and the crown of thorns, and lastly, the way of the cross leading to the crucifixion,” the Pope said.
Pointing to the passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples that if anyone wants to follow him, “let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” Francis noted that “Jesus never promised honor and success. The Gospels make this clear.”
Rather, the Lord had always warned his disciples that his was a path of suffering, and that the final victory would be achieved through his Passion and death on the cross.
“All this holds true for us too,” the Pope said, and urged those present to pray for the grace “to follow Jesus faithfully, not in words but in deeds.”
He also encouraged them to pray for the patience “to carry our own cross, not to refuse it or set it aside, but rather, in looking to him, to take it up and to carry it daily.”