Tag Archive for: Pope Francis

Becoming Saints by Working from Within

St. Angela Merici, is the founder of the Ursuline Order of religious sisters. The Ursulines were the first order of women religious who served God outside the cloister. Today as they did at their founding in 1534, the Ursulines educate women and girls and tend to the sick around the world. St. Angela is considered instrumental in reforming the Catholic Church during the tragedy of the great Christian division that became known as the Protestant Reformation.

No one argues that the Catholic Church was in need of reform when in 1517 then Catholic priest Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses; a list of what he condemned as excesses and corruption in the Church. No one argues this because the Church was, is and will always be in need of reform. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven,” at the time of Christ’s glorious return. Until that day, “the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations.” Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will “be united in glory with her king.” The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will “all the just from the time of Adam, ‘from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,’ . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father’s presence,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 769).

Men and women throughout the history of the Catholic Church have achieved sainthood by responding to the call of the Holy Spirit for reform. St. Theresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John of the Cross, St. Jean Vianney, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Francis of Assisi just to name a few.

St. Angela Merici, during the time thousands were choosing to leave the Catholic Church and follow Martin Luther and his teachings told her Ursuline sisters,

“Each one of you should first obey the commandments of God . . . Secondly, obey him who governs Mother Church, because He who is truth has said: “Who hears you, hears me, and who despises you, despises me.” And then in descending order, obedience is to be given to priests, the spiritual director, to mother and father, to the laws, statues and civil authorities.”

Today as it was then, the Catholic Church is undergoing great trials. Persecutions from the outside are numerous but more troubling to the unity Jesus Christ commanded of His disciples is the vitriol coming from within the Church. Any scroll through social media gives evidence of the divisions forming among priests, bishops, the religious, and lay faithful. But as the Catechism states, “The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials” (CCC, no. 769).

An Opportunity to Step Up and Serve

It is when these trials overburden the Church, the Holy Spirit works to form leader saints; men and women of faith who step up and work from within to reform her. We are witnessing the Holy Spirit’s call now through the Holy Father’s declaration to the Church for the  Synod of Synodality. Pope Francis says,

“Synodality is a style, it is a walk together, and it is what the Lord expects from the Church of the third millennium.”

The Pope gives three reasons why all Catholics should embrace this invitation to participate in the upcoming synodal process:

  1. To grow and thrive in the world we live in, the Catholic Church needs to strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission, which is why the Church of the third millennium must be a synodal one.
  2. The development of a synodal church will have a great impact in the field of ecumenism. The more we learn to listen and work together — with and under the pope — the better suited we will be to work and collaborate with other Christians
  3. The testimony of a synodal Church will have a positive impact in a world in which small and powerful groups tend to determine the fate of entire peoples.

Simply put, this Synod is to be the Church walking together so that we can all walk together!

The process of this Synod is in three phases. The current phase concluding in April 2022 is the Diocesan Phase when the Church calls on many voices to come to the table. Pastors throughout the world are calling on their parishioners to participate. For lay Catholics, this is our time to step up and respond to the Holy Spirit’s call for reform. When your pastor asks you to participate with the Synod, say yes! If he has not asked yet, ask him. Great saints are made during these times of trials of the Church . . . don’t miss the chance to be one of them!

Much of the information for this blog on Synod can be found at the Archdiocese of San Antonio website.


Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood, and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Journey with Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus

Looking for information about our Radio Encore Broadcast of Nazareth & St. Joseph?

Podcast Episode

This week’s virtual pilgrimage with Mary Jane Fox takes us on a journey with St. Joseph, chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus.

During this program, Mary Jane will discuss:

  • What we know about Joseph from Scripture
  • How the Church has directed us to Joseph
  • How Joseph is a role model for everyone
  • Much more!

Listen to this program on our podcast feeds starting Thursday, Nov. 25, on any of the following podcast services:

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify  Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Breaker Subscribe via RSS Feed


Jewel for the Journey

“I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to the glorious St Joseph, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant.” – St. Teresa of Avila


Prayer: Memorare to St. Joseph

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted.Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection.Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.

