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EPISODE #258
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: WHY GOD ALLOWS SUFFERING WITH GUEST FR. ROBERT SPITZER

Join Deacon Steve Greco and his guest, well- known author, professor and television personality, Fr. Robert Spitzer. Fr. Spitzer is president of the Magis Center and host on EWTN’s popular TV show, “Fr. Spitzer’s Universe.” 

On today’s enlightening broadcast, they’ll talk about the concept of why God allows suffering in our lives.

This is powerful stuff! So be sure to tune in and SHARE this podcast with others.

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 9/27/20

POPE FRANCIS: EVEN IN TIMES OF DARKNESS, GOD IS THERE

Vatican City, Aug 9, 2020 / 05:59 am (CNA) – When caught in difficult moments or trials, turn your heart to God, who is near even when you do not search for him, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Sunday.

“Having faith means, in the midst of the storm, keeping your heart turned to God, to his love, to his tenderness as a Father. Jesus wanted to teach this to Peter and his disciples, and also to us today, in moments of darkness, moments of storms,” the pope said Aug. 9.

Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he said “even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us lifting us back up after our falls, He helps us grow in faith.”

“Perhaps we, in the dark, cry out: ‘Lord! Lord!’ thinking that he is far away. And He says: ‘I’m here!’ Ah, he was with me!” Pope Francis continued.

“God knows well that our faith is poor and that our path can be troubled, blocked by adverse forces. But He is the Risen One, do not forget this, the Lord who went through death to bring us to safety.”

In his message before the Angelus, the pope reflected on the Gospel reading from St. Matthew, when Jesus asks the apostles to get in a boat and cross to the other shore of the lake, where he will meet them.

While still far from shore, the disciples’ boat gets caught in some wind and waves.

“The boat at the mercy of the storm is an image of the Church, which in every age encounters headwinds, sometimes very hard trials,” Francis noted.

“In those situations, [the Church] may be tempted to think that God has abandoned her. But in reality, it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, the testimony of love and the testimony of hope shines the most,” he said.

He pointed to the Gospel: In this moment of fear, the disciples see Jesus walking to them on the water and think it is a ghost. But he reassures them and Peter challenges Jesus to tell him to come out onto the water to meet him. Jesus invites Peter to “come!”

“Peter gets off the boat and takes a few steps; then the wind and the waves frighten him and he begins to sink. ‘Lord, save me!’ he cries, and Jesus takes him by the hand and says to him: ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Francis recounted.

This episode “is an invitation to abandon ourselves with trust to God in every moment of our life, especially in the hour of trial and turmoil,” he said.

“When we feel strong doubt and fear and we seem to sink, in the difficult moments of life, where everything becomes dark, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: ‘Lord, save me!’”
“It is a beautiful prayer!” he noted.

“And the gesture of Jesus, who immediately reaches out his hand and grasps that of his friend, must be contemplated for a long time: Jesus is this, Jesus does this, it is the hand of the Father who never abandons us; the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants our good,” he said.

After praying the Angelus in Latin, Pope Francis noted the presence of a group of pilgrims holding the Lebanese flag in St. Peter’s Square and said his thoughts have been with the country since the deadly explosion in Beirut Aug. 4.

“The catastrophe of last Tuesday calls everyone, starting with the Lebanese, to collaborate for the common good of this beloved country,” he said.

“Lebanon has a peculiar identity, the result of the meeting of various cultures, which has emerged over time as a model of living together,” he noted. “Of course, this coexistence is now very fragile, we know, but I pray that, with the help of God and the loyal participation of all, it may be reborn free and strong.”

Francis invited the Church in Lebanon to be close to her people during this “Calvary,” and asked the international community to be generous in helping the country.

“And please, I ask the bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon to stay close to the people and to live a lifestyle marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people suffer, and suffer so much,” he concluded.

The pope also noted the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945.

“While I remember with emotion and gratitude the visit I made to those places last year, I renew my invitation to pray and to commit ourselves to a world totally free from nuclear weapons,” he said.

