Pope Francis on New Years Day: Mary is the Answer

In his address on New Years Day, Pope Francis said, “as we start a new year, it is a good time for Christians to also start anew, leaving behind past burdens and baggage, and starting over from what really matters.”

Catholic News Agency said the Pope also added, “Today’s feast tells us that if we want to go forward, we need to turn back: to begin anew from the crib, from the Mother who holds God in her arms,” he stated.

We all wrestle with “New Years Resolutions.”  And many of us struggle with changes we need to make in our lives.  By focusing on Mary the Mother of God we can leave “the baggage” we carry with us in our daily lives, and move ahead.  Consider all the changes Mary went through!

Catholics mark January 1st each year to celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  On some years (when the date falls on a Sunday), this is a holy day of obligation.

Pope on New Year’s Day: Devotion to Mary is a must

Leading Means to Serve, Not to Be Served: Pope Francis

Pope Francis is a man of humility and no one can deny that. Leading means to serve, not to be served and he shows that each day. He chose to live in a humble home, commute, and carry his own luggage. He is a person who does not want to be served. He is a real and great example of a leader whose heart’s desire is to serve and not to be served. He renewed the faith of many Catholics who had lost some of their faith. A great blog: Beyond Hemlines: What A Pope Can Teach Us About Modesty by Deborah Farmer Kris perfectly pointed out how Pope Francis has restored the meaning of humility in its truest sense.

“Pope Francis’ news-making decisions to shun certain “allurements of fashion” is what first endeared him to his new flock. He carries his own bags, swapped the apostolic palace for a room at the Inn of Saint Martha, celebrates mass each morning with rank-and-file Vatican employees, and is driven around in a Ford Focus.”

The Pope’s call for the Catholic Church to be a Church of the poor is a reminder to all Catholics to remain humble and to share. He is a great example to world leaders, that leading means to serve, not to be served.

Pope Francis Calls for Social Justice

The leader of the Catholic Church has received some criticism because of his thoughts on humility, freedom, and responsibility. I am a personal admirer of the Pope Francis, and Pope Francis calls for social justice. More specifically I am referring to his views on helping the poor. I feel that he represents the image of Jesus quite well because he is humble, wise, and he keeps a poor spirit. So why is he now being scrutinized? Mostly because he has shown love for the poor, he dedicates himself to the poor. Often are his speeches and prayers directed to the poor. People have asked, what about the rich? Personally, I think that this is a call for contemplation for those who have much to give, not a condemnation of them. As a recent article states:

“We must not equate every call for social justice to communism. Justice is most possible amid a culture of freedom, but freedom also requires responsibility to one another.”

You can read more from this thorough blog post titled Really, is Pope Francis…a communist? In defense of one of my favorite people in the whole world, I do believe that freedom requires responsibility and we must learn to face this fact. This means caring for our fellow human beings, especially those who are struggling.

Pope Francis Gave a Surprise Phone Call

For as long as I can remember, the Pope has been one of the most important role models in my life. I never imagined that the leader of our Catholic Church would be so down to earth and friendly. Recently Pope Francis received a letter from an Italian boy, and he really went the extra mile. Instead of just reading the letter he responded. I don’t mean through letter either. Pope Francis gave a surprise phone call to this student recently.

Pope Francis is gaining a reputation for being a very down-to-earth person. Despite his position at the Vatican he seems to live a really simply life. Personally, I believe that his deeds reflect the type of leadership that we need as Catholics. He lives the life that we should all strive to live. The Pope has that humble aura that even doesn’t intimidate people, and the fact that Pope Francis gave a surprise phone call to this student affirms that.

You can read more about Pope Francis’ conversation with the Italian teenager here: “Hello, It’s the Pope”: Francis Calls Student

Giving More to Those in Need: Pope Francis’ Message

“The important thing is not looking at them from afar, or helping from afar. No, no! It is going to encounter them. This is the Christian! This is what Jesus taught: to go meet the most needy.” These are the words of Pope Francis to his fellow Argentinians as he paid them a visit on the feast day of St. Gaetano.

The message of the Pope focused on “encountering and touching the poor, rather than helping them in a distant way.” I find this message to be a much needed reminder for all of us who might be holding the belief that it doesn’t really matter how we give so long as we are giving. The focus should be on giving more to those in need, and I don’t mean more things.

