Pope Francis’ sermon for the Easter Vigil

Pope Francis sermon for the Vigil of Easter with my emphases and comments.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, [As I have written elsewhere, I think the theme of Francis pontificate is going to be about projecting “compassion”.  He leads off with compassion in this sermon.] a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity [and this is why Francis is trying to project compassion] and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. [Could this next part be an explanation of what Francis is doing by tossing things out and doing things according to a new style?  You decide.] Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. [Past… what?  Bad?  Now and future… what… good?  Or is he talking about the “new man” put on in baptism?  Let’s find out!] We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! [The new man?] Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.  [Almost word for word what I have hammered away at when pushing for a revival of confession!]

2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. [Get that?  Simple acts of compassion can be “events”, something new, something else.  They can even be a little scary, but they are moments of change.] Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness… and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

[READ CAREULLY…] Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.  [SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL]

3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: “they were terrified and bowed their faced to the ground”, Saint Luke tells us – they didn’t even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: “Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee… And they remembered his words” (Lk 24:6,8). [But remember means… a connection with the past and the remembering is important.  The remembering of the event is also an event.  Doesn’t this sound… Ratzingerian?] They are asked to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember 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.

On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms, to God’s surprises… so very beautiful. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us  – dear brothers and sisters – each day not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

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103 Responses to Pope Francis’ sermon for the Easter Vigil

  1. RobertK says:

    Could this next part be an explanation of what Francis is doing by tossing things out and doing things according to a new style?
    No!. Things were tossed out after Vatican 2. Nothing new. Discovering our Catholic identity and our liturgical heritage was new. We don’t just toss things out again after re-discovering them. He meant something else.

  2. mamajen says:

    Thinking of this in terms of the “lost sheep”, people who are not already among the flock, I think the “newness” he talks about makes a lot of sense. For many people Jesus is little more than an historical figure. Recognizing that he is more than that, that they can actually have a relationship with him, is indeed new and surprising. And I suppose all of us, even the ones who already believe, can use a reminder from time to time. I know I can.

    I have loved every homily of his that I have read so far. They are simple, easy to understand (well, sometimes you do need to think a bit) and just beautiful.

  3. louder says:

    I have really enjoyed Pope Francis, and I’m very hopeful about his pontificate. I think we will discover as time goes on what a treasure as a Holy Father he will truly be.

  4. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Thank you sharing this, Father. And a Blessed Easter to you. Tonight is special to our family – it is the fourth anniversary of our entry into the Church . . . AND our daughter-in-law enters the Church tonight in Rochester, NY!

  5. Thanks!

    The quote you liked so much, I liked enough to put in my homily for tonight and tomorrow!

  6. Christopher says:

    As I have written elsewhere, I think the theme of Francis pontificate is going to be about projecting “compassion”. He leads off with compassion in this sermon.

    I, too, think this will be his theme. The sermon was beautiful.

    Thank you for posting this sermon Father,

    God Bless.

  7. Katylamb says:

    Thank you Father Z! Such beautiful words and your comments were truly helpful.

  8. Christopher says:

    JoyfulMom:

    ‘AND our daughter-in-law enters the Church tonight in Rochester, NY!’

    Congratulations!

    Happy Easter to you and to you also Father,

    God Bless.

  9. boxerpaws1952 says:

    thank you Father Z. You have a Blessed Easter!! Everyone else here too.This might make your day.@Pontifex latest tweet(you may have already caught it) Support your priests with your love and prayers, that they may always be shepherds after Christ’s heart

  10. cbmiamiensis says:

    For those of us who loved the heart and mind of Ratzinger even before he was given to us as Benedict XVI our Holy Father Francis takes some getting used to but his homilies, including this one, help enable us to master our fears and urge us to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ in new and courageous ways. Yes, for many decisions, my reason demands to know “why” but my heart is moved to be a better priest by the event of This Man. Furthermore, I was always pleased to hear the voice of don Giussani in the magisterium of The Pope Emeritus and it seems to me that his “memory” remains alive in the teaching of Francis. Viva il Papa! Viva Papa Emerito Benedetto! Viva Papa Francesco, chi abita con noi!

  11. The comment that you liked so well, dear Father, is a bit of a paraphrase of the paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. Surrexit Christus! Veremente risorto!

  12. Tom Piatak says:

    Another beautiful homily from Pope Francis.

    And I think that some of the lost sheep Francis is focused in are beginning to listen. I heard today on EWTN radio an interview with an Irish priest working in Argentina. He said that Mass attendance has noticeably increased in Argentina after Francis’ election. In his own parish, there have been ten baptisms for people who had fallen away from the Church since Francis’ election, and this priest has also reconciled two people who had left the Church for evangelicalism in the brief time since Francis became Pope.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    Mamagen, you said, “Thinking of this in terms of the “lost sheep”, people who are not already among the flock, I think the “newness” he talks about makes a lot of sense. For many people Jesus is little more than an historical figure. Recognizing that he is more than that, that they can actually have a relationship with him, is indeed new and surprising. And I suppose all of us, even the ones who already believe, can use a reminder from time to time. I know I can.

    You got it. But a great many people don’t. Huge numbers of Catholics as well as unchurched people don’t believe that you can have a relationship with Christ. It’s not that they’ve forgotten it, they don’t know it to start with. I’ve talked to many Catholics like this myself.

    And many Catholics and others also see the word “compassion” and stall out right there and never get any farther because when they think of religion, they think of the supposed properties of religion rather than Jesus Christ. I have a feeling that Pope Francis is going to keep talking about Jesus Christ over and over until He starts to sink in with people and they start to get it.

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    Correction: You got it. But a great many people don’t. Huge numbers of Catholics as well as unchurched people don’t believe that you CAN’T have a relationship with Christ. It’s not that they’ve forgotten it, they don’t know it to start with. I’ve talked to many Catholics like this myself.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    Oh, gee. I wish I could correct typos in real time. The first version was correct.

  16. boxerpaws1952 says:

    it’s ok catholicmidwest.no problem. We know what you meant :)

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    Thanks boxerpaws1952.

  18. poohbear says:

    often we would prefer to hold on to our own security … We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!

    This morning at confession the priest said something very similar. He said we want to always stay in our own little world and are afraid to leave it because we are afraid of what God might do with us if we let Him. We are afraid God won’t do things our way, but if we let Him do with us what he wants, we will, in the end, be happy.

    Thanks, Fr Z, for posting this sermon and for always reminding us to go to confession.

  19. Nordic Breed says:

    Powerful sermon. I have to wonder if we are not already seeing a tremendous outpouring of grace on the world from the prayers of PE Benedict for the pontificate of Pope Francis. We must keep those Rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplets going for the conversion of sinners, and may each of us be first in line for those conversions daily.