Joseph, Foster Father of the Redeemer

Pope Francis has proclaimed a year of St. Joseph, from December 8, 2020, through December 8, 2021. He wrote an Apostolic Letter titled Patris Corde (With A Father’s Heart).
Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a tender and loving father, an obedient and accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows. In this Letter, he writes about Joseph, his attributes, role and connects it with everyday life.

Find Hope in St. Joseph

Jesus, the Son of God had a father, Joseph who as a foster-father was present to Jesus from the beginning of his life. Joseph, the chaste spouse of Mary, loved, parented, protected, and guided Jesus from birth. To know Joseph can give us inspiration and hope. Joseph inspires us to have faith in God when the going gets tough; because he went through some very tough times and through his faith and trust in God the result was peaceful. Joseph can give us hope because he was confident in his role as a husband, a foster father. He is a role-model of faithfulness, trust, hope, and courage. How many of us look for those qualities in others? When we can trust someone, we feel more confident. We are assured they have the courage and confidence in making the right decisions that are for the good of all.

We can see this in Saint Joseph. We call him a Saint because of these virtues and his heroic life. What makes someone a Saint? To be clear, the Catholic Church doesn’t make someone a saint. The Church recognizes the holiness and heroic faithfulness of certain individuals and honors some with the title of “Saint”. Their cooperation with God’s grace makes them a Saint.

St. Joseph’s Responsibility

St. Joseph, though essential to God’s plan of salvation is relatively unnoticed in the Gospels. He is not quoted as saying one word. Although he knew God called him to fulfill an important role in the lives of Jesus and Mary, he did so without expecting any favors or recognition.

He was given the awesome responsibility of providing for the necessities of life for Mary and Jesus. Next to God, St. Joseph’s priority was his family. He used every means at his disposal to provide for security and the necessities of life for those in his care.  This he did through faithfulness, humility, and obedience, and he received no extraordinary reward during his lifetime except the joy and peace related to his faithfulness. His reward, like that of all the faithful — is everlasting happiness in heaven.

St. Joseph was a man of hope! Hope can be described as an unshakable trust and assurance that the promises of God will be fulfilled. A key to living a life of hope is trusting in God’s plan for us. Most of us would like to have at our disposal all the resources necessary for any crisis that might come our way; it is not possible. No one can prevent every tragedy, illness, or death that will be part of our life experience, but every one of us can be filled with hope when enduring trials if we are intimately connected to God in prayer and in His grace.

Find Inspiration in St. Joseph’s Witness

We see in St. Joseph what every man and woman can do. St. Joseph can be a paternal figure for us – he teaches us to trust in God’s plan for us while remaining in hope.  When children see their parent(s) praying and talking about God, it gives them a great sense of security.

Through his witness, Joseph has been an inspiration for millions of men and women through the centuries. Hundreds of churches have been named after him and thousands of men have chosen the name Joseph in admiration of his faithfulness.

Pope Francis is convinced that Joseph teaches us to set aside all anger and disappointment, and to embrace the way things are, even when they do not turn out as we wish. Not with mere resignation but with hope and courage.  Pope Francis is sure God used Joseph to achieve His purpose, and he is convinced God can use us, too.

Be inspired and learn more about this incredible man – Joseph!

 


Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Meet St. Joseph

This week’s virtual pilgrimage with Mary Jane Fox takes us to Nazareth in the Holy Land as we “meet” St. Joseph. We will discover who Joseph was and shed light on this man who has been called the Guardian of the Redeemer, the chaste spouse of Mary and Holy Patriarch among many other marvelous titles that point to his role.

During this program, Mary Jane will discuss:

  • Drawing hope and inspiration from St. Joseph.
  • St. Andre Bessette’s lifelong devotion to Saint Joseph.
  • Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter –  Patris Corde (With A Father’s Heart)
  • Much more!

Listen to this program now:


Jewel for the Journey:

“About Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch.” – St. Jose Maria Escriva


Prayer at the Conclusion of Patris Corde:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

 

Jesus: Where Peace is Found

In an Angelus address, Pope Francis teaches us where we can find the peace that lasts.

