Quotes from Pope Francis

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Hope


The disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future

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To hope is to resist evil. To hope is to see the world through the eyes and heart of God. To hope is to place all one’s trust in the mercy of God, who is the Father and who always forgives all.

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Hope involves suffering. Hope can accept suffering as part of building something; it is able to sacrifice. Are you able to sacrifice for the future, or do you simply want to live for the day and let those yet to come fend for themselves? Hope is fruitful. Hope gives life. Are you able to be life-giving?

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 Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and can open us up to grand ideals which make life more beautiful and worthwhile. I would ask each one of you: What is it that shapes your life? What lies deep in your heart? Where do your hopes and aspirations lie? Are you ready to put yourself on the line for the sake of something even greater?

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Hope is the virtue which goes places. It isn’t simply a path we take for the pleasure of it, but it has an end, a goal which is practical and lights up our way.
To keep moving forward in life, in addition to knowing where we want to go, we also need to know who we are and where we come from.

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Hope is a path taken with others. An African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others”. Isolation and aloofness never generate hope; but closeness to others and encounter do. Left to ourselves, we will go nowhere. Nor by exclusion will we be able to build a future for anyone, even ourselves. A path of hope calls for a culture of encounter, dialogue, which can overcome conflict and sterile confrontation.

Faith

Jesus Himself says in the Gospel: ‘But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.’ If we are not ‘sheep of Jesus’, faith does not come to us. It is a rosewater faith, a faith without substance

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Let Christ and his word enter your life; let the seed of the Word of God enter, let it blossom, and let it grow. God will take care of everything, but let him work in you and bring about this growth.

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Let us not be afraid to cross the threshold of faith in Jesus, to let him enter our life more and more, to step out of our selfishness, our closure, our indifference to others so that Jesus may illuminate our life with a light that never goes out. It is not a firework, a flash of light. No, it is a peaceful light that lasts for ever and gives us  peace.

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Let us, therefore, set aside every type of arrogance in order to bow before those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, let us keep a very special place for our priests. Especially for them our hearts, our hands, and our doors must stay open at all times. They are the first faithful that we bishops have: our priests

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Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit has enabled us to live as true sons and daughters of God. This faith brings us freedom and happiness

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Love

A love that fails to grow is at risk. Growth can only occur if we respond to God’s grace through constant acts of love, acts of kindness that become ever more frequent, intense, generous, tender and cheerful.

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The love of parents is the means by which God our Father shows his own love. He awaits the birth of each child, accepts that child unconditionally, and welcomes him or her freely

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Works of love directed to one’s neighbour are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit (cf. Thomas Aquinas)

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Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us .. If this invitation does not radiate forcefully and attractively, the edifice of the Church’s moral teaching risks becoming a house of cards, and this is our greatest risk.

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Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings.

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A heart without love is like a deconsecrated church, a building withdrawn from God’s service and given over to another use

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Charity cannot be neutral, antiseptic, indifferent, lukewarm or impartial! Charity is infectious, it excites, it risks and it engages! For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous!

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Christian love is always concrete. It consists more in actions than in words, more in giving than receiving.

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Christian love is concrete  ... and when this concreteness is not there, you can live a Christianity of illusions, because you don’t understand where the centre of Jesus’ message is. This love does not arrive at concrete being: it is a love of illusions

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God does nor forget his children, He never abandons them. He is always at our side, especially in times of trial. He is a Father who is rich in mercy, who always turns towards us his serene and loving gaze, who is always waiting for us with open arms.

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Family

Jesus was not a confirmed bachelor, far from it! He took the Church as his bride, and made her a people of his own. He laid down his life for those he loved, so that his bride, the Church, could always know that he is God with us, his people, his family.
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We cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave real room for family life. We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those of families just starting out.
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Perfect families do not exist. This must not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is “forged” by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences. Love is born and constantly develops amid lights and shadows.

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 A pastor must show that the “Gospel of the family” is truly “good news” in a world where self-concern seems to reign supreme! We are not speaking about some romantic dream: the perseverance which is called for in having a family and raising it transforms the world and human history. Families transform the world and history.

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As I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a family and society that is sick from isolationism or a habitual fear of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a family and society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort.