  20. Mari Kate says:

    Thank you Fr. Z. With these words of our new Papa Francis, it now feels like Easter. When Pope Benedict announced his “retirement”, my heart went into a deep sorrow. Couldn’t imagine how our Lord could give us another someone as humble, holy and prophetic to prepare us for the times that are not only upon us, but the ones that are to come which will be very tough on Catholics. And then God surprises us! Just like the surprises of which Pope Francis speaks today. Pope Francis is himself a beautiful surprise from God. Just as the heart of a woman sets the tone of the home, so does the heart of the Church set the example for the world for these times. Our new Pope speaks then of Hope and Compassion. Just what we need to hear and see and experience and then to give to world.

    Now I feel like Mary Magdalena. I am surprised by the God of love and His provision for His Bride, the Church. Yes Pope Francis is a gift that we are still unpacking. But the first glimpses are truly wonderful and somewhat a little edgy! And the best part is that he has the prayers, wise counsel and filial obedience of Emeritus Pope Benedict who is a living saint. We are truly blessed.

  21. Bea says:

    Yes, Fr. Z Thanks!
    That “read carefully” part reminds me of my favorite “motto” : “Let go and Let God”
    He DOES give us wonderful surprises when we put our Trust in Him and not ourselves.

  22. Pingback: Examining Pope Francis' Sermon for the Easter Vigil - Big Pulpit

  23. jbpolhamus says:

    The surprises of God, and man’s surprises in the name of a personal conception of God, are two very different things. It’s kind of important to retain the ability to discern the difference. Nor do I want to stay in my “own little world,” I prefer the grown up world I was called by St. Paul to inhabit. Chil-like and child-ish are two different things. Kiddy-church has been over for me for a few years now. I grew up, no thanks to the Novus Ordo clergy, and put away childish things. I won’t be taking them up again, however our Bishop of Rome chooses to try to dumb us down. There will come a time, after he is gone, and perhaps many after him, when the church once again finds its voice, and stops attempting jig to the tune that every dissident mobster whistles at it. I’ll still be there, either physically or morally present, and will stoop yet again and begin to pick up the scattered sherds of ecclesiastical folly.

  24. kekeak2008 says:

    Fantastic sermon from Pope Francis. Many thanks to you, Fr. Z for this blog!! I read it everyday and always learn something when I do. May the Lord bless and protect the Church as the bearer of Truth, and may he bless us all on this Easter!

  25. Pingback: Easter Vigil Update on Pope Francis - CATHOLIC FEAST - Sync your Soul

  26. jbpolhamus says:

    “May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us – dear brothers and sisters – each day not to look among the dead for the Living One.”

    Nice try, with the dig at ‘lifeless’ tradition. Yes, I know, he’s paraphrasing the Gospel on Easter Eve. But thanks be to God that that we can be sure He – that “He” would be God the Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – works through the living Traditional Mass, unfashionable though it may be for the past two weeks, just as well as among the faithful priests whose understanding does not exclude the continuity of the sacramental church. Beyond that, I’m sure the Dead really appreciate the lack of mindfulness.

  27. MarcAnthony says:

    Pope Francis writes wonderful homilies.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t think he’s talking about the TLM. I think he’s talking about the tendency to look at the beautiful things of God as though they can’t be acceptable unless they’re dead. A whole lot of people engage in that, and not only a few traditionalists.

    I don’t think that the traditional wing is very high on his list of interests, at all. I mean there are a lot of faithful people there. Why would he want to do anything specifically to it? He’s clearly interested in evangelization and there are plenty of people to evangelize outside of it who he appears to be talking to a lot.

    On the other hand, the inhabitants of the departments he’s going to reform are probably a lot more unhappy than you all are. LOL. They’re probably fit to be tied along about now.

  29. MarcAnthony says:

    I find the incredible ability to read Pope Francis’s mind that so many people have astonishing. Perhaps there are more prophets in our midst than we first thought, right?

  30. Kathleen10 says:

    jbpolhamus and Robert K, I’m with you on this.

    Look I’m all for a Pope with a different style. I attended Baptist Church as a child and I am still happy as can be at a summer Tent Revival. I’m right at home wherever Jesus is loved and praised. And I understand that the Catholic Church is rich in worship “themes” for lack of a better term. There is just so much, something that speaks to everyone, if they bother to look. Simplicity, compassion, these are good. I enjoy a straightforward homily as well. Our Holy Father has much to teach us, surely.
    But the scrapping of tradition, the flouting of rules, this is a worry and ought to be. I won’t repeat what has been said well already. A certain amount of mindfulness about even the fact that we have endured a very unusual “change” in the papacy at all, the general uncertainty many of us already feel, these require compassion too! It really might be more sensitive to maintain tradition and ritual just in order to allow some kind of cognitive adjustment for the faithful, and certainly to avoid sending unintended signals to the silly such as that the past is history, out with the old, Pope Benedict is gone and we’re not concerned with what he did or how this might present to outsiders, and whoopdedoo just wait until I get going. And I’M going to show you what you don’t know about simplicity.

    Personal preference here, for what it’s worth, not much, but, I prefer a style that points to Christ by avoiding what may be considered emphasis on the me and my changes. It may be absolutely unintended, and God forgive me if it is. Every time I see our Holy Father, my heart wants to appreciate him and love him. This is a struggle, darn it, I’m just not really up for one right now. I could use at least one area in life where there isn’t cognitive dissonance and I’m disappointed this has to be a point of consideration at all. I’m sorry everyone, I certainly don’t want to criticize and have absolutely no desire to be a party pooper.

  31. Kathleen10 says:

    Please, as a last word on this column, I understand none of this has anything to do with me at all. It’s not about my personal preferences at all. It’s just that by refusing to wear this and refusing to do that, then breaking the rules, what is intended? What should we think! I am finding this all just too much in it’s own way. Ugh, even saying this much is painful. I’ll stop.

  32. Priam1184 says:

    PRAY FOR POPE FRANCIS. He will need it. And adding in the St. Francis Xavier prayer for unbelievers and a Fatima prayer for the conversion of sinners wouldn’t hurt either. To jbpolhamus above who said that when Francis said not to look for the Risen Christ among the dead that this was some sort of slight against praying for the dead: in all charity either you are very uneducated about the Faith or you are seeking to cause division among the faithful by your comment. The Church has believed since Day One that Christ is not to be found among the dead but the living and that is in fact the only reason that the Church exists at all as His Mystical Body; He is not dead but alive!

  33. Katylamb says:

    I guess what it’s about is his sermon. It was either beautiful and true or not. To me it was, to some it wasn’t. It gave me hope and as someone said above, made me feel Easter again. I won’t let anyone take that away from me with their long-faced sour takes on it. God bless all of you and I hope you have a joyful Easter. :)

  34. mamajen says:

    One other thing this made me think of is his Chrism Mass homily the other day in which he warned against becoming “Pelagian” by relying on self-help courses instead of God’s grace. I think that is another form of “looking for the living among the dead” as he discusses here.

    Anyway, I’m checking out of this thread while it’s still mostly positive. We should be focused on joy and gratefulness. Have a very happy Easter, everyone!