As Christians we should approach the act of charity as Jesus did. He did not just “throw alms and leave.” He always made sure to go out there, meet people, touch them and then help them by giving them what they needed. When we give without meeting, we are just giving something perishable–something that will no longer be there in the next day or two. When we give with a handshake, a hug, a short conversation and a prayer, we are giving them comfort, love and a sense of importance–things that linger on much longer.

If you want to read more about the Pope’s message during the celebration of St. Gaetano’s feast day, you can read it here: “Touch the poor and needy, Pope tells Argentineans.” Giving more to those in need is something that Pope Francis advocates, and I think this is great.

The Best Tool For Sharing Christ With The Youth

The World Youth Day celebration in Brazil was a huge success! Thanks to the millions of enthusiastic young faithfuls who made the effort to make the pilgrimage to Rio. The Pope gave strong and uplifting messages all throughout his trip in Rio, but I would like to give emphasis to what he said about how we can best evangelize to young people.

During the culmination mass of the World Youth Day, the Pope said, “Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path to follow! It’s so simple really. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is other young people. 

As we all must know, the most effective way to lead a person to Christ is to reach them where they are and communicate with them in a way they can relate to. Who could possibly communicate and relate better to young people than their fellow youths? So if you are wondering why your parish is not drawing a lot of young people in, you might want to look into this counsel by our Pope. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is by having other young people talk with them. One dedicated Catholic teen can turn friends into faithful Catholics quickly.

We Are Not Just Parents: Children of God

I came across this blog post today: “To ASK” and it inspired me to come up with this entry. Being an extra busy mother and wife the past few days, the feeling of exhaustion is starting to come over me. I found the article to be God’s reminder for me today. Reading this verse on the post made me feel like God was actually talking to me, telling me what I ought to do:

Matt 7:7-11: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’

God reminded me today that I am not just a parent. We are not just parents. I am a child of loving and caring God, and so are you too! And my Father in Heaven is more than willing to extend his helping hand to me, all I have to do is ask.

Always a Child of God: Pope Francis’ Wise Words

Isn’t it wonderful to know that no matter how our lives turn out, how many times we fail, or how many time we lose our way, you are always a child of God! How comforting is that fact? This is what the Pope reminded the entire Catholic Church in his homily during Mass on Thursday at the Casa Santa Marta.

At the close of his homily, he said these beautiful words, “We are saved in Jesus Christ and no one can take from us this ‘identity card.’ This is how I identify myself: as a child of God. What a beautiful identity!”

Want proof? See these Bible texts:

John 10:28-29  “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” 

John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Galatians 3:26 “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

If you want to read more about the Pope’s homily, here it is: “No one can take away our identity as children of God.” You are always a child of God, don’t forget that!

We Are All Equal and Loved in the Eyes of God

The Pope sent a very wonderful message yesterday at his weekly general audience. Let me share with you a small part of his homily:

We are all needed in order to build this Temple. No one is secondary: ‘Ah, I am the most important one in the Church!’ No! We are all equal in the eyes of God. But, one of you might say, ‘Mr Pope, sir, you are not equal to us.’ But I am just like each of you. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. No one is anonymous: all form and build the Church.

Isn’t it amazing to be told by the highest official of the Roman Catholic Church that we are no less important than him? Indeed, in God’s eyes we all stand as equals–equally loved, valued and in need of salvation. As the Apostle Paul said,  “You are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28). Since we are all equal in God’s eyes and are all equally given a chance at salvation, then we all have the same duty to live our faith and represent Christ in our daily lives. We are all equal and loved in the eyes of God.

Living Our Life as a Gift To Others

Yesterday (May 14, 2013), the Pope gave all believers a reminder to “live our lives as a gift” to others instead of “buying into Satan’s temptation and living life selfishly“. The Pope’s message, although simple, really made an impact on me–and I hope it did the same to all those who heard it.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all started living our life as a gift to others?

As Catholics, I believe that one of the most important things that we need to remember is that we are merely stewards of our lives and of everything else that we have and own. Certainly, a good steward does not live his life however he pleases. Instead, a good and faithful steward lives his life in keeping with his master’s plan.

With our master being the Lord Jesus Christ, we should keep in mind that his challenge to every steward: “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). This means that we ought to set aside our selfish desires and agenda for the greater good of the Kingdom and the world we seek to win. This is not an easy task, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be good and faithful stewards of the Lord. Are you up for the challenge? Living our life as a gift to others is not a simple task, it is going to take hard work.

If you want to read the Pope’s homily that I mentioned above for motivation, you can do so here: “Satan Always Rips Us Off.”