Part of the attraction to Pope Francis is his common touch and the real parish priest feel he has about him. A few weeks ago, he called a pastor in Rome and asked him if he could help out with the First Communions. Recently, Pope Francis celebrated a Confirmation Mass for 44 young people from around the world. He gave a beautiful reflection on the call from God to them.
Refering to the Sunday’s readings, the Pope spoke on St John’s vision of a “new heavens and a new earth.” The Pope said that the vision of St John, “reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord’s face – that marvelous face, the most beautiful face of the Lord Jesus – and be with him for ever, in his love.”
The Pope encouraged the Confirmandi to trust in the Holy Spirit and his work of transforming hearts. Connected to this vision of the love of God for us, the Pope also outlined the tests. Following the Lord, “is to set out on a path with many obstacles. But difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God’s glory, just as they were for Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life! Do not be discouraged! We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!”
The Pope concluded, “Pay attention, my young friends to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with Him, provided we make ever more room for Him in our lives.
We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals, my dear young people: the new things of God, the trials of life, remaining steadfast in the Lord!”
The Pope is bringing a fresh vision of discipleship to the Church. We all need to make room for Christ. We need to recognize the battles in front of us and push forward to that day when we will finally gaze on that beautiful face of the Lord Jesus.
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