  35. lmo1968 says:

    Pope Francis’ homilies get to the heart of my life and I can relate to what he is saying. I love how he puts the Christian faith in personal terms: That it is ultimately a relationship with the Risen Christ.

    A blessed Easter to all of you and thank you Fr. Z. for the time and effort and thought you are putting into these past few days of blogging.

  36. NBW says:

    @joyfulMom7: Congratulations! Have a Blessed Easter everyone!

  37. BLB Oregon says:

    When it comes to trying to adjust to a new direction that was not asked for, something that was not imagined let alone desired, we can remember, too, that he’s gone through a much greater change since his papacy started than any of us have. We are getting used to the simplicity he brings to the papacy, but he is in turn getting used to the splendor that the Papacy has laid upon his shoulders. He has lost the freedom to show his compassion in whatever way he chose, as he used to, and has to find new ways. His homily may be based on things he has recently had to work through in prayer himself! Let us pray for him!!

    He totally understands that it is natural for change to upset people, too, and that explanations help. If the new things he has done have some wide-reaching import, I think he’ll explain that.

  38. Jack Hughes says:

    The True test of the Holy Father’s ‘compassion’ will be how much compassion he shows those who wish to be nourished by the Traditional Liturgy and whether he will defend them against Bishops who treat them like lepers

    If his past is an indication to his future I’m not holding my breath

  39. lana says:

    Thank you boxerpaws!

    Our Easter Vigil (NO) had @ 3 times the attendance it normally does. So did Good Friday and Holy Thursday. All very reverent.

  40. Lori Pieper says:

    Beautiful homily, both clear and compelling. Pope Francis really knows how to “work” the metaphors in Scripture, often in unusual ways, as Benedict also did.

    Happy Easter to all!

  41. KingofCharity says:

    He is reclaiming the Church’s social teaching back into the orthodox camp. He knows that the post-Vatican II abuses and heterodox liberals “hijacked” the Church’s social teachings and created a false dichotomy between social justice and liturgical uniformity and doctrinal orthodoxy.
    He will win over the hearts of the liberals and Leftist media before he lays the hammer down doctrinally. They will see the compassion and simplicity of Christ. He will win them with compassion and mercy and simplicity. The truth is that the Church’s social teachings have been overlooked by the Trads. In the minds of the Trads, words like justice, equality, poor, etc. have become “signs” of heresy, so we have shied away from them. The entire gamut of Church teaching needs to be unified into the orthodox camp.
    He is unifying the Church. He is reconciling social justice with doctrinal orthodoxy. Once this happens, it is only then, that the Church can bring liturgical uniformity and a love of the High Mass. He is making hybrid of the best of JPII and the best of Benedict XVI.
    Simplicity and spontaneity are not synonymous with sacramental and liturgical irreverence and invalidity.

  42. Animadversor says:

    On the other hand, the inhabitants of the departments he’s going to reform are probably a lot more unhappy than you all are. LOL. They’re probably fit to be tied along about now.

    I sometime wonder if it is right to assume that those who wish to reform the curia and those in the curia are disjoint sets.

  43. boxerpaws1952 says:

    “Nice try, with the dig at ‘lifeless’ tradition. ” again another case of reading something into his words that wasn’t there. I’m beginning to wonder if our problem is really Pope Francis?
    Have a Blessed Easter though…tomorrow is about the risen Lord and a people of hope.

  44. Fiat Mihi says:

    This little gem comes from a Vatican Radio report on a lunch that the Holy Father had with several priests who work among the poor in Rome wherein he encouraged those priests to be available frequently for confession. http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/03/30/pope_francis_has_lunch_with_rome_priests/en1-678250

  45. ajemiand says:

    I find it tender and touching that Pope Francis is highlighting the poor, compassionate Christ. This is what the Gospel is ultimately all about, not beautiful and legally perfect liturgies. [What are doing here is pitting one against the other. True Catholics don’t do that.] Yes, it was a novelty to change the foot washing rubric, but, as the Lord says, remember when David and his companions ate the bread reserved for the priests? Or plucked the grain on the Sabbath? [You are well-intentioned, I am sure, but a bit out of your depth with that line of thought, I’m afraid.]

  46. TNCath says:

    It was a beautiful homily. His ability to condense tremendous theology with such brevity is quite amazing. The Holy Father said, “Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us.” Indeed. Could it be also that the Holy Father is going through this same “newness” which has made him resist some of the responsibilities and traditions of his office?

    Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco!

  47. KingofCharity says:

    When humans are physically famished and on the cusp of death, we, people of charity, must feed them formula and rice. To restore health and vitality, we begin with the most basics of food and nutrition. Physical malnutrition, like the starving in Ethiopia, requires a slow, steady feeding of baby food. Similarly, the spiritually famished secular humanists and liberal Catholics of the world, are in desperate need of spiritual food. They are dying of spiritual, doctrinal, theological, and liturgical “hunger.” Yet, like physical hunger, we can’t revive them immediately through a fully balanced diet. Their stomachs and organs are fragile and weak. The starving who are on the cusp of death need baby food. Pope Francis knows this. Pope Francis knows that strict adherence to small “t” traditions, liturgical prescriptions, canonical law, piety, and disciplines of the Church reflect God’s Beauty and Order and the spiritual Food of the theologically, morally, and liturgically mature. The TLM (EF) is beautiful spiritual food, indeed! But giving the TLM to the spiritually starving people on the fringes of society would be like bringing prime rib and lobster to the hungry and malnourished in Ethiopia. We must begin anew. We must begin with baby food. We must go back to the Cross, the fundamentals of the Apostolic Deposit of Faith. The Cross of Christ is selfless love, sacrifice, service to the poor, suffering, and combating the Devil. The Eucharistic King Jesus needs to meet them where they are.

    Pope Francis is a riddler. He is like Jesus in the synoptic Gospels. He speaks in riddles, parables, clues, hints, etc. of what is to come. Like Jesus, he knows full well, that his Apostles and disciples don’t fully grasp where he is headed with all His teachings, but they will eventually get there, even if it means waiting for the Resurrection. Pope Francis is Feeding the spiritually immature (secular humanist, liberals, ignorant heterodox, etc.) while simultaneously speaking to us in “code.” He is saying, “Let me warm the hearts of my lost sheep and build their trust. Let me re-establish the Church’s moral authority in the world. I haven’t forgotten the beauty of the Byzantine liturgy or the authentic Vatican II understanding of the Mass.
    In the past, we trads were upset at ANY deviation from the Roman Missal because it was always a sign of larger dissent and heresy. It wasn’t about the strict formulas and liturgical nuances that really bothered us. What bothered us was that we knew their rejection of small nuances was really a rejection of Papal authority and Catholic orthodoxy. We knew that when a priest washed women’s feet he was thumbing his nose at Rome. So, we clung to formula and prescription as if they were big T Traditions and dogmatic proclamations. Pope Francis is pulling the rug from underneath the liberals. He will re-affirm the fixed and irrevocable nature of ALL Catholic doctrine and show that strict adherence to ALL the Church’s moral doctrines are perfectly compatible with compassion, service, and charity.

