“That they might not forget the works of God”

Image result for miracle sun 1917

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Fatima 1917-2017

 

“What always surprises me about this great miracle, perhaps the greatest miracle since the Resurrection, is how little it is known in the world at large. It should shake the very world itself. It should shake our governments; it should shake our media; it should shake our own souls”.

 

 

It befell the prophets of Israel to continue to remind the people of the great things that God the Almighty had done in the past on behalf of their ancestors, such as their miraculous deliverance from Egyptian bondage (the Exodus) – wonders that had become obscure, and even completely forgotten, with the passing of time. And so to praise God for them and to pass on that knowledge to their children.

Therefore we read in Psalm 77:3-8:

 

How great things have we heard and known, and our fathers have told us. They have not been hidden from their children, in another generation. Declaring the praises of the Lord, and his powers, and his wonders which he hath done. And he set up a testimony in Jacob: and made a law in Israel. How great things he commanded our fathers, that they should make the same known to their children. That another generation might know them. The children that should be born and should rise up, and declare them to their children. That they may put their hope in God and may not forget the works of God: and may seek his commandments. That they may not become like their fathers, a perverse and exasperating generation. A generation that set not their heart aright: and whose spirit was not faithful to God.

 

Undoubtedly, the ‘Exodus’ event of our own modern era – about which we, too, risk becoming blasé and forgetful – was Fatima, whose centenary we celebrate this year. Thankfully, however, we also have prophets to keep before our minds the wondrous works of the Lord – they are the popes, with Francis being no exception. He intends to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary this May of 2017, to commemorate the Fatima anniversary.

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Portugal in 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima.

The pope, who accepted the invitation made by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the bishops of Portugal, “will go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from May 12-13,” the Vatican announced Dec. 17.

The pilgrimage will mark the anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which first began on May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.

The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

Following the announcement, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, rector of the Fatima shrine told Agencia Ecclesia, the news agency of the Portuguese bishops’ conference, that the visit was a “cause for joy” for the shrine.

“For the shrine of Fatima, it is a great joy to receive this confirmation of Pope Francis’ visit,” he said. “We know that those days will be a pilgrimage marked by this festivity that, on the one hand is for the centennial of the apparitions and, on the other hand, marks the presence of the pope in our midst and a pope as beloved as Pope Francis,” Father Cabecinhas said.

While the Vatican confirmed the dates of the visit, the pope had already said that he intended to go.

“Certainly, as things presently stand, I will go to Portugal, and only to Fatima,” he told journalists during his return flight to Rome from Azerbaijan Oct. 2.

Pope Francis will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Marian shrine, following the footsteps of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who each paid homage different years to Mary on the anniversary of the first apparition May 13.

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http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/pope-francis-to-visit-fatima-in-may-17.cfm

 

“Now is the time of God’s favour”

 

Sadly, despite many notable exceptions, the vast majority of the world’s Catholics have – just like the ungrateful Israelites of old – failed to embed into their memories this unprecedented visitation from Heaven. Dr. Peter Chojnowski, in his August speech at the “Fatima: Only Way to World Peace” conference in Brazil, in 2007, thus marvelled regarding the October 13 Miracle of the Sun:

 

What always surprises me about this great miracle, perhaps the greatest miracle since the Resurrection, is how little it is known in the world at large. It should shake the very world itself. It should shake our governments; it should shake our media; it should shake our own souls.

And, yet, for how many does it have this profound effect? To quote the famous French rationalist and skeptic Renan, “Miracles do not take place where they ought to. A miracle in Paris before so many of the learned would put an end to so many doubts. But, alas, that never happens. No miracle ever took place before those who could discuss and make critical judgments on it.” To this challenge and doubt, we can offer the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on October 13, 1917.

[End of quote]

 

This auspicious centenary year of 2017 affords us the perfect opportunity to make a new start.

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We must begin to, as in the words of Dr. Chojnowski, “shake our governments … shake our media … shake our own souls”. This last one ought, at least, to be within range of possibility. What do we intend to do personally in 2017 so as the better to imbibe the Fatima message? We yet have plenty of months left to do what Our Lady of the Rosary actually requested – sufficient enough motivation – the Communion of Reparation (Five First Saturdays), first announced in the July 13th apparition immediately following the horrific vision of Hell, of which the Exodus deliverance from the iron-smelting furnace (Deut. 4:20) was a metaphor.