LET GOD LEAD

 

Last month we celebrated the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, a solemnity within the penitential season of Lent. That morning, as on so many others these days, I celebrated my 6:30 morning Mass at Christ Cathedral, which is livestreamed.  As I was beginning the celebration, I walked past, in the procession into the cathedral, my coat of arms. My coat of arms, and the day of the Annunciation have something in common: The cross in the lower left-hand segment of my coat of arms is the French Cross, which is to acknowledge both the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) who originated in France. And, March 25, the Annunciation, is the day when all of the Daughters of Charity renew their vows, a provision included in the “rule” of the Daughters from the very beginning. The Daughters of Charity and the Vincentians both taught at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, where I attended, and both of these same communities have a long history here in California. 

I mention both of them (The Daughters and the Vincentians) because there is a thread in the spirituality and history of the Vincentian family that teaches about God’s Providence. I heard that often in the seminary from our rector at the time, Fr. Art Trapp CM.  Father Trapp was a great role model for me and, in fact, was from Oxnard here in California originally! I believe that the times we are now in can reflect God’s providence to us, and I would like to turn to a reflection by Fr. Richard McCullen, CM, a former Superior General of the Vincentians: 

In an address and reflection to the Vincentians in the former “Iron Curtain” countries in 1990, Fr. McCullen said: 

“St. Vincent had a profound devotion to the Providence of God.  He believed that God, in His kindness, was leading us all the time. As St. Vincent saw things, it was important that we should allow God to lead us and not rush ahead of Him. It is God who leads, not we, Him. ‘ The works of God have their moments,’ wrote St. Vincent, ‘His providence brings them about at one particular point in time, neither sooner nor later.’  

It is the Providence of God that has led you through the dark tunnel of fear, of suspicion, and apprehension, into the new light of day that is presently dawning. It is the Providence of God that has preserved you until now. It is the Providence of God that has given you new freedom. The Providence of God may have led you through a dark valley, but now you have been brought into a place of fresh and open pastures.” 

Fr. Trapp had reflected to me that exactly one time when he said, “Kevin don’t be two steps ahead of where God wants you to be!” 

Let us, in these days of challenge and uncertainty, trust in the Providence of God, let God then be with us and lead us through to a better and new day. Let the Lord lead us through the “dark valley” to where He is taking us, and not rush ahead without Him! 

‘WHERE IS GOD RIGHT NOW?’ HOW IMAGINATION CAN AID OUR FAITH IN QUARANTINE

Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2020 / 03:16 am (CNA) – Living under coronavirus-caused quarantines and stay-at-home orders, many Catholics may find themselves unable to practice the faith in the ways to which they are accustomed.

When you can’t attend Mass, receive the Eucharist, or even go to church, where do you find God?

The first thing to remember is that “God wants to save me at every given moment, so he doesn’t want to save me less now than he did when Mass was available, when we could avail ourselves of all the sacraments,” Fr. Nicolas Steeves, SJ, told CNA.

“When we’re deprived of the sacraments, we really have to wonder: where is God right now?”

A theology professor at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, he said this question is not only relevant in the present time of coronavirus, but also during Eastertide.

Between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension into heaven, “where were the disciples, where was Mary Magdalene, where were the apostles going to find Jesus?” Steeves said. “It was on Jesus’ terms and conditions that he would be visible to him, that he would appear.”

“So, we’ve got to figure out during this Eastertide too: Where is Jesus present, where can I find him in my life right now?”

Imagination

Steeves recalled an image from the Old Testament, when the temple was destroyed, and God followed his people into exile and remained with them.

He drew a comparison to the coronavirus quarantine as “an exile away from the churches where we usually find [God].”

The theologian said we might think, “Where is God in me, around me, right now, so I can get in touch with him?”

And that is where the imagination can be useful in a very real way, he explained.

Though imagination is difficult to define, “Aristotle would say our imagination and our memory too are like a treasure trove of images that our senses and our [mind] have invented from what we see around us,” Steeves said.

Our bodily senses can only experience the surface of things, he said, but “the specific task of the Christian imagination is to imagine the real.”

He pointed to a fundamental concept in Christian theology: revelation, which “literally means taking away the veil.”