  48. frjim4321 says:

    Thanks for this piece. It may help me with the morning homily since the vigil was more directed toward the catechumens and it’s not going to work in the morning.

  49. Johnno says:

    Let’s hope that spontaneity will not leave the Pope open to harm… because you know there’s that Vision connected to the 3rd Secret of Fatima, about a Bishop in White (Francis wears white and refuses the liturgical vestments), who gives off the impression of the Holy Father (somewhat resembling Pius XI/XII at the time), and now likes to give the security team a headache… I’m just sayin… but hopefully that same free spirited outlook and disregard for the details and politics can get Russia consecrated… Maybe it’ll take a Pope like him to get it done.

  50. Sal says:

    Hopefully this very well phrased sermon will calm down everybody who posted here after Holy Thursday and had a complete meltdown.

    Pope Francis is not some wild-eyed liberal bomb-thrower.

  51. KingofCharity says:

    Compassion, simplicity, and selfless love are the surest and quickest way to re-establish the Catholic Church’s credibility in the eyes of the secular world. He must re-establish the collective perception that the Church is indeed holy, loving, forgiving, and Christ-centered. In the eyes of liberal Catholics, apathetic Catholics, disillusioned Catholics, cynical agnostics, and vitriolic atheists, liturgical uniformity, canonical adherence, and aesthetic beauty mean absolutely nothing IF the Church is not first and foremost Holy. If She is not first humble, forgiving, loving, and willing to call out hypocrisy and corruption.
    Vindicating the Church’s moral authority in the eyes of the world is JOB #1. Give Pope Francis more time.

  52. KingofCharity says:

    JPII clarified and codified the authentic evangelistic, ecumenical, and theological purpose of Vatican II
    Benedict XVI clarified and codified the authentic liturgical, patristic, and doctrinal purpose of Vatican II
    Pope Francis is clarifying and codifying the authentic pastoral, Christological, and missionary purpose of Vatican II

    It’s all coming together . . . . be patient. Pray and rejoice!

    Differentiating papal styles is completely compatible with a coherent, consistent, cohesive, congruous, and unified interpretation of Vatican II and its authentic vision.

  53. Marysann says:

    I am writing this at 8:00 a.m. in Rome. Daylight savings time began last night here. I am glad to read that Pope Francis’s homily last night was wonderful, but we and more than a thousand other people with tickets to the vigil Mass at St. Peter’s were unable to hear it. After standing in the the rain for at least an hour and a half, which is normally enough time to get through security there, we were turned away at 8:2o and told that the basilica was full. We arrived before the doors opened, and there seemed to be the usual number of people in line. There were fewer security scanners in operation than normal, and the line didn’t seem to move in the usual fashion. Our lavender tickets (the ordinary tickets were yellow) hand delivered to my husband’s office by the driver from the Prefettura Della Casa Pontifica, were not enough to get us in. We live in Rome, and will go to other papal Masses. I felt badly for the young couple from Rhode Island next to us in line who had been standing in the rain since 6:30. The wife was pregnant, and they had a little child with them. They had tickets to the Friday afternoon service, and couldn’t get into that either. So many of the people in the square with pilgrims on from other countries. Father, do you have any idea what happened? I know that you have contacts in Rome. We have gone to many papal events in the time that we have lived in Rome, and have never seen anything like this. Priests, religious sisters, and a very large number of others, all with tickets, were turned alway. If this new pontificate is going distribute tickets to papal events using the airline model, we will have arrive at 4:00 for an 8:30 event. The service was visible from the jumbotrons in the square, but we left since we would not fulfill our Mass obligation by watching it on a television. We will attend Mass this morning at our regular church, St. Patrick’s. I hope that my nice new Easter jacket is dry. If this is going to be the new norm, I would advice any of you who are visiting Rome, and who have tickets to a papal event to get there at least four hours early.

  54. jbpolhamus says:

    Oh, he’s clarifying, all right. Not just that, he’s DISTILLING! But…do you need a licenciate or a licence to distill?

  55. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mamajen and @catholicmidwest,

    yes, you can actually have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Some go so far as not to talk about this relationship at all, just as little as they would w.r.t. their other friends and neighbors.

    [I doubt, btw, that for many, Christ is “little more than a historic figure”. Explicit unbelieves excepted, and they have another problem: They do not believe Christ is God.
    For the others, while many cannot perhaps talk accurately about the Trinity dogma, still the idea that Jesus is God is around; and that’s good. That makes Him, in their view also, something else than “little more than a historic figure”. The question is thus not on the human side, where “history vs. living” has its place; it is on the Divine side, with the Deus absconditus of the old semimonotheistic heathenism as opposed to God Incarnate. Christ’s resurrection, as it happens a fact of history, proves that God really does concrete actions within this world.]

  56. Jack Hughes says:

    @King of Charity

    I have no problems with Charity, compassion and selfless love (all excellent things) but I fail to see how casting aside papal traditions, and thereby cheapening the office is going to restore the Churches credibility in the secular world. My conversion started with the very reverent (for an NO) Requiem Mass for JP2, after that I sort off stumbled in 18 months into BXVI’s pontificate and the rest as they say is history. If Francis is going to preach the Gospel people in the secular world will go for his throat simply because he is preaching the truth and because people don’t like that nasty old man in white telling them that they can’t screw around, abort, contracept and ‘marry’ someone of the same gender they’ll hate him..

    A question: Why is Aesthetic liturgy, strict adherence to Cannon Law and reverence in the liturgy opposed to restoring the church’s credibility? Surely if he came down hard on the likes of biden, pelosi et al and got the house in order before preaching the gospel it would help our credibility when dealing with the issues of our time i.e. HSS Mandate, SSM etc. likewise if all Catholics are singing from the same hymn sheet rather than engaging in mass dissent (its a well known fact in the America that lots of Catholics don’t follow the churches teachings on sexual morality) it would help us present a credible united front. Also lets face it the likes of pelosi and biden have been given 20 odd years of compassion, methinks it is time to (metaphorically) get out the thumbscrews

    As for your parable about banquets, the first time I assisted at a Missa Soleminis I was blown away by the beauty and actually felt Catholic, I would also note that hootenanny masses are not the ones you get in most films/TV shows which have any reference to the Faith which are still in the 60’s (at the latest), in the Star Trek Voyager episodes “Fair haven” and “Spirit Folk” the women are wearing mantilla’s, the doctor (playing a priest) is wearing a Cassock and there’s nary a moveable altar to be seen,

  57. TLM says:

    Thank you Fr. Z. I find your insight so helpful and appreciate it immensely.

  58. Geoffrey says:

    “It’s all coming together . . . . be patient. Pray and rejoice!
    Differentiating papal styles is completely compatible with a coherent, consistent, cohesive, congruous, and unified interpretation of Vatican II and its authentic vision.”

    Amen! There is something going around on Facebook that says:

    Pope John Paul II: “This is what we believe”.
    Pope Benedict XVI: “This is why we believe it”.
    Pope Francis: “Now go do it”.