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As I said before, I prefer families with wrinkles, with wounds, and scars, but who carry on moving forward; for these wounds, scars and wrinkles are the fruit of a faithful love which has had its share of difficulties. Love is not easy, it is not easy, but the most beautiful thing is when a man and a woman can offer each other true love and offer it for life.

The Church

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Only a Church which can gather around the family fire remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one which blazed forth on Easter morn.
Jesus was not a confirmed bachelor, far from it! He took the Church as his bride, and made her a people of his own. He laid down his life for those he loved, so that his bride, the Church, could always know that he is God with us, his people, his family.

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We cannot understand Christ without his Church, just as we cannot understand the Church without her spouse, Christ Jesus, who gave his life out of love, and who makes us see that it is worth the price.

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The challenge for the Church today is what it always has been: to be close to people, close to people in every country, not to be a Church cut off from people...

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Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone, will also risk breaking down, however much it may talk about social issues or criticize governments. It will easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk.

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I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralysing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development!

The Church is not a relief organisation, an enterprise of an NGO, but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share this experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us

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It is important that the Church be a humble home, a family fire which attracts men and women through the attractive light and warmth of love.

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The Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy, to call to conversion, and to lead all men and women to salvation in the Lord

Mercy

Mercy overcomes every wall, every barrier, and leads you to always seek the face of the person

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Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception


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Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers


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The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us. He feels responsible; that is, he desires our wellbeing and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful. This is the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel.


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At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully.


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Jesus affirms that mercy is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are.


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If we welcome Jesus, this Word of salvation, this mystery of light, we will grow in understanding and in love of the Lord, we will learn to be merciful as He is.


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Do you know what kind of whip Jesus uses to cleanse the soul? Mercy. If we open our heart to Jesus’ mercy, in order to cleanse our heart, our soul, Jesus will trust himself to us.

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We need to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.  It is he who seeks us!  It is he who comes to encounter us!


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The only power capable of conquering the hearts of men and women is the tenderness of God. That which delights and attracts, that which humbles and overcomes, that which opens and unleashes, is not the power of instruments or the force of law, but rather the omnipotent weakness of divine love, which is the irresistible force of its gentleness and the irrevocable pledge of its mercy.


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God is waiting for us and wants to heal our hearts of all that tears us down. He is the God who has a name: Mercy. His name is our wealth, his name is what makes us famous, his name is our power and in his name we say once more with the Psalm: “You are my God and in you I trust”.


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God our Father does not know how to do anything else but love us and put his best into us, encouraging us, helping us move forward... for he can not do anything else, because his name is love, his name is gift, his name is self-giving, his name is mercy.


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In the art of climbing, it is not important that you do not fall down, but that you do not stay down. If you are weak, if you fall, look up a little for there is Jesus’ hand extended to you as he says: “Rise up, come with me”.


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Do you want a full life? Start right this moment by letting yourself be open and attentive! Because happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy. That is Jesus’ answer, his offer, his challenge, his adventure: mercy.


The Holy Spirit

The Spirit is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows.

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This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not in the consolation of the spirit of this world.

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Today the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals

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Why did people close themselves off from hearing the word of the Lord in Antioch? Simply, because they had closed hearts, they were not open to the newness of the Holy Spirit. They believed that everything had been said, that everything was as they thought it should be and therefore they felt like defenders of the faith and began to speak against the Apostles.

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Christians must struggle with the temptation to tame the Holy Spirit. To speak plainly: the Holy Spirit annoys us, The Spirit moves us, makes us walk, pushes the Church to move forward

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It is the Holy Spirit that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, “Father.” Or rather, “Abba, Father.” This is our God, He is a father to us. The Holy Spirit produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus.

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Christians are “spiritual”. This does not mean that we are people who live “in the clouds”, far removed from real life, as if it were some kind of mirage. No! The Christian is someone who thinks and acts in everyday life according to God’s will, someone who allows his or her life to be guided and nourished by the Holy Spirit, to be a full life, a life worthy of true sons and daughters.

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Being a Christian is ultimately a question not of doing things, but allowing oneself to be renewed by the Holy Spirit - or, to use the words of Jesus, becoming new wine

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Those who let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit are realists, they know how to survey and assess reality. They are also fruitful; their lives bring new life to birth all around them

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Throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness and change, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel.

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We should not be afraid of the joy of the Spirit and not be closed in on ourselves