He says,

Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 1:21-28) tells of a typical day in Jesus’ ministry; in particular, it is the Sabbath, a day dedicated to rest and prayer: people went to the synagogue. In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus reads and comments on the Scriptures. Those present are attracted by his manner of speaking; their astonishment is great because he shows an authority that is different to that of the scribes (v. 22). Furthermore, Jesus shows himself to be powerful in his deeds as well. Indeed, a man of the synagogue lashes out, addressing him as the One sent by God: He recognizes the evil spirit, orders him to leave that man, and thus drives him out (vv. 23-26).

Jesus preaches with his own authority, as someone who possesses a doctrine derived from himself, and not like the scribes who repeated previous traditions and laws that had been handed down. They repeated words, words, words, only words […] that is how they were. Just words. Instead, Jesus’ words have authority; Jesus is authoritative. And this touches the heart. Jesus’ teaching has the same authority as God who speaks. 

Peace over Discord

Our instinct from experience teaches us that when we watch the news, read articles, and listen to people, we need to be wary of trusting what we see, read and hear. This constant need to hold up to judgment all information, assuming it is at least a half-truth and more than likely false, makes us skeptical people. We doubt everything.

This way of being causes unrest; discord. We lack the peace; tranquility that comes from believing we are receiving truth from what messages come at us.

Pope Francis explains why in Jesus we find true peace:

Indeed, with a single command, he easily frees the possessed man from the evil one and heals him. Why? Because his word does what he says.

To find the peace that only Jesus can provide takes some effort on our part. Specifically, we need to know what He says so we can understand what He will do in us.

This is done by reading Scripture, especially the Gospels. Pope Francis guides us in this:

Always, do not forget, carry a small copy of the Gospel in your pocket or in your bag, to read throughout the day, to listen to that authoritative word of Jesus. And then, we all have problems, we all have our sins, we all have spiritual afflictions; let us ask Jesus: “Jesus, you are the prophet, the Son of God, the one who was promised to us to heal us. Heal me!” Asking Jesus to heal our sins, our ills.

Choose to Believe

When I was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we visited Tabgha; the place where Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fishes, feeding over 5000 people. See Matthew 14:13-21. A Church is built over the rock where Jesus performed this miracle. As I prayed there, kneeling in front of the Tabernacle where our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament, I heard Him speak in my heart,

“I still perform miracles. What do you want multiplied?”

My instinct is to doubt, but instead, I choose instead to believe. I take the Lord at His word and I answer Him, “Charity, Lord. I need charity.”

It has been almost seven years since that pilgrimage, and to this day, I feel our Lord’s charity filling me to overflowing . . . and bringing His Peace along with it!

Peace is found in Jesus Christ.

Here are 3 steps to finding Peace:

  1. Read and Meditate on what Jesus did and said in the Gospels.
  2. Ask Jesus to act through His Word. He loves when we remind Him of what He speaks through Scripture. Do not hesitate to ask big!
  3. Do not doubt; choose to believe He will act as He says.

Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood, and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

How God Is Your Friend

No matter how much you live the experience of these years of your youth, you will never know their deepest and fullest meaning unless you encounter each day your best friend, the friend who is Jesus.

For the past several weeks, we have been discovering through Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ exhortation to young people and people of all ages, that Jesus is alive! It may be news to you that God is your friend. The remainder of this blog focuses on this great news.

153. Friendship is so important that Jesus calls himself a friend: “I do not call you servants any longer, but I call you friends” (Jn 15:15). By the gift of his grace, we are elevated in such a way that we truly become his friends. With the same love that Christ pours out on us, we can love him in turn and share his love with others, in the hope that they too will take their place in the community of friendship he established. And even as he enjoys the complete bliss of the life of the resurrection, we, for our part, can work generously to help him build his kingdom in this world, by bringing his message, his light, and above all his love, to others (cf. Jn 15:16). The disciples heard Jesus calling them to be his friends. It was an invitation that did not pressure them, but gently appealed to their freedom. “Come and see”, Jesus told them; so “they came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day” (Jn 1:39). After that unexpected and moving encounter, they left everything and followed him.
154. Friendship with Jesus cannot be broken. He never leaves us, even though at times it appears that he keeps silent. When we need him, he makes himself known to us (cf. Jer 29:14); he remains at our side wherever we go (cf. Jos 1:9). He never breaks his covenant. He simply asks that we not abandon him: “Abide in me” (Jn 15:4). But even if we stray from him, “he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:13).
155. With a friend, we can speak and share our deepest secrets. With Jesus too, we can always have a conversation. Prayer is both a challenge and an adventure. And what an adventure it is! Gradually Jesus makes us appreciate his grandeur and draw nearer to him. Prayer enables us to share with him every aspect of our lives and to rest confidently in his embrace. At the same time, it gives us a share in his own life and love. When we pray, “we open everything we do” to him, and we give him room “so that he can act, enter and claim victory”.