  59. I do believe that KingofCharity is on to something. I too see it the way you do, and pray that we are both correct.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    Imrahil,

    A very sizable proportion of Catholics in the US, as a matter of fact, don’t believe that you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When they practice their faith, they depend SOLELY on “the system” for everything they expect from religion, rather than depending on Christ personally within the Church. This is a factor in explaining a huge number of Catholic behaviors.

  61. Supertradmum says:

    catholicmidwest, As an Iowan and a trad, I can assure that most if not all of my friends in the Quad-Cities not only know that one must have a personal relationship with Christ, but have one.

    And, the seminarians I know from several dioceses in that area also know and experience Christ personally.

    So be reassured.

  62. Kathleen10 says:

    Marysann: How frustrating for you! I’m sorry that happened. I can’t imagine it.
    The only consolation I can think of is that God saw your intention to be there, and cares about your terrible disappointment. Imagine what wonderful consolation will come your way!

    Happy Easter Fr. Z. and All! Christ is risen!

  63. I think Papa Francisci broke a world record yesterday night; his Easter Vigil service lasted under two hours! Great homily though, the man is quite a speaker, his words speak to the heart with compassion.

    Personally, I just hope he bucks up his ideas on liturgy slightly! Or, you know, he could just abolish the Novus Ordo and maybe just translate the Tridentine Low Mass! Now, there’s a thought eh?

  64. Joseph-Mary says:

    The compassion and reaching out that our new Holy Father is augmenting is nothing new. It is what Catholics do and have done. It was the Church that established hospitals and universities and more. It is the Catholics that have been running the soup kitchens and the homeless shelters more than anyone else. It is what we do to bring Christ to the world.

    And although I have worked soup kitchens and do visit the elderly weekly and do stand up for unborn life, I still want a reverent, properly offered liturgy. The ‘ad-lib’ scaled down or changed Masses only bring an upset to my heart. St. Francis himself was not stingy on the liturgy or church appointments. Francsicans can live poverty but their churches will be simple AND lovely, not an ugly multipurpose thing not fitting for God. God Himself showed that He wishes His tabernacle and so forth to be lovely; He set out specifics in the Old Testament. While it is our hearts and souls that He wishes, we cannot ignore that human beings respond to beauty. It is also part of our Church.

    About 2 dozen souls entered the Church at my parish last night. Everything was done beautifully.

    Yet this morning in the Denver Post—no Easter mentioned on the front page and just glancing through, I did not find any mention at all. We are entering into a certain post-Christian age ever more rapidly. That personal relationship does not get any stronger than what one can experience through the sacramental life. We cannot take it for granted; we may not always have it readily available.

  65. Wallace says:

    Doesn’t this sound… Ratzingerian? Yes, and even more like Msgr. Luigi Giussani.

  66. Lucas Whittaker says:

    The words of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, like many of his actions (his choice to reside in community at Saint Martha’s House), point to something bigger than Francis himself, they point beyond him to the gospel itself. The first words uttered by this Holy Father (every one up to this point) remind me of the words that Jesus spoke when he began his public ministry: “Repent and believe in the Good News.” My own heart is moved by the things that I mention, and I believe that many other hearts are also moved by Papa Francis. My singular hope is that we see more consistency from him so that every person will begin to see that they have a Father in the Holy Father. Consistency would go far toward realizing the unity for which Jesus prayed. I hope that Francis continues to call people to conversion with beautiful words such as these from his sermon for the Easter vigil.

  67. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Jack Hughes wrote, Surely if he came down hard on the likes of biden, pelosi et al and got the house in order before preaching the gospel it would help our credibility when dealing with the issues of our time i.e. HSS Mandate, SSM etc. likewise if all Catholics are singing from the same hymn sheet rather than engaging in mass dissent (its a well known fact in the America that lots of Catholics don’t follow the churches teachings on sexual morality) it would help us present a credible united front. Also lets face it the likes of pelosi and biden have been given 20 odd years of compassion, methinks it is time to (metaphorically) get out the thumbscrews. They don’t exactly need thumbscrews but they need a jolt of real charity-and so do misguided Catholics scandalized by the likes of pro abortion,same sex ‘marriage,artificial contraception Catholics. Beginning at the top,Pelosi and Biden. You have hit the nail on the head re the Church in the United States.
    When you have a min hope you read: http://cpandf.wall.fm/blogs/23#.UVhUd1e_NJI

  68. Katylamb says:

    Fiat Mihi, thank you for that link. Beautiful! Especially: Msgr. Feroci said Pope Francis urged them to be generous in offering confession.
    “He said, ‘Open the doors of the Church, and then the people will come in…if you keep the light on in the confessional and are available, then you will see what kind of line there is for confession…’ The Pope said he was confident of the need of the people of God for priests to open the doors and allow the people to meet God,” Msgr. Feroci told Vatican Radio.

  69. Imrahil says:

    Dear @catholicmidwest,

    it is, at least for men, easier to have a relationship with Our Lord (that of the sinner is, after all, one too) than to talk about having it. This may make up for quite a portion, though I grant not all, of what you describe. Some people say “no” when they mean “huh?”.

    Still, I do not believe that the Catholics you mean are constantly committing sacrilege because wishing for empty rites. And if they don’t, they get Christ, within the rites.

    In case that is not personal enough (and that would require re-thinking, since Christ’s grace is the one of Christ as a person), take the Stations of the Cross and those who pray them.

  70. catholicmidwest says:

    Imrahil,

    I’m not speaking of sacrilege, Imhrahil, necessarily. Rather, the pope is urging people on to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is a new thing for many Catholics to hear. Many Catholics have not been encouraged to really put much emphasis on that, and many of them do not have a personal discipleship relationship with Jesus Christ, that relates directly to Him, and then goes directly out to others. For many Catholics, Jesus Christ is a “feature of the system,” to put it bluntly.

    You know, the great reformers the Church has had (St. Francis of Assisi, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Catherine of Siena) called on Catholics to stay within the Church, but re-think their relationships with God and bring them back from something that had grown cold and abstract and routine. I think we’re at that point again. We’re being called back, within the Church, to the vibrant Christian discipleship and faithfulness that Catholics are supposed to have. All three of the recent popes have played a role, as someone has posted elsewhere on this blog.
    PJPII: What we believe
    PBXVI: Why we believe
    PF: Now do it
    Or something like that.

  71. catholicmidwest says:

    PS. Imrahil,

    Men certainly do have relationships with each other that are warm and affiliative. My husband goes out to breakfast with his brother, whom he loves, on a regular basis. They also go hunting together, and troop off smiling every fall to come back making excuses why they didn’t get a deer. [NB: I know why. They went to the cabin, sat and talked, ate donuts and watched TV.] It’s a brotherhood relationship.

    If all these women can have kosher relationships with Mary, and they do, then men can have relationships with Christ, and some do.