“Our Christian faith recognizes that even during ordinary time, there’s always some kind of hurdle about us discovering God, and so revelation ordinarily comes through tradition, scripture, and the magisterium of the Church.”

One example of this is the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

During the Mass, Steeves said, Catholics use the imagination “to realize that beyond the veil of the bread and wine, God is present in the Blessed Sacrament in his body, blood, soul, and divinity.”

“The faith teaches me that Christ is really present in the Eucharist and using the imagination doesn’t mean that it is fake or made up – it’s very real – but I’ve got to go beyond appearances to realize that.”

According to Steeves, “the whole point of using the imagination in our faith is not to make up fanciful things, it’s how we can figure out where this invisible, un-hearable God is hiding so that our seeking for him, our search for him is going to actually be that which saves us and brings us to eternal life.”

Christians do this through using their imagination in prayer, in reading Scripture, in the liturgy, and in the sacraments, he said. “Also, in the way we can be imaginative in our charity on an everyday basis.”

Faith during a pandemic

The theologian acknowledged that just as it is not the same thing to speak with a loved one over the phone or through an app as it is to hug them in real life, neither is watching a livestreamed Mass the same as being physically present.

But he said there are still ways people can use their imagination to get more out of Mass through a screen.

For example, while listening to the Scripture readings: “How do the metaphors in some of those readings, the Pauline analogies, the poetry from the Psalms, the biblical stories from the Old Testament, Jesus’ parables, how do those strike my imagination and help me increase my faith, increase my hope, increase my charity?”

Imagination, he continued, can also help us grow in virtue both during the Mass and throughout the week that follows, when we might make a special effort to pray for a particular intention from the prayers of the faithful or to help someone who is sick or suffering through a visit or phone call.

In thinking about how to encounter God and feel a part of the Church – even when attendance at Mass is impossible – Steeves encouraged asking: “What is going to be the most helpful thing for me?”

“Is watching Mass [through a livestream] helping me, or is it making me more frustrated?” he said.

He also gave ideas of other concrete ways to find God during this time, such as praying with Sacred Scripture, reading theological writings, reading the stories and writings of the saints, and praying traditional prayers like the rosary and litanies.

He also suggested things which incorporate your senses, like burning incense, listening to hymns or sacred music, and meditating on a piece of art.

“Whatever would help your bodily senses bring back happy memories of being a church together, of encountering God, of increasing hope and charity, I think those are wonderful things to incorporate now,” he said.

Memory can also be a useful tool during this time, he noted, whether it is personal memories and experiences of encountering God in liturgy and prayer or the Church’s communal memory.

“If we know the history of the Church then we will discover that the Church has always found ways, during a plague or another sickness, to foster the faith of the clergy and of the faithful and to go on being a Church though the circumstances are not usual.”

Though it is a difficult moment, Steeves encouraged people to be faithful in seeking God.

“I think we have a better feeling right now of revelation, of who God truly is – the Creator – and who we are,” he said. “We’re just poor creatures, but we’re still loved by him, [and] he’s inviting us to walk out of our ordinary ways and try to find him right now.”

TRUE SORROW FOR SINS LEADS TO RENEWED LOVE FOR GOD, OTHERS, POPE SAYS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recognizing and repenting for one’s own sins and errors is difficult, but essential, Pope Francis said.

“To understand (one’s) sin is a gift from God, it is the work of the Holy Spirit” who helps each person realize “the evil I have done or that I may do,” the pope said Feb. 12 during his weekly general audience.

The pope continued a new series of talks on the Eight Beatitudes by reflecting on Jesus’ second “paradoxical” proclamation, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

This kind of mourning is more than mere grief, he said; it is “an inner sorrow that leads to a new relationship with the Lord and with each other.”

The Bible distinguishes between two types of sorrow, the pope said. One is the pain felt when facing the suffering or death of someone else and is a pain that comes from a place of love and empathy. The second is sorrow for one’s sin.

Just as there are sorrows to be comforted, he said, sometimes there are people who are too comforted, and they need some sorrow to “wake up” and remember how to cry for their brothers and sisters.