 

Then Our Lady opened Her hands, as during the previous apparitions, and the light that was God streamed forth. In this light they were given, on this occasion, a vision of Hell so horrible and gruesome that the children shrieked aloud with fear. After showing them Hell Our Lady said to the children: “You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will beak out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.

 

That promise (Her coming) was realised less than a decade later, in 1925

(http://www.salvemariaregina.info/FirstSaturdays.html)

 

The promise made by Our Lady to Lucia on July 13th, 1917, that there would be a future manifestation concerning the practice of the Five First Saturdays, was fulfilled on December 10th, 1925. Lucia was then a Postulant Sister in the Dorothean Convent at Tuy, Spain. On this occasion Our Lady appeared together with the Child Jesus, Who spoke first to Lucia:

“Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment, while there is no one who does an act of reparation to withdraw them for her”.

Our Lady then addressed Lucia as follows:

”Behold, my daughter, my Heart encircled with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Give me consolation, you, at least; and make known on my behalf that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all who on the First Saturday of five consecutive months confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart”.

 

Also, to honour Fatima, one might like to join a sound Marian organisation or prayer crusade of reparation, such as this one whose purpose is to gather “one million” rosaries this year http://www.fatima2017.world/

 

Our Lady said at Fatima:

“Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”

 

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Could Mary be getting a new title this year?

Image result for mary co-redemptrix

By Mary Rezac

Detroit, Mich., Jan 29, 2017 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Earlier this month, the International Marian Association submitted a request to Pope Francis, asking for the public recognition of the title of Mary as “Co-Redemptrix with Jesus the Redeemer.”

The 10 page document was submitted by the Theological Commission of the International Marian Association, a group of more than 100 theologians, bishops, priests, religious, and lay leaders from over 20 countries dedicated to the “full truth and love of Mary, Mother of Jesus.” It comes during the 100th year anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.
The significance of the request, if it were to receive approval, is that the faithful would be given further clarity on Mary’s unique role in cooperation with Christ in the work of redemption, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Professor of Mariology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, told EWTN News.
“I think many people sense the spread of evil in the world and see the importance of highlighting Mary’s role as spiritual Mother,” Dr. Fastiggi said in e-mail comments.
“A papal statement on Marian coredemption would deepen our understanding of Mary’s role as the New Eve who collaborates with her Son, the New Adam, ‘in giving back supernatural life to souls,’” he added, referring to the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium.
The title can be traced back to the 10th century, when some Marian litanies included the title of Mary as Redemptrix, along with her son. It was a development of the idea of Mary as the “New Eve,” a Marian title that has been used since the 2nd century. The prefix of “co-” was added by the 15th century, to clarify that Mary was not the Redeemer, but rather someone who uniquely cooperated in the work of redemption.
“The Co-Redemptrix title never places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the only divine Redeemer, as to do so would constitute both heresy and blasphemy,” the Association stated in a press release announcing the request.
“The Co-Redemptrix title is meaningless without Jesus the Redeemer, and in itself focuses upon the Cross of Jesus Christ. Mary Co-Redemptrix proclaims to the world that suffering is redemptive when united to the sufferings of Christ.”
After the prefix was added, title continued to catch on, so much so that the 17th century considered the “golden age” of the title of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. Still, it didn’t receive magisterial recognition until 1908, when the Sacred Congregation for Rites used it in a decree elevating the rank of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Since then, it has been referenced multiple times by the Magisterium, including during the second Vatican council, which ultimately decided against any formal recognition of the title in the document Lumen Gentium.
“The term, however was not rejected because it was false. In the praenotanda or explanatory note that accompanied the first Marian schema of 1962, we are told that, ‘Certain terms and expressions used by Roman Pontiffs have been omitted, which, although most true in themselves (in se verissima), may be difficult for the separated brethren (as in the case of the Protestants) to understand,’” Dr. Fastiggi explained.
“The Council, therefore, recognized the importance of further development and clarification on certain points of Marian doctrine. A papal statement on Marian co-redemption would provide greater clarity on Mary’s unique cooperation with Christ in the work of redemption and the mediation of grace.  It would also open the way for many graces in the life of the Church.”
Popes often grant formal papal recognition to help deepen the theological understanding of the faithful, such as when Bl. Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary as “Mother of the Church” in 1964.
“The invocation of Mary under various titles like ‘Mother of God’ and ‘Help of Christians’ reinforces Mary’s role in the mystery of salvation,” Dr. Fastiggi noted.
Unfortunately, Dr. Fastiggi said, many Catholics are unaware of the recognition that the title “Co-Redemptrix” has already received so much informal recognition from the magisterium.
“Some are even under the impression that we are not allowed to call Mary ‘Co-Redemptrix’—even though two popes, namely Pius XI (3 times) and St. John Paul II (at least 6 times), have publicly referred to Mary as ‘Co-Redemptrix,’” he said.
And while there are concerns that the title could further confuse Protestants and others who disagree with Catholic teaching on Mary, Dr. Fastiggi believes a formal recognition of the title would actually help with further clarification.
“A formal papal statement would also serve the cause of ecumenism because it would help other Christians know that the Catholic Church clearly distinguishes between the saving work of Christ as the one Savior and Mediator (1 Tim 2: 5–6) and the Blessed Mother’s secondary, dependent but utterly unique cooperation with Christ in the work of redemption and the mediation of grace,” he said.
In a press release announcing the request, the International Marian Association said: “We believe that a public acknowledgement of Mary’s true and continuous role with Jesus in the saving work of Redemption would justly celebrate the role of humanity in God’s saving plan; foster greater devotion to the Mother of God; and lead to the release of historic graces through an even more powerful exercise of Our Lady’s maternal roles of intercession for the Church and for all humanity today.”
While the request could lead to a new Marian dogma, Dr. Fastiggi said the Association would likely be happy with any form of formal papal recognition of the title.
“The members of Association realize that it’s up to the Holy Spirit to guide the Holy Father with regard to this petition. In this regard, prayer and trust are essential,” he said.
“We trust in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, and the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is our spiritual Mother. May God’s will be done.”

