‘Dio è il tuo amico – God is your friