Wednesday, September 10, 2014
It was a wonderful, happy, lively general audience this morning in St. Peters Square and I know youll appreciate the following account of the papal catechesis on the theme, "Mercy, a Gospel essential for a better world." Pope Francis has spoken nonstop in his papacy about mercy. Todays catechesis seems to summarize so beautifully what he has been saying since March 2013.

I was especially moved by Francis words about Mother Teresa as he spoke of the Church as Mother, a Mother who loves and is filled with mercy. I am still convinced, as I wrote in a tweet on June 15, that the Holy Father will announce Mother Teresas canonization when he is in Albania on September 21 (she was born in Albania).


Mother Church teaches us works mercy are essential for our salvation, said Pope Francis at his general audience on Wednesday , but it is not enough to do good to those who do good to us. To change the world for the better we must do good to those who are unable to reciprocate, as the Father did with us, in giving us Jesus".

Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims who crowded St Peters Square for the weekly appointment, the Pope said the Church does not teach us about mercy through theoretic lectures but through the actions of the saints who have visited those in prison, of mothers who teach their children to share what they have with those in need, through women like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who held the hand of the abandoned so they would not die alone.

This is how the Mother Church teaches her children the works of mercy. She has learned this path from Jesus, she learned that this is essential for salvation.

The Pope, continuing his catechesis on Mother Church, said, "In our previous catechesis, we reflected on the Church as a Mother who nurtures us in the faith, guides us on the way of salvation, and protects us from evil. Today, I wish to reflect on the Church as a Mother who teaches us the works of mercy."

"A good teacher does not get lost in the details, but points to what is essential so that the child or student can find meaning and joy in life. It is the truth. For the Gospel, what is essential is mercy God sent his Son, God became man to save us, that is, to give us His mercy. Jesus clearly says, summing up His teaching to His disciples: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). Can there be a Christian who is not merciful? No. The Christian must necessarily be merciful, because this is the heart of the Gospel. And true to this teaching, the Church can only repeat the same thing to her children: "Be merciful," as the Father is, and as Jesus was. Mercy.

He continued: "And so the Church acts like Jesus. She does not give lectures on love, on mercy. She does not spread a philosophy, a path of wisdom throughout the world. ... Of course, Christianity is all this, but as a consequence, in reflection. The Mother Church, like Jesus, teaches by example, and uses words to illuminate the meaning of her gestures. The Mother Church teaches us to give food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, to clothe the naked. And how does she do this? With the example of many saints who have done this in an exemplary manner; but she also does so with the example of so many mothers and fathers who teach their children that they must give what they do not need to those who lack even the basic necessities. It is important to know this. Even in the simplest of Christian rule of hospitality has always been held sacred: may there always be a place at the table and a spare bed for those who need it."

Moving from his scripted speech, the Pope added: "Once a mother told me, in the other dioceses, that she wanted to teach this to her children and told them to help and give food to the hungry. She had three. And one day at lunch the father was out at work, she was with her three children, little ones, 7,5,4 years or so and there was a knock on the door and a gentleman was there who asked to eat, and the mother said: Wait a minute'. And she went back in and told her children: 'There is a gentleman out there who is asking for something to eat, what should we do? '-'Give him some, Mom, give him some! '. Each of the children has a steak and fries on their plate: 'Very well, each of you take half of your dinner and give it to him'- Ah, no, Mom, thats not fair!'-'Thats the way it is you have to give him what you have. And so this mother taught their children to give of their own food. This is a fine example that has helped me so much. 'But, I havent got any extra No you have to give some of what you have! '. This is what Mother Church teaches us. And you, all of you mothers here today you know what you have to do so that your children learn to share their things with those in need.

"Mother Church teaches us to be close to those who are sick. How many saints served Jesus in this way! And how many ordinary men and women, every day, put into practice this work of mercy in a hospital room, or in a nursing home, or in their own home, assisting a sick person. Mother Church teaches us to be close to those who are in prison".

Again the Pope spoke off the cuff: "'But, Father, no, this is dangerous, these are bad people'. Each one of us is capable of this. Listen well: each of us is capable of doing the same thing as the man or woman who is in prison. We all have the capacity to sin and to do the same, to make mistakes in life. They are no worse than you or I." "Mercy - he continued overcomes every obstacle, knocks down every wall and brings you to always seek the face of the man, the person. And it is mercy that changes hearts and lives, that can regenerate a person and allow them to reintegrate themselves in society. "

"Mother Church teaches us to stay close to those who are abandoned and die alone. This is what Blessed Teresa of Calcutta did on the streets of Calcutta. This is what many Christians are doing and have done when they are not afraid to shake hands with those who are about to leave this world. And even here, mercy gives peace to those who leave and those who remain, making us feel that God is greater than death, and that by abiding in Him even the final farewell is simply until we meet again

Pope Francis added: "Blessed Teresa really understood this. Although they used to say to her, 'Mother, this is wasting time'. She would look for people dying on the street, people whose bodies were being eaten by rats and she would take them home so that they could die clean, in tranquility, with a caress in peace. She bid them farewell, all of these people! And many men and women have done this like her. They are waiting for them there, at the door, to open the gate of Heaven for them. Helping people to die well, in peace."

"Dear brothers and sisters, this is how Mother Church teaches her children the works of mercy. She has learned this path from Jesus, she learned that this is essential for salvation. It is not enough to love those who love us. Jesus says that pagans do this. It is not enough to do good to those who do good to us. To change the world for the better we must do good to those who unable to reciprocate, as the Father did with us, in giving us Jesus."

Once again departing from his text, he asked: "How much have we paid for our redemption? Nothing, its all free! Doing good without waiting for something in return, doing a good turn. This is what our Father did for us and so we must do the same. So go on and do some good! How nice it is to live in the Church, our Mother Church teaches us that these things that Jesus taught us."

"We thank the Lord, concluded Francis, who gives us the grace to have the Church as mother, she teaches us the path of mercy, which is the path of life. We thank the Lord."

He also had special words for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. In his greeting to Arabic speaking pilgrims and in particular to those from Syria and Iraq, Francis said that "the Church, following the example of her Master, is a teacher of mercy: She faces hatred with love, defeats violence with forgiveness; responds to weapons with prayer! May the Lord reward your fidelity, instill courage in your fight against the forces of evil and open the eyes of those who are blinded by evil, so they may soon see the light of truth and repent for their mistakes. May the Lord bless you and protect you always.


SEPTEMBER 5 UN HONORS BLESSED MOTHER TERESA: Did you know that the United Nations in 2012 designated September 5 as the International Day of Charity, in honor of Blessed Mother Teresa who died on that date in 1997? In his 2014 message for this day, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, highlighted the example of Mother Teresa, whose good works for the poorest and most vulnerable has been an enormous inspiration. The UN intention in establishibg this Day of Charity hopes to encourage individuals, governments and NGOs worldwide to help those in need.

PRINCE CHARLES DONATES TO CHALDEAN CHURCH: In light of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, Prince Charles has made a donation to the Chaldean Church, according to Rome Reports.

In a letter to Aid to the Church in Need, through whom he made the donation, he said he is heartbroken by the unbearable and barbaric persecution of minorities at the hands of the Islamic State. He also wrote that his heart goes out to all those whose lives have been shattered by the conflict. Prince Charles said he hopes his donation it will help overcome what he describes as a diabolic evil.

In response to his letter and donation, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, thanked him and also asked him to encourage the international community to take action amid the disaster and the suffering.

The Chaldean Church has roughly 500,000 members, but amid the instability and persecution, the number is dwindling.

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