Mourning for another is a “bitter” but important journey that reveals “the sacred and irreplaceable value of every person” and is a reminder of how fleeting life is.

The sorrow people should experience over their sins is not the same thing as getting angry when they make a mistake. That, he said, is pride.

Instead people should truly mourn for what they have done, for their failure to do what was right or for betraying God by not living the way indicated by the Lord, “who loves us so much.”

“This is the sense of sin — it makes us sad knowing the good was not done,” he said. It is the sorrow of realizing “I have hurt the one I love,” leading to the precious “gift” of tears.

This lies at the heart of facing one’s own errors, which is “difficult, but vital,” he said.

“Look at the tears of St. Peter, which led him to a new and more authentic love,” versus Judas, who did not accept he did anything wrong, “and poor thing, he commits suicide.”

Mourning purifies and renews the heart and one’s relationship with God, the pope said, highlighting St. Ephraim the Syrian, who spoke of the beauty of a face washed with tears of repentance.

The pope asked people to pray for the grace to grieve for their sins and to be open to the healing grace of the Holy Spirit.

“Do not forget. God always forgives, even the worst sins. The problem is us who tire of asking forgiveness,” he said.

At the end of the audience, the pope led a moment of silence after he asked people to pray for Syria, which has been “shedding blood for years.”

“So many families, so many elderly people, children have to flee from war,” he said.

He also asked for prayers for people in China who are suffering from illnesses caused by the “vicious” coronavirus. “May they find the path to healing as soon as possible.”

TALKING ABOUT GOD AND GRIEF WITH CHILDREN

February is a tough month for our family, bringing the anniversaries of our twins’ deaths. Each year I find myself answering hard questions from our sons about their sisters. Why did they die? Where are they now? Will I get to see them again? 

As a parent who is theologically trained (and personally affected), I find it fascinating to reflect on children’s perspectives on grief and loss. Kids ask the same questions as adults, crystallized to their purest form. They are unashamed to express intense emotion — if given safe space. 

In past generations, well-meaning professionals counseled parents to protect children from life’s losses. Research now affirms that both adults and children benefit from talking openly about death and learning to cope with loss in healthy ways. 

A child old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Studies have shown that even the youngest children can be affected by the disruptions that grief brings to a family. 

Here are three questions I often hear children (and adults) ask while grieving. While I’m not a clinical counselor or a medical professional, I can speak to the theological realities behind these questions — and encourage you to draw from your own faith when children in your family are touched by grief. 

 

Why did God let this happen? 

The problem of suffering surfaces as quickly for children as for adults. Did God want this to happen? Why did God answer other prayers but not ours? How can we trust that God is still good? 

Scripture speaks of God weeping with us (Jn 11:35), promising to destroy grief (Rv 21:4) and desiring life, not death (Ez 18:32). Sharing these stories with children can open up new ways of understanding God after loss. 

Older kids and teenagers can tackle thornier discussions: the doctrine of free will, the nature of sin and the reality of evil. But for all who mourn, remembering that God remains with us in sadness and suffering is what we need to hear first and foremost when someone we love has died. 

 

Will I die, too? 

Children are quick to worry once faced with mortality. Will my mom and dad die now? If I get sick, am I going to die? 

While we can assure kids that modern medicine is powerful, it’s equally true that healing is a mystery. Some people recover, some die and none of us will be here on earth forever. Faith means embracing mystery and trusting in what we cannot fully understand. 

Reminding children of God’s particular love for them can bring comfort. God created them and knows them (Is 43:1). God counts each of their hairs (Mt 10:30). God calls them by name (Jn 10:3). 

 

Are they in heaven? 

Young children are often preoccupied with physicality. Where did my friend go? Why can’t I see Grandpa anymore? 

When we mourn at any age, it helps to remember what the church teaches about salvation and resurrection. We pray that our beloved dead are in the hands of God. We hope to see them again in heaven. We stay connected through the communion of saints, asking them to pray for us and believing they remain united with us in love beyond what we can see. 

Grieving children (and adults) need reassurance and reminders of God’s love through life’s hard times. We don’t have to hide the truth or offer easy answers in order to share God’s comfort. 

