12 Reflections from Pope Francis

9780399173202A journal-style book containing inspirational messages from Pope Francis—Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013

Now into the third year of his papacy, Pope Francis is hailed by the news media, Christians, and non-Christians alike as a refreshing figure in the Vatican. His humility, piousness, and forward-thinking ideas have been celebrated around the world.

Reflections from Pope Francis features brief excerpts for reflection from Pope Francis’s homilies, speeches, and addresses—along with invitation to prayer, writing, and action in a unique “journal style” book with space on each page for the reader to write down their own reflections on the powerful messages contained within each page. Complete with a focusing statement and scripture passages that introduce and summarize the theme of that page’s reflection, these excerpts highlight important themes for humanity—such as care for the poor, mercy, forgiveness, and brotherhood. Below, we collect 10 of Pope Francis’s most potent, urgent, and meaningful reflections.

1. Open Up a Horizon of Hope

Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tender- ness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope. It is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds. It is to bring the warmth of hope.

-Homily, Saint Peter’s Square, Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Mass for the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome

2. Spread Joy

Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. . . . Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much He loves us, our hearts will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us.

-Homily, Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Conception of Aparecida, Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Holy Mass, Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of Twenty-eighth World Youth Day

3. Help One Person Have a Better Life

If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satis- faction that we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, His creation. God created that person in His image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and He Himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered His precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfilment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!

-Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Chapter Five, I, 274, November 24, 2013 On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World

4. Remember

To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remem- ber the road we have travelled—this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.

-Homily, Vatican Basilica, Holy Saturday, March 30, 2013 Easter Vigil

5. Pray for Leaders

Let us pray for leaders that they govern us well. That they bring our homeland, our nations, our world, forward, to achieve peace and the common good. This word of God helps us to better participate in the common life of a people: those who govern, with the service of humility and love, and the governed, with partici- pation, and especially prayer.

-Morning Meditation, Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, Monday, September 16, 2013

6. Seek God in Every Human Life

Ihave a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.

-From the Interview with Pope Francis by Antonio Spadaro, S.J. America Press, September 30, 2013

7. Say “Thank You”

Everything is His gift. If we can realize that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be? Everything is His gift. He is our strength! Saying “thank you” is such an easy thing, and yet so hard! How often do we say “thank you” to one another in our families? These are essential words for our life in common. “Sorry,” “excuse me,” “thank you.” If families can say these three things, they will be fine. “Sorry,” “excuse me,” “thank you.” How often do we say “thank you” in our families? How often do we say “thank you” to those who help us, those close to us, those at our side throughout life? All too often we take everything for granted! This happens with God too. It is easy to approach the Lord to ask for something, but to go and thank Him: “Well, I don’t need to.”

-Homily, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, October 13, 2013
Holy Mass for the Marian Day on the Occasion of the Year of Faith

8. Show a Sign of Love

How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!

-Homily, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, April 28, 2013 Holy Mass and Conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation

9. Respect Creation

Let us respect creation, let us not be instruments of destruction! Let us respect each human being. May there be an end to armed conflicts which cover the earth with blood, may the clash of arms be silenced, and everywhere may hatred yield to love, injury to pardon, and discord to unity. Let us listen to the cry of all those who are weeping, who are suffering and who are dying because of violence, terrorism, or war, in the Holy Land, so dear to Saint Francis, in Syria, throughout the Middle East and everywhere in the world.

We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Obtain for us God’s gift of harmony, peace, and respect for creation!

-Homily, Saint Francis Square, Assisi, Friday, October 4, 2013

10. Be Open to God’s Surprises

Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own prefer- ences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow Him, we accept Him, but only up to a certain point. . . . Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”?

-Homily, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, May 19, 2013 Solemnity of Pentecost, Holy Mass with the Ecclesial Movements

11. Spread Goodness

Goodness always tends to spread. Every authentic experience of truth and goodness seeks by its very nature to grow within us, and any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops. If we wish to lead a dignified and fulfilling life, we have to reach out to others and seek their good.

-Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, II, 9, November 24, 2013 On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World

12. Have the Courage to Be Truly Happy

If you are really open to the deepest aspirations of your hearts, you will realize that you possess an unquenchable thirst for happiness, and this will allow you to expose and reject the “low cost” offers and approaches all around you. When we look only for success, pleasure and possessions, and we turn these into idols, we may well have moments of exhilaration, an illusory sense of satisfaction, but ulti- mately we become enslaved, never satisfied, always looking for more. It is a tragic thing to see a young person who “has everything,” but is weary and weak. . . .

Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy! Say no to an ephemeral, superficial and throwaway culture—a culture that as- sumes that you are incapable of taking on responsibility and facing the great challenges of life!

-Message, Tuesday, January 21, 2014
For the Twenty-Ninth World Youth Day 2014


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