As our staff discussed this, we saw the mission of Pilgrim Center of Hope in the words of St. Oscar Romero:

“Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, rules to be followed, or prohibitions. Seen that way, it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and claims my love. Christianity is Christ”.

Pope Francis concludes this encouraging section on friendship with these inspiring words:

157. Jesus can bring all the young people of the Church together in a single dream, “a great dream, a dream with a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, to your heart and mine. To your heart too, he brought that fire, in the hope of finding room for it to grow and flourish. A dream whose name is Jesus, planted by the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. A concrete dream who is a person, running through our veins, thrilling our hearts and making them dance”.

We hope you have enjoyed this dip into the waters of the ocean of Church teaching contained in papal encyclicals such as Christus Vivit. We encourage you to read the entire document as we are called as Catholics to keep learning our faith. The magnificence of our 2000 years of Catholicism is the libraries of teaching we can discover. The wonder of our day and time is that those libraries are available at the click of mouse! We encourage you to visit the Church’s website of the Holy See at www.Vatican.va. Papal documents can be found by clicking on the pope or the century. Amazing! Make it journey; pick a document and go. You can dive in wherever you want and stay as long as want.


Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Catholic Women’s Conference can be experienced both in-person OR live-streaming! Join us 10/31/2020 for a day of fellowship, inspiration, music, prayer and encouragement in our dignity and calling as women and daughters of God. Register at CWCSanAntonio.com and discover more about Pilgrim Center of Hope at PilgrimCenterofHope.org.

How to Live to the Fullest, Today!

Our world is filled with beauty!

In these times of worry and anxiety due to fears of pandemic and social unrest, the Church comes to bring hope!

In his encyclical, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis exhorts young people and people of all ages to remember that Jesus is alive! He is God and God does not forsake us!

145. Contrary to what many people think, the Lord does not want to stifle these desires for a fulfilling life. We do well to remember the words of an Old Testament sage: “My child, treat yourself well, according to your means, and present your offerings to the Lord; do not deprive yourself of a day’s enjoyment, do not let your share of desired good pass by” (Sirach 14:11.14). The true God, who loves you, wants you to be happy. For this reason, the Bible also contains this piece of advice to young people: “Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth… banish anxiety from your mind” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10). For God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
146. How could God take pleasure in someone incapable of enjoying his small everyday blessings, someone blind to the simple pleasures we find all around us? “No one is worse than one who is grudging to himself” (Sirach 14:6). Far from obsessively seeking new pleasures, which would keep us from making the most of the present moment, we are asked to open our eyes and take a moment to experience fully and with gratitude every one of life’s little gifts.
147. Clearly, God’s word asks you to enjoy the present, not simply to prepare for the future: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own; today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34). But this is not the same as embarking irresponsibly on a life of dissipation that can only leave us empty and perpetually dissatisfied. Rather, it is about living the present to the full, spending our energies on good things, cultivating fraternity, following Jesus and making the most of life’s little joys as gifts of God’s love.
148. Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, when imprisoned in a concentration camp, refused to do nothing but await the day when he would be set free. He chose “to live the present moment, filling it to the brim with love”. He decided: “I will seize the occasions that present themselves every day; I will accomplish ordinary actions in an extraordinary way”. As you work to achieve your dreams, make the most of each day and do your best to let each moment brim with love. This youthful day may well be your last, and so it is worth the effort to live it as enthusiastically and fully as possible.
149. This can also be applied to times of difficulty, that have to be fully experienced if we are to learn the message they can teach us. In the words of the Swiss Bishops: “God is there where we thought he had abandoned us and there was no further hope of salvation. It is a paradox, but for many Christians, suffering and darkness have become… places of encounter with God”. The desire to live fully and experience new things is also felt by many young people with physical, mental and sensory disabilities. Even though they may not always be able to have the same experiences as others, they possess amazing resources and abilities that are often far above average. The Lord Jesus grants them other gifts, which the community is called to recognize and appreciate, so that they can discover his plan of love for each of them.


