FRANCIS TO FATHERS:
BE LIKE ST. JOSEPH, WALK ALONGSIDE YOUR CHILDREN
Vatican City, 19 March 2014 (VIS) – “St. Joseph the educator” was the theme of the catechesis of today's general audience on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Mary's spouse and patron of the Universal Church. The Holy Father recalled the great mission of the saint who was able to “protect the Holy Virgin and the Son Jesus”. “We look upon Joseph as the model of the educator, who protects and accompanies Jesus in his journey of growth in wisdom, age and grace, as the Gospel tells us. He was not Jesus' father – Jesus' father was God – but he was a father to Jesus in order to raise him. And how did he enable him to grow? In wisdom, age and grace. … He raised him, ensuring that he lacked nothing necessary for his healthy development”.
He continued, “St. Joseph's mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, as Jesus is absolutely unique. However, in protecting Jesus, in teaching him how to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is a model for every educator, and in particular for every father”. Pope Francis gave his best wishes to all the fathers present and encouraged them always to be close to their children, “letting them grow, but always being nearby. They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. Be, for them, like St. Joseph: protectors of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their path, and educators: walk alongside them. And with this closeness, you will be true educators”.
Before concluding, the Pope mentioned all those who have lost their fathers, and asked those present to pray the “Our Father” for all fathers, living and departed.
DO NOT GET USED TO BEHAVIOUR THAT ANAESTHETISES THE HEART
Vatican City, 5 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father celebrated the general audience with 30,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Pope Francis dedicated this Ash Wednesday's catechesis to the Lenten journey of forty days that leads us to the Easter Triduum, and recalled the two suggestions offered to us by the Church in this period: to be more aware of the redemptive work of Christ, and to live our Baptism in a more committed way.
“The awareness of the wonders that the Lord carried out for our salvation should lead our minds and hearts to gratitude to God”, he said, and added, “Fully living out our Baptism – and this is the second invitation – means not becoming inured to the situations of degradation and poverty that we encounter when walking the streets of our cities and towns. There is the risk of passively accepting certain types of behaviour and of not marvelling at the sad realities that surround us. We grow accustomed to violence, as if it were a normal part of our daily news; we get used to seeing our brothers and sisters sleeping in the streets, as they have no roof to shelter them. We are used to refugees who search of freedom and dignity, but are not received as they should be. We get used to living in a society that claims to be able to do without God, in which parents do not teach their children how to pray or how to make the sign of the Cross. This inurement to forms of behaviour that are not Christian, that are the easy way, anaesthetise the heart!” He asked the faithful present, “Do your children know how to make the sign of the Cross? Do they know how to pray the Our Father or the Hail Mary?”.
Francis explained that Lent comes to us “as a Providential moment for changing our route, for recovering our capacity to react when faced with the realities of evil that always challenge us. Lent should be lived as a time of conversion, of renewal at personal and community levels by drawing closer to God and through trusting adhesion to the Gospel. In this way, we are able to look upon our brothers and their needs with new eyes”.
The Pope remarked that this moment is “favourable for converting to love for one's neighbour; a love that assumes the gratitude and mercy of the Lord Who made himself poor so that by his poverty we might become rich, and invited all to “invoke with particular trust the protection and help of the Virgin Mary, so that she, the first believer in Christ, might accompany us in days of intense and penitential prayer, to allow us to celebrate, purified and renewed in spirit, the great Paschal mystery of her Son.”
What Can I Do Before Lent Begins?
Repentance: an Opportunity for God's Mercy by: St. Clement of Rome, Early Church Father
Realigning Our Priorities
Beginning My Lenten Patterns
Lent is God's Invitation