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Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/could-mary-be-getting-a-new-title-this-year-44675/

 

 

Jesus continues to heal the sick

 Image result for Jesus healing sick

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

‘Go back and report to John [the Baptist] what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me’.

Matthew 11:4-6

 

 

With these words, based on his actions, Jesus assured the imprisoned John the Baptist, and John’s disciples, that He was indeed ‘the One who was to come’, the Messiah.

And his healing work has not ceased to this day.

For example, at the grotto of Lourdes in France. Thus we read in the article, “Is there a God?”, of the scientifically inexplicable healings there: http://www.is-there-a-god.info/life/lourdes/

 

 

Healings at Lourdes

 

This page in brief

 

Apparent divine healings are a challenge to our natural way of thinking. Are the stories true? Is the evidence reliable? Are the explanations we are given true? Do they prove God exists and heals, or is that only for the gullible?

This is a brief summary of the apparent miracles at Lourdes, how they have been investigated and the conclusions of a medical commission, which found many apparent miracles had insufficient evidence to justify acceptance, but a small number seem to have no other explanation.

 

A world-famous place of healing

Lourdes is a village in southern France, close to the Pyrenees mountains and the Spanish border. Many healing miracles are reputed to have occurred there since 1858, when a 14 year old girl claimed to have ‘seen’ a beautiful lady that Roman Catholics believe was the mother of Jesus. Of the estimated 200 million people who have sought a cure there, millions claim to have been healed.

Where possible, people claiming healing are examined on the spot by a medical bureau, and the information is reviewed by an international commission of medical specialists, independent of the Catholic Church and including sceptics. To be regarded as authentic, claims have to satisfy four requirements:

 

  • the illness and cure was well documented,
  • the illness was serious and was unable to be effectively treated,
  • the symptoms disappeared within hours, and
  • the healing lasted for sufficient time to ensure the ‘cure’ was not just a temporary remission (e.g. in the case of leukemia, 10 years is required).

The miracles

 

Most claims lack sufficient evidence to be verified, but 68 miracles have passed this stringent checking and have been proclaimed as authentic, while several thousand other remarkable cures have been documented. Some examples of claimed healings include:

 

  • Margerie Paulette, 22 years old, cured of tubercular meningitis in 1929.
  • Mademoiselle Dulot, cured of stomach and liver cancer in 1925.
  • Louise Jamain, cured in 1937 of tubercular peritonitis.
  • Jeanne Fretel, cured in 1949 of tubercular peritonitis.
  • Rose Martin, cured of cancer of the uterus in 1947.
  • Vittorio Micheli, cured of a malignant tumour of the hip in 1963.
  • Serge Francois, cured of a herniated disc in 2002.The stories of a few other ‘approved miracles’ are outlined below at Some stories.