Pilgrim Center of Hope invites all women to experience God’s desire for your abundant life by participating in the upcoming Catholic Women’s Conference, which can be experienced both in-person OR live-streaming! Join us October 31, 2020 for a day of fellowship, inspiration, music, prayer and encouragement in our dignity and calling as women and daughters of God. Register at CWCSanAntonio.com.

How to Stay Authentically Yourself Today

Everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies. -Carlo Acutis, who will be Beatified this year

In the apostolic exhortation, Christus VivitPope Francis writes to both young people and the entire people of God about current issues we experience. He brings up the dangers of the digital environment and the opportunities it provides. He speaks about the immigration crisis and how mass movement of people across the globe can bring us in greater unity with one another.Pope Francis gives us hope through this encyclical that the Church is with us here and now. It speaks to those of us trying to navigate our ‘new normal’ of work at home and school online worlds.

He shows how the Church does not fear to go into the dark places of the world and shine the light of the Gospel. The remainder of this blog is from Christus Vivit; the inspiring story of Carlo Acutis, a boy who loved computers and loved Jesus more! He died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15 and lived a life that has earned him sainthood. Venerable Carlo will be beautified this October.

104. I remind you of the good news we received as a gift on the morning of the resurrection: that in all the dark or painful situations that we mentioned, there is a way out. For example, it is true that the digital world can expose you to the risk of self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure. But don’t forget that there are young people even there who show creativity and even genius. That was the case with the Venerable Carlo Acutis.
105. Carlo was well aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity. Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty.
106. Carlo didn’t fall into the trap. He saw that many young people, wanting to be different, really end up being like everyone else, running after whatever the powerful set before them with the mechanisms of consumerism and distraction. In this way they do not bring forth the gifts the Lord has given them; they do not offer the world those unique personal talents that God has given to each of them. As a result, Carlo said, “everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies”. Don’t let that happen to you!
107. Don’t let them rob you of hope and joy, or drug you into becoming a slave to their interests. Dare to be more, because who you are is more important than any possession. What good are possessions or appearances? You can become what God your Creator knows you are, if only you realize that you are called to something greater. Ask the help of the Holy Spirit and confidently aim for the great goal of holiness. In this way, you will not be a photocopy. You will be fully yourself.


Rejoice in Hope! You are invited to a virtual multi-day event to raise hope! Join the journey at PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Rejoice

How Do I Know God Is Real?

He [Jesus] fills your life with his unseen presence; wherever you go, he will be waiting there for you. Because he did not only come in the past, but he comes to you today and every day, inviting you to set out towards ever new horizons.

Here we are at the last of the three truths in Pope Francis,’ “great message for all young people” in his encyclical, Christus Vivit. The first truth, God Loves You, is such an overabundant love He cannot bear to be without you, so he sends His only Son to save you, the second truth. This flows right into the third truth that God is not “[…] simply a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago.” Jesus is alive!

The remainder of this blog is paragraphs 124-129 of Christus Vivit. Pope Francis inspires us to enter into a relationship with Jesus:

124. Finally, there is a third truth, inseparable from the second: Christ is alive! We need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because we can risk seeing Jesus Christ simply as a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago. But that would be of no use to us: it would leave us unchanged, it would not set us free. The one who fills us with his grace, the one who liberates us, transforms us, heals and consoles us is someone fully alive. He is the Christ, risen from the dead, filled with supernatural life and energy, and robed in boundless light. That is why Saint Paul could say: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Corinthians 15:7).