Sitting with kids’ questions, making space for their emotions and surrounding them with love reflects our faith in the God who welcomed children and wept with mourners — the God who knows grief.

YOUNG PEOPLE ENCOURAGED TO ‘ABANDON EVERYTHING’ TO GOD AS WITNESSES TO LIFE

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the sun rose on the nation’s capital Jan. 24, about 18,000 teens and young adults gathered in joyful praise and worship, celebrating the sanctity of all human life at the Capital One Arena in Washington at the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, the largest annual event sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington. 

Two sisters, Caitlin and Ciara Baltazar, who are in the 11th and seventh grades at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, arrived just as the doors opened at 6:15 a.m. to save seats in the front of the arena for nearly 30 of their March for Life club members. 

Caitlin Baltazar said it was her family’s faith that rooted her passion for the pro-life cause, adding that as young women, “it’s important for us to be involved,” she said. 

The annual event, which takes place prior to the national March to Life, gathers young people from throughout the Washington area, from across the country and from around the world to begin the day in prayer for the protection of all human life. Participants came from as near as Catholic schools and parishes in Washington and Maryland and from as far away as Australia. 

“This Mass is an invitation for all of us to leave everything, to abandon our life totally to the Lord, to be witness to the fact that a life spent to do the will of God is the greatest life possible,” said Father Daniele Rebeggiani, a Washington archdiocesan priest who is a secretary at the apostolic nunciature, in his homily at the Mass.  

GOD’S WRATH IS JUST AS GREAT AS HIS MERCY, POPE SAYS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must not take advantage of God’s forgiveness — selfishly repeating sin after sin — because God’s wrath for those who refuse to change their ways is just as great as his mercy, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

“Do not say, ‘God’s compassion is great, he will forgive my many sins’ and then I just keep going on, doing what I want,” he said Feb. 28 at morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Pope Francis suggested Catholics spend five minutes at the end of each day examining their conscience, pinpointing their failings and working to conform their life ever more closely to Christ’s.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the first reading from the Book of Sirach (5:1-8) in which the Jewish sage warns the faithful against being too overconfident with God, “adding sin upon sin,” and delaying conversion because “mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath.”

The reading prompted Pope Francis to tell the small congregation at Mass, “Do not wait to convert yourself, to change your life, to perfect your life, to remove the weeds.”

Wisdom, he said, is something that grows through daily use and through reflection on one’s actions and controlling one’s passions, he said.

“Passion is not a bad thing; it is, let’s say, the ‘blood’ for carrying many good things, but if you are not able to control your passions, they will control you,” he said.

Taking five minutes at the end of every day to reflect and to examine one’s conscience, he said, “will help us a lot to think and to not put off a change of heart and conversion to the Lord.”

No one knows when his or her hour will come, he said, and God’s infinite mercy does not mean people can keep doing what they want

WHO IS GOD?

Who is God? Where is He (or She)? How can we hear His voice?  

Children begin asking questions about God very early; parents’ answers help frame their lifelong relationship with Him.  

“The age they begin questioning varies by child,” says Katie Dawson, Diocese of Orange director of Parish Faith Formation. “Some kids are more spiritually inclined than others. By age 6 it’s not unusual for kids to ask really deep questions – and the challenge is to bring the answers to a simple enough level so that they can understand.” 

Dawson has several children and grandchildren and discourages other parents from offering kids any high-level theological explanations about God. She notes that theologians study the God question for their entire lifetimes. “Any answer you give your children will tend to be magical, because they believe that anything invisible is magical.” 

It’s important that parents should communicate the first message of God to their children, Dawson says. “When a child sees her parents actually praying and reading Scripture, going to church and receiving the sacraments, this is something meaningful.” 

To begin the discussion, she recommends a book she read as a child of 3 years old, “My Little Golden Book About God,” illustrated by well-known artist Eloise Wilken. “It has beautiful pictures of where you can find God, including in nature, in other people, in our father’s hug and our mother’s kiss,” Dawson recalls. “It ends with a sweet picture of a little girl looking up at a starry night sky and exclaiming, ‘God is all around me.’” 