 

Doubts and questions

 

These miracles which have passed the medical commission’s strict criteria are apparently sufficiently well documented to meet any reasonable requirement for evidence. If we are willing to be convinced by evidence, then the evidence is there that in each of these cases, something very unusual happened.

Many atheists and rationalists are quite sure that miracles cannot occur, and thus may not be willing or able to be convinced by any evidence. Therefore they probably will not be convinced here, and will look for natural explanations or, despite the evidence, question the truth of the stories.

Protestant christians may also be sceptical that God would heal via the Virgin Mary, and in a place where they may believe superstition is prevalent. But again, how can they explain the evidence?

Some stories

Jean-Pierre Bely

 

Jean-Pierre Bely was paralysed with multiple sclerosis, and was classified by the French health system as a total invalid when he went to Lourdes in 1987. He received ‘the anointing of the sick’, and when he returned home he was able to walk. Subsequently, virtually all traces of the illness disappeared. Patrick Fontanaud, an agnostic physician who looked after Bely, said there is no scientific explanation for what occurred.

Gabriel Gargam

 

Gabriel Gargam was severely injured in a railway accident in 1900, in which he was almost crushed to death and was paralysed from the waist down by a crushed spine. A court ordered the railway to pay him compensation because he was a human wreck who would henceforth need at least two persons to care for him. His condition continued to deteriorate. He was not a religious person, but his mother persuaded him to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes, very weak, fed via a tube and lapsing into unconsciousness. But at Lourdes his paralysis disappeared and he was able to walk, although still very thin and weak. Within a short time, he was eating normally, able to resume work and he lived to 83.

 

Serge Perrin

 

Serge Perrin began to suffer neurological problems in 1964 at age 35, and was subsequently diagnosed with thrombosis in the left carotid artery, for which surgery was nor recommended. He visited Lourdes in 1969 as his condition worsened, but there was no improvement. His deterioration continued until 1970, when he was almost blind and unable to care for himself alone. At his wife’s insistence, he visited Lourdes as second time and received the anointing of the sick. By that afternoon, he could walk without the aid of a walking stick and could see without using spectacles. He returned home, fully cured, as was confirmed by a serious of medical tests.

 

References

 

 

Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2017

The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion.
1. The other person is a gift
The parable begins by presenting its two main characters. The poor man is described in greater detail: he is wretched and lacks the strength even to stand. Lying before the door of the rich man, he fed on the crumbs falling from his table. His body is full of sores and dogs come to lick his wounds (cf. vv. 20-21). The picture is one of great misery; it portrays a man disgraced and pitiful.
The scene is even more dramatic if we consider that the poor man is called Lazarus: a name full of promise, which literally means “God helps”. This character is not anonymous. His features are clearly delineated and he appears as an individual with his own story. While practically invisible to the rich man, we see and know him as someone familiar. He becomes a face, and as such, a gift, a priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change. The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbor or an anonymous pauper. Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ. Each of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable. But in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man.
2. Sin blinds us
The parable is unsparing in its description of the contradictions associated with the rich man (cf. v. 19). Unlike poor Lazarus, he does not have a name; he is simply called “a rich man”. His opulence was seen in his extravagant and expensive robes. Purple cloth was even more precious than silver and gold, and was thus reserved to divinities (cf. Jer 10:9) and kings (cf. Jg 8:26), while fine linen gave one an almost sacred character. The man was clearly ostentatious about his wealth, and in the habit of displaying it daily: “He feasted sumptuously every day” (v. 19). In him we can catch a dramatic glimpse of the corruption of sin, which progresses in three successive stages: love of money, vanity and pride (cf. Homily, 20 September 2013).
The Apostle Paul tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10). It is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion. Money can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 55). Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace.
The parable then shows that the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence (cf. ibid., 62).
The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door.
Looking at this character, we can understand why the Gospel so bluntly condemns the love of money: “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Mt 6:24).
3. The Word is a gift
The Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus helps us to make a good preparation for the approach of Easter. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to an experience quite similar to that of the rich man. When the priest imposes the ashes on our heads, he repeats the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. As it turned out, the rich man and the poor man both died, and the greater part of the parable takes place in the afterlife. The two characters suddenly discover that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim 6:7).
We too see what happens in the afterlife. There the rich man speaks at length with Abraham, whom he calls “father” (Lk 16:24.27), as a sign that he belongs to God’s people. This detail makes his life appear all the more contradictory, for until this moment there had been no mention of his relation to God. In fact, there was no place for God in his life. His only god was himself.
The rich man recognizes Lazarus only amid the torments of the afterlife. He wants the poor man to alleviate his suffering with a drop of water. What he asks of Lazarus is similar to what he could have done but never did. Abraham tells him: “During your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus had his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony” (v. 25). In the afterlife, a kind of fairness is restored and life’s evils are balanced by good.
The parable goes on to offer a message for all Christians. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, who are still alive. But Abraham answers: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them” (v. 29). Countering the rich man’s objections, he adds: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead” (v. 31).
The rich man’s real problem thus comes to the fore. At the root of all his ills was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbor. The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God. When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters.
Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in is word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favor the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.
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‘You are great, O Lord! I love you so much, for you have given this gift. You saved me, you created me.’