125. Alive, he can be present in your life at every moment, to fill it with light and to take away all sorrow and solitude. Even if all others depart, he will remain, as he promised: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He fills your life with his unseen presence; wherever you go, he will be waiting there for you. Because he did not only come in the past, but he comes to you today and every day, inviting you to set out towards ever new horizons.

126. See Jesus as happy, overflowing with joy. Rejoice with him as with a friend who has triumphed. They killed him, the holy one, the just one, the innocent one, but he triumphed in the end. Evil does not have the last word. Nor will it have the last word in your life, for you have a friend who loves you and wants to triumph in you. Your Saviour lives.

127. Because he lives, there can be no doubt that goodness will have the upper hand in your life and that all our struggles will prove worthwhile. If this is the case, we can stop complaining and look to the future, for with him this is always possible. That is the certainty we have. Jesus is eternally alive. If we hold fast to him, we will have life, and be protected from the threats of death and violence that may assail us in life.

128. Every other solution will prove inadequate and temporary. It may be helpful for a time, but once again we will find ourselves exposed and abandoned before the storms of life. With Jesus, on the other hand, our hearts experience a security that is firmly rooted and enduring. Saint Paul says that he wishes to be one with Christ in order “to know him and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). That power will constantly be revealed in your lives too, for he came to give you life, “and life in abundance” (John 10:10).

129. If in your heart you can learn to appreciate the beauty of this message, if you are willing to encounter the Lord, if you are willing to let him love you and save you, if you can make friends with him and start to talk to him, the living Christ, about the realities of your life, then you will have a profound experience capable of sustaining your entire Christian life. You will also be able to share that experience with other young people. For “being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”.


Rejoice in Hope! You are invited to a virtual multi-day event to raise hope! Join the journey at PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Rejoice

How Does Jesus Save Us?

The Lord’s love is greater than all our problems, frailties and flaws. Yet it is precisely through our problems, frailties and flaws that he wants to write this love story.

In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit written to young people (and to people who want to be young again!), Pope Francis tells us there are three truths worth note. We learned the first truth that God is Love in our last blog.

The second truth Pope Francis reveals is that Christ Saves You. The remainder of this blog is paragraphs 118-123 of Christus Vivit. Pope Francis encourages us to trust in Jesus whose very name means God Saves.

118. The second great truth is that Christ, out of love, sacrificed himself completely in order to save you. His outstretched arms on the cross are the most telling sign that he is a friend who is willing to stop at nothing: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
Saint Paul said that his life was one of complete trust in that self-sacrificing love: “I now live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
119. The same Christ who, by his cross, saved us from our sins, today continues to save and redeem us by the power of his total self-surrender. Look to his cross, cling to him, let him save you, for “those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness”. And if you sin and stray far from him, he will come to lift you up by the power of his cross. Never forget that “he forgives us seventy times seven. Time and time again, he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness that never disappoints but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew”.
120. “We are saved by Jesus because he loves us and cannot go against his nature. We can do any number of things against him, yet he loves us and he saves us. For only what is loved can be saved. Only what is embraced can be transformed. The Lord’s love is greater than all our problems, frailties and flaws. Yet it is precisely through our problems, frailties and flaws that he wants to write this love story. He embraced the prodigal son, he embraced Peter after his denials, and he always, always, always embraces us after every fall, helping us to rise and get back on our feet. Because the worst fall, and pay attention to this, the worst fall, the one that can ruin our lives, is when we stay down and do not allow ourselves to be helped up”.
121. His forgiveness and salvation are not something we can buy, or that we have to acquire by our own works or efforts. He forgives us and sets us free without cost. His self-sacrifice on the cross is so great that we can never repay it, but only receive it with immense gratitude and with the joy of being more greatly loved than we could ever imagine: “He loved us first” (1 John 4:19).
122. Young people, beloved of the Lord, how valuable must you be if you were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ! Dear young people, “you are priceless! You are not up for sale! Please, do not let yourselves be bought. Do not let yourselves be seduced. Do not let yourselves be enslaved by forms of ideological colonization that put ideas in your heads, with the result that you end up becoming slaves, addicts, failures in life. You are priceless. You must repeat this always: I am not up for sale; I do not have a price. I am free! Fall in love with this freedom, which is what Jesus offers”.
123. Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt. Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew.


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