  72. catholicmidwest says:

    JackHughes,

    At the very beginning of Christianity, the Church went through a long period where Christianity was not only illegal but subject to long and violent purges of martyrdom. Yet, the number of Christians in the Church went from 12 to nearly a million before it was made legal. The Christian message is NOT inherently repellent to human beings or this could not have happened. That’s a bad assumption. It wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. It is a meme that Christians like to use as an excuse however.

    If that’s not still happening, then we’re not doing it right.

  73. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    How is adoring Christ in the exposed Blessed Sacrament NOT having a personal relationship with Him? Surely it is a case of recognizing Him where the world doesn’t/can’t see Him.

    How is praying the morning offering not having a personal relationship with Him?

    Sufficiently large numbers of us don’t have visions or interior locutions or such that this CAN’T be a requirement to go to heaven. If one must be a seer at Medjugorje… isn’t that really saying that God approves of gnosticism?

    So — where am I going with this?

    Christ founded the Church. I forget who said it (but one of the helpful types hereabouts can immediately tell us): He who loves God and hates the Church makes no sense. If God has abandoned the Church, then all sorts of other illogical ideas do (make sense). If God has given us a pope who despises ritual and intends to spur obedience by flauting the rules, then He has given us a cross to carry which, to the best of our abilities, we must do.

    If ever it should happen that His Holiness teaches error as truth or truth as error, we will know that he isn’t actually the pope. Short of that, perhaps we should pray.

    Could I suggest a spiritual bouquet for His Holiness?

    (With Father’s indulgence, we could use this space for that purpose?)

  74. catholicmidwest says:

    Chris,
    If you go back and look at the second paragraph of my post at 12:11pm, you’ll see that I’m talking precisely about a relationship with Jesus Christ, within the Catholic Church. I was very clear about that because I think it’s necessary.
    You know, early in Church history, the Romans had a nasty habit of carting off our popes and either exiling them or killing them outright and we survived that. Why? Because Catholicism is bigger than a single pope. We’ll get through this too.

  75. Huxtaby says:

    Happy Easter Father,

    Just read the following appaling article in which you have been maligned, sorry, mentioned!

    Talk about someone trying to come over all balanced and objective and failing miserably.

    http://www.v2catholic.com/dtimbs/2013/2013-03-31pope-francis-the-disturber.htm

  76. Maria says:

    Dear King of Charity,

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

    “Compassion, simplicity, and selfless love” — I have always known the Catholic Church to be this. Compassion – I saw a lot of Catholics helping other people during calamities like earthquake and even tribal/ethnic cleansing in Africa. Isn’t it that the Catholic Church runs the biggest charitable organization. Simplicity – maybe we can define this further. Selfless love – don’t we have the saints to show this and to emulate?

    “Vindicating the Church’s moral authority in the eyes of the world is JOB #1. Give Pope Francis more time.” — I have always believed that the Catholic church have moral authority. This is the reason that we are always attacked by the secular world to conform to their secular thinking. This is the very reason why Devil wants the church destroyed because we have moral authority. I have always believed that our clergy’s main responsibility starting from our Pope, is the salvation of soul. We are the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27) called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16) and perfect (Mt 5:48). We are His temple (1 Cor 3:16-17). We are God’s temple, how can we destroy an unborn child? How can we not respond to the needs of the marginalized: homeless, rape victim, poor, the uneducated, victims of bad government policies and the rest? This is our teaching, isn’t it? We should I believe be witnesses to God’s love, thus, showing compassion and selfless love. As Jesus showed us the simplicity of life, we showed emulate it.

    I believe what Pope Francis is trying to say is reminding who we are again because we are losing our identity in the secular world.

    May our Blessed Lord God gloriously reigning as King, the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, ever ancient ever new, was crucified for our redemption so that we may know the way, grant you and your family the courage and strength to be witnesses to proclaim His truth, His beauty and His goodness to the ends of the earth with peace and joy in charity!

    Happy Easter & God bless,
    Maria

  77. catholicmidwest says:

    Chris,

    In this homily, Pope Francis said, ” Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

    Do you really think that he is preaching gnosticism here? Really? If you do, you need to look up the meaning of the term “gnosticism.” This is NOT gnosticism. This is classic Christianity.

  78. MikeM says:

    I think that Pope Francis’ emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ is pretty much the same as Pope Benedict’s. They have different preaching styles, but on that front, the content is mostly the same. Supposedly Pope Francis is a fan of Guardini’s The Lord. I sense that influence, which was strong in Benedict and somewhat present in John Paul II, in him.

  79. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The kind of people who go to Adoration, say the Rosary, do Stations, etc. are exactly the kind of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus _already._ Dipping your toe into mystical prayer pretty much means talking directly _to_ Jesus, the saints, etc.

    The kind of Catholics who don’t think of Jesus as a person are the same kind of people who are vague on why they go to church and don’t realize they hear Gospel readings at every Mass. They don’t stay in the Church because they don’t know God. (Granted, some folks do know God but leave the Church because they don’t understand the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) And yes, this is one reason why it’s good to teach kids (and converts) traditional methods of prayer. Because they pretty much all demand that you interact with Jesus, the saints, etc. Modernistic prayer often treats God as an abstraction or an uncaring force of nature, which is not the kind of God anybody can be expected to love and believe in.

  80. catholicmidwest says:

    MikeM,
    I would agree with you. Some things about the two of them are very similar. This pope invites people to let Jesus into their lives personally, and the last one wrote a whole series of books to encourage people to know Jesus better. And there are other similarities. This is why it’s a bit surprising that there’s so much angst.

    Suburbanbanshee,
    You’re painting with a very broad brush though. I’m not sure it’s all that simple a difference.

  81. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Catholic midwest:

    I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I was challenging anything that you said. Rather more, I thought I was addressing the question of abandoning tradition on the grounds that this is merely an institutional relationship, not a personal one. I’m not sure I thought you were making a contrary point. For years now, people have been telling me that we can either be “stuck in the pre-Vatican 2 past” or we can have a “personal relationship”. I find it absurd that the way to develop a “personal” relationship with Christ is to abandon 2000 years of the wisdom of the saints. In the same way, I find it ill-advised to go around knocking down fence posts within the Church without asking why they are there in the first place.

    (To this end, I once attended a daily Mass at the parish near where I lived at the time, to discover that we needed an EMHC for the purposes of distributing Holy Communion to a human population of 6 people, including the EMHC. Makes no sense. The argument about “taking too much time” made no sense, and I saw through it that day, and have opposed the general use of the EMHC ever since.)

    Cheers,

    Chris

  82. mamajen says:

    Jumping back into “the fray” because I think this has become interesting and constructive.

    I think it is very possible for Catholics to do good, holy things like adoration, praying the rosary, etc. and yet still struggle with that personal connection with Jesus. Yes, that connection is there when we do those good things whether we feel it or not, but it doesn’t mean we are always recognizing it and making the most of it. At least I hope I’m not the only one who finds that true. Even though I know Jesus is more than a dead person from history, even though I feel like he helps me from time time in a noticeable way, there are plenty of times when I completely fail to put my faith in him or try to understand what he wants me to do. I don’t like being surprised, and I like to fix things myself. So, even though I’m not a “lost sheep”, Pope Francis’ homily really spoke to me, too. It’s a really personal thing and difficult to explain, but I believe most people struggle at times to connect with Jesus no matter how holy their lives may be.

