Pope Francis: 'long faces cannot proclaim Jesus'
Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican Radio/VIS
The Holy Spirit is the “author” of Christian joy and to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God. There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim Jesus. Joy alone and praise of God are the only way to advance the Gospel. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at this morning’s Mass in Casa Santa Marta.
Pope Francis began by commenting on the daily readings. In the first, the prophet Zephaniah,exclaims: “Rejoice! Cries of joy, the Lord is in your midst.” The second reading, from the Gospel, tells the story of Elizabeth and her son that “rejoices” in the womb on hearing the words of Mary. The Pope noted, “it all speaks of joy, the joy that is celebration.” Yet, he continues, “we Christians are not so accustomed to speak of joy, of happiness”, “I think often we prefer to complain”. Instead, it is “the Holy Spirit that gives us joy”:
“It’s the Spirit that guides us: He is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot. A certain mournful behavior, no? Often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God, no? And this joy comes from praise, Mary’s praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna’s praise: this praise of God! “
And how do we praise God? We praise Him by coming out of ourselves, we praise Him “freely, like the grace that He gives us is free,” said Pope Francis. This pushes us to an examination of conscience on how to pray to God, said Pope Francis, who then turned to those present with a question:
“You here at Mass, do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God? Do you praise God? ‘. This is something new, new in our new spiritual life. Giving praise to God, coming out of ourselves to give praise; spending a little bit of time giving praise. But ‘this Mass is so long!’ If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring: it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free. “
The model of this praise, and this joy, is once again the Mother of Jesus “The Church – recalled Pope Francis – calls her the” cause of our joy, “Cause Nostrae Letitiae. Why? Because she brings the greatest joy that is Jesus “:
“We need to pray to Our Lady, so that bringing Jesus give us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. That it give us the grace to praise, to praise with a prayer of gratuitous praise, because He is worthy of praise, always. Pray to Our Lady and say to her what the Church says: Veni, Precelsa Domina, Maria, tu nos visita, Lady, thou who art so great, visit us and give us joy. “