God is glorious. Worthy of all praise.

Pope Francis at Mass: be open, receptive to God’s gifts

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the theme of Christian freedom, saying that the follower of Christ is a “slave” – but of love, not of duty, and urging the faithful not to hide in the “rigidity” of the Commandments.
….
The Pope took the Responsorial Psalm, 103 (104) as his starting point: a “song of praise” to God for His wonders. “The Father,” said Pope Francis, “works to make this wonder of creation and with His Son to accomplish this wonder of re-creation.” Pope Francis also recalled an episode in which a child asked him what God was doing before He created the world: “He was loving,” was the response.
Open your heart, do not take refuge in the rigidity of the Commandments
Why then did God create the world? “Simply to share His fullness,” Francis said. “To have someone to whom [to give] and with whom to share His fullness.” In the re-creation, God sends His Son to “set things right” – to make “the ugly one handsome, of the mistake a true [cast], of the villain a good guy”:
“When Jesus says: ‘The Father is always at work: I, too, am always at work,’ the teachers of the law were scandalized and wanted to kill him for this. Why? Because they could not receive the things of God as a gift! Only as Justice: ‘These are the Commandments: but they are few, let’s make more. And instead of opening their heart to the gift, they hid, have sought refuge in the rigidity of the Commandments, which they had multiplied up to 500 or more … They did not know how to receive the gift – and the gift is only received with freedom – and these rigid characters were afraid of the freedom that God gives us: they were afraid of love.”The Christian is a slave of love, not of duty

The Pope went on to note that it was after that, that the Gospels tell us, “They wanted to kill Jesus.” To this, he added, “Because he said that the Father made this wonder as a gift:  receive the gift of the Father!”:
“And that is why today we have praised the Father: ‘You are great, O Lord! I love you so much, for you have given this gift. You saved me, you created me.’ And this is the prayer of praise, the prayer of joy, the prayer that gives us the joy of the Christian life. And not the closed, sad  prayer of the person who never knew how to receive a gift because he is afraid of freedom that always carries with it a gift. Such a one knows only how to do duty, but closed duty. Slaves of duty, but not love:  when you become a slave of love, you are free! It is a beautiful bondage that, but such men did not understand that.”

Ask how we receive the gift of redemption and forgiveness of God

Here, then, are the “two wonders of the Lord,” he went on to say: “the wonder of creation and the wonder of redemption, the re-creation.” The he asked, “How do I receive this gift that God has given me – creation? And if I receive it as a gift, do I love creation, do I care for the created order?” The reason, he stressed, is that it is a gift:
“How do I receive the redemption, the forgiveness that God has given me, the making of me a son with His Son? Lovingly, tenderly, with freedom? Or do I hide in the rigidity of the closed Commandments, that are more and more “safe” – with emphasis on the scare-quotes – but that do not give joy, because they does not make you free. Each of us ought to ask himself wonder how he is experiencing these two wonders: the wonder of creation and even greater wonder of re-creation. May the Lord make us understand this great thing and make us understand what He was doing before creating the world: He was loving. Let us understand His love for us, and may we say – as we said today: ‘Lord, you are great! Thank you, thank you!’ Let us go forward

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Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/02/06/pope_francis_at_mass_be_open,_receptive_to_gods_gifts/1290724