  83. lana says:

    Mamajen, How about good spiritual reading? That is indispensable. Scripture, St. Alphonsus, St Therese, The Imitation of Christ, Fr Faber. Those are my favorites. Also dont forget St Therese’s words: “Tell Him again and again that you love Him, even if you feel nothing.”.

    Happy Easter!

    Chris, I never heard anyone tell me I had to choose between the saints and a personal relationship. Perhaps by pre-V2 they mean a certain Jansenistic attitude that is fairly recent in church history. I like your idea of a spiritual bouquet.

  84. KingofCharity says:

    Protestantism is a personal relationship with Jesus. Catholicism is a holy relationship with Jesus.
    Protestantism is a personal relationship with Jesus. Catholicism is a personal and communal relationship with Jesus.
    Protestantism strives to live forever. Catholicism strives to love forever.
    Protestantism knows the Spirit of Jesus. Catholicism knows the physical, glorified, resurrected Body of Jesus and Spirit of Jesus.
    Protestantism knows Jesus through Scripture, prayer, fellowship, song/worship services, and charity. Catholicism knows Jesus through Scripture, prayer, fellowship, Mass/Eucharist, song, charity, Sacrament, Tradition, Communion of Saints, fellowship, charity, piety, traditions, sacramentals, relics, liturgy, disciplines, canon law, Holy Hierarchy, Magisterium, mortification, etc.
    Protestantism reflects on the memory of the Incarnate Jesus. Catholicism lives in the perpetual mystery of the Incarnate Jesus.
    Protestantism encounters Jesus with their heart and mind. Catholicism encounters Jesus with their heart, mind, and body.
    Protestantism is fundamentally concerned with a person knowing Jesus. Catholicism is fundamentally concerned with How a person knows Jesus.
    Protestantism sees the New Testament as a Book. Catholicism sees the New Covenant as a Act.
    Protestantism sees themselves as the Church of the Bible. Catholicism sees the Bible as the Book of the Church.
    Protestantism sees the Word as infallible paper and ink.
    Catholicism sees the Word as Triune Divinity Present among us through Scripture, Sacrament, Church, and Communion of Saints.
    Protestantism sees the Gospel as Written letters.
    Catholicism sees the Gospel as Written letters and Oral Tradition.
    Protestantism sees “church” as mystical and invisible communion of true believers.
    Catholicism sees “church” as mystical Body and Bride of Christ made up of Weeds and Wheat in a physical Davidic Kingdom.
    Protestantism views liturgical worship as a superfluous roadblock to Jesus. Catholicism views liturgical worship as a supernatural bridge to Jesus.
    Protestantism views religion as vane ritual, empty ceremony, and pretentious religiosity. Catholicism views nothing as vane, empty, or pretentious if done through the lens of Christ with a sincere heart.
    Catholicism perfects the human heart’s hard wired need for liturgical expression, sign, sacrament, and symbol. We bring the whole human experience to God. We sanctify paganism. Baptize cultural expressions. Raise up the good to Christ. Discard the evil to Hell. Save the rays of holiness. Cast off all that nullifies grace.
    Catholicism is a relationship sustained by religion. A perfected religion. We sustain our communion with Jesus by eating the Eucharist, praying, reading Scripture, receiving the Sacraments, fighting the Devil and his demons with sacramentals, relics, participating in prayerful piety, disciplines, and liturgical traditions, such as Stations of the Cross and The Rosary.

    Again, we are a relationship, a marriage. We sustain and feed our marriage with God through acts of piety, discipline, liturgical discipline, prayer, sacrifice, fasting, abstinence, mortification, and charity.
    We are a relationship sustained by religion.
    It isn’t enough to just have “a relationship with Jesus.” We need to cultivate and nurture our relationship. We need to predispose our free will to more fully cooperate with Grace and transform itself into the Divine Will.
    We must have a personal and communal relationship with the Eucharist–the risen and glorified Jesus.

  85. Mum26 says:

    Pope Francis’ homilies touch my heart deeply. What love for Our Lord and conviction flow from his words.
    Immediately, after hearing the first couple of sermons after his election I was reminded of the time of Mercy that precedes the time of Justice. St. Faustina in her diary tells us: “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146)”
    Somehow I cannot shake the impression that he may be the Pope for that mission, to bring Mercy to the world.
    Having said that, I am concerned about the impact wrt. TLM. Not so much about what Pope Francis will do or not do, but rather about how his example will be interpreted by those already hostile to the TLM.
    I can a bit understand the difficulty that he might have coming from humble circumstances in Argentina to the somewhat “stiff” protocol of the Vatican. Perhaps it was easier for BXVI; after all he had spent the last 30 years there, first as Prefect of the CDF and then as Pope. The adjustment was not as drastic, he practically moved “down the hall”.
    I find it extremely encouraging though, that in his short time as Holy Father Pope Francis has already met 3 times with PE BXVI – twice personally, and then the German news kath.net reports that on Holy Thursday Pope Francis had a long and intense phone call with BXVI. Clearly they are not just “long and intensely” discussing the weather.
    BXVI is at the foot of the cross praying down graces for Francis, and Francis seems to be prudent, wise and humble enough to seek his input.
    Prayers and fasting! This is the year of faith after all. Let’s use the entire Catholic arsenal at our disposal to witness to our Catholic Faith and Identity. After all, we do have the fullness of it.

  86. catholicmidwest says:

    mamajen,
    I also think it’s an interesting topic. Pope Francis’ homilies also speak to me for the same reason. Specifically, they remind me that Christ will always welcome me with open arms, always be ready to see me when I come to him. I tend to let my relationship with Jesus Christ go at times, because well, I like to do things myself and get object-oriented and wander off in a tizzy. LOL. But then I get lonely and go looking for Him again. Sometimes I even manage to do it before I’ve gotten into big trouble, but not always. As long as we’re being honest here. I like Pope Francis’ homilies.

    KingofCharity,
    Sometimes talking about a relationship with Jesus Christ bothers Catholics because they have sometimes been taught it’s a protestant thing, but no, it’s a very Catholic thing. If you read St. Therese and St. Francis both of them had very robust personal relationships with Christ. This aspect of Christianity seems to surmount the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism.

  87. Blog Goliard says:

    @KingofCharity: You’re on the right track. It’s important to try to tease out the differences between what evangelical Protestants mean by a “personal relationship with Jesus” and what Catholics mean by it. Just because we use the same language doesn’t mean we are expressing the same ideas.

    In my experience, that “personal relationship” can be a surprisingly solipsistic thing when it’s not undertaken in the context of the Church. Ours is a narcissistic age…we can easily fall in love less with Christ our Lord than with our own imagined ideal buddy Jesus. Constant engagement with the Sacraments, with tradition, with the life of the local church, and with one’s fellow parishioners can help stave this off.