The book “was really important in my own religious understanding of God,” she says. “It contains the kind of narrative picture we want to provide kids, telling them that God is with us in every possible way. God is love. He calls us to be loving in response.” 

Children ask all kinds of questions about God. Still, our answers can mystify little kids, such as explaining that God is in the sky or that He lives in another dimension. “They don’t know what that means,” Dawson notes. “We can say that we see God everywhere, in me and you and that He is all around us all the time, yet we can’t always see Him. 

“When our children grow older they will ask more difficult questions, about why people suffer, experience disappointments, and why God doesn’t stop bad people from doing terrible things,” she adds. “These are the eternal questions.” 

So, how should parents talk to their children about God and faith? 

“If a parent experiences their own relationship with God as something meaningful, sustaining and strengthening, we very naturally want to offer that possibility to our kids at the youngest possible age,” she says.  

Reading Bible stories for kids and sharing picture books about Bible stories are useful ways to introduce God to youngsters. “Storytelling is the most helpful tool in sharing our understanding of God with children,” Dawson says.  

Why is it important to talk to young children about God? 

“The question of identity is one of life’s most fundamental questions,” she notes. “Who am I, why do I exist, do I have a purpose? If we understand ourselves to be loved from the beginning by the Creator, we know our life’s purpose is to grow in loving God and others.  

“Events in our lives and our relationships with others assume a very different perspective when we understand ourselves as uniquely loved,” she says. “Religious people have a much lower incidence of the negative outcomes in life.”

HOW TO LOVE WELL ACCORDING TO POPE FRANCIS: IT STARTS WITH GOD

Vatican City, Mar 15, 2017 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday Pope Francis warned against the hypocrisy that comes from believing that the ability to genuinely love others is based on our own efforts or goodness, rather than being only and always a gift from God.

“We are called to love, to charity: this is our highest calling, our vocation for excellence,” he said March 15, asking: “how can we be sure that our love is sincere, that our charity is genuine?”

“Behind all this there is a false idea, that is to say, if we love, it is because we are good; as if charity were man’s creation, a product of our heart. Charity, however, is first and foremost a grace, a gift; to love is a gift of God, and we have to ask. And He gives it willingly, if we ask it.”

Showing love to others, Francis said, is not something that we do to shine a light on who or what we are, but to show better who God is, and what he freely gives to us.

And the only way we can express this in our encounters with others is if we have encountered it first in the “gentle and merciful face of Jesus.” Without this, our charity is in danger of being hypocritical, he said.

Speaking during the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reflected on the passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which says: “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.”
“Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord,” the passage continues. “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.”

These things are not easy to do, the Pope said, but clarified that the words of St. Paul are not a reproach of all the times we fail or do not live up to the commandments.

Instead, these words give us the grace of realizing that we cannot love perfectly on our own, but that “we need the Lord to continually renew this gift in our hearts, through the experience of his infinite mercy,” he said.

“Paul invites us to recognize that we are sinners, and that our way of loving is marked by sin. At the same time, however, he is the bearer of a new proclamation of hope: the Lord opens before us a way of liberation, of salvation.”

Above all, we have hope, he said, because even in our own failures we know that “God’s love never fails,” and if we ask, he will give us the grace to love more perfectly.

“The Risen Lord who lives among us…is able to heal our heart: he does, if we ask it,” he said. “It is he who allows us, despite our littleness and poverty, to experience the compassion of the Father, and to celebrate the wonders of his love.”

“Indeed, it is God himself who, taking residence in our hearts and in our lives, continues to be close and to serve all those we meet every day on our journey,” he said.

When we invite God into our hearts, allowing ourselves to be loved by him, only then can we sincerely act out the great commandment “to become instruments of God’s love,” Pope Francis said.

“And then, yes, we will return to appreciate the little things, simple and ordinary; and we will be able to love others as God loves them, wanting their good; that they be saints, friends of God.”

The Pope concluded by saying that in doing this, we will “be happy for the chance to get closer to the poor and humble, as Jesus is with each of us when we are away from him, to bend at the foot of brothers, as he, the Good Samaritan, does with each of us, with his compassion and forgiveness.”