  88. KingofCharity says:

    @Mum26,
    “Having said that, I am concerned about the impact wrt. TLM. Not so much about what Pope Francis will do or not do, but rather about how his example will be interpreted by those already hostile to the TLM.” I see your point, and my gut instinct was to share your fear. My mind was telling me that the liberals will take this gesture as a “papal nod of approval” for their last 40 years of heterodox havoc. They will think, “Finally, a pope who understand the real ‘Spirit’ of Vatican II . . . . . ” We must not be afraid and presume the worst.
    He is a pope of profound love.
    He is not purposefully planting seeds of dissent, or encouraging Catholics to discard traditions or protest the Vatican, or clandestinely open up the doors of women’s ordination, or subvert the papacy by over-humanizing it.
    His overflowing love for the poor and for God simply can’t be held bound by small t traditions, prescriptions, and rubrics. For God’s infinite love poured into us through the Eucharist can’t be held bound by our own laws. We do not serve our laws and prescriptions; rather, our laws and prescriptions serve the needs of the Church. His actions are shedding light on how Christ’s love.

  89. Bill Foley says:

    lana,

    You are right; spiritual reading is essential for a true interior life. May I suggest two classics and arguably the two finest Catholic spiritual books of the 20th century: Christ The Life of The Soul by Blessed Dom Columba Marmion and This Tremendous Lover by Dom Eugene Boylan.

  90. KingofCharity says:

    Blog Goliard

    Spot on. Well said.

    The “dictatorship of relativism” has found its way even into the seemingly innocent and orthodox, (although mostly Protestant in origin) expression, “I have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

  91. His overflowing love for the poor and for God simply can’t be held bound by small t traditions, prescriptions, and rubrics. For God’s infinite love poured into us through the Eucharist can’t be held bound by our own laws. We do not serve our laws and prescriptions; rather, our laws and prescriptions serve the needs of the Church. His actions are shedding light on how Christ’s love. Yes and i don’t think Our Holy Father is much concerned about the liberals and trads having at each other.He’s focused on getting out THE message.i hope they hear it :)

  92. catholicmidwest says:

    Blog Goliard,

    In a sense yes, it’s important to recognize that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is most deep and fruitful when it’s inside the Catholic Church and it’s personal and sacramental at the same time.
    Protestants sometimes try to replace the Church with the relationship and that can be dangerous because then you don’t quite know when you’ve stopped talking to Christ and you’ve started talking to yourself, or talking with a lot of clutter in the way. Christ wants all Christians to be united in one body; it says that in Scripture.
    The Church, teaching and sacraments, remedies that difficulty because the sacraments serve as feeders for the relationship, and along with the Church’s teaching, help to keep you connected and on track correctly. And help you see the mission that Christ places each person on; the personal vocation, be that family life or whatever. He’s right there all the time if you go looking for him.

  93. catholicmidwest says:

    boxerpaws1952,
    I agree with you. I think PF is very engaged with the mission of the Church and he’s teaching us about that. I hope people can get past these old political scars and listen to him too.

  94. KingofCharity says:

    catholicmidwest,
    I agree, many trad Catholics view assenting to a “personal relationship with Jesus” as a Protestant “thing,” or at best, a reasonable, ecumenical gesture.

    But, as Trad Catholics, once one comes to know Who the Eucharist Is. One must be compelled to pour out love, mercy, and forgiveness upon the world. At the same time, that same encounter with Christ, should compel us to want to “dot every i and cross every t” when it comes to any aspect of our faith, both doctrine and discipline, dogma and devotion. We should desire to hand ourselves over in complete submission to Christ’s Love and the Laws of His Church.
    As the Church continues to reform its catechesis, the Church must do all it can to help young Catholics develop a personal encounter with the Eucharistic Lord.
    It is not enough to just say you “know Jesus.” Jesus has shown us the way in which He desires to be known and how He wants to be known and communed with in the fullest sense. Jesus desires to be known by all Christians via the Eucharistic species.

  95. catholicmidwest says:

    But KingofCharity,
    Are you limiting Jesus to only speaking personally in one way?
    Is this what Pope Francis is saying or is he saying something more?

  96. Mary T says:

    MaryAnn at 1:3o on March 31….. I too know a number of people with tickets who could not get into the Vatican’s Easter Vigil Mass. I feel especially sorry for people who saved money for a long time to spend their first Easter in Rome, including families, seminarians, priest, and sisters.

    I have been to a half dozen ticketed Vatican events and this has NEVER happened to me, nor to any of my friends. I am praying this is not the “new normal”.

  97. Jack Hughes says:

    Catholic mid west

    Where on earth did I say that the Catholic Message is inherently repellent to human beings?

  98. catholicmidwest says:

    Along about 31 March 2013 at 3:51 am.

  99. AnnAsher says:

    One. Last. Little. Element.
    There are more than this singular (else wise why assign a numerical value?)
    The other elements are first, second, etc; this one is Last.
    The other elements are larger? This One Element is Little.

    This One Last Little Element is the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    It is everything.
    The resurrection is everything to those who believe.

    Why does PF1 minimize The Resurrection ?

  100. AnnAsher says:

    @kathleen10- ditto. Thank you for speaking.

  101. LJ says:

    The temptation to speculate about our Holy Father is very strong, and for the most part, if you follow the various commentaries, that speculation is invariably a reflection of the desires of the one speculating. That’s natural and not surprising, be it a liberal “spirit of Vatican II” commentator or a Traditionalist.
    Might I suggest that we curb the urge and go with what we know.
    In the first place, Francis has a record as Bishop. Some say it is ambiguous, but I haven’t seen much yet to comfort the heart of a dissident.
    Secondly, we know from official Vatican statements that the Holy Father indeed had St Francis of Assisi in mind when he chose the name. What is the first place then to start?
    Rather than take the modern day PETA-type image of St. Francis or the politic leftist social justice image or the Catholic popular image contained in a line “preach always, when necessary use words” which I have yet to be able to specifically find in his writings;
    perhaps instead the best approach would be to study the writings of St. Francis himself.
    I think we may be surprised to find that while humble and compassionate, St. Francis was tough on those who were baptized and had fallen away from faith (this is still the Year of Faith) and did not mince words about the necessity of their repentance (conversion of heart) and return to Christ through the sacrament of penance (confession/reconciliation). And he did not mince words about where those who failed to do so would end up, contrary perhaps to some of the more popular theological opinion today regarding the population of that place.

    If Pope Francis follows the example of St. Francis we may reasonably expect to see a humble, compassionate yet strict and tireless evangelist to the baptized, and a kind yet direct man on a mission like that of St. Francis, to re-build the Church. And we can expect no deviation from orthodoxy. May God bless Pope Francis.

  102. MaryAlice says:

    Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

    What the Pope said above is what I read in the writings of the saints and the words from my SD. I think this man will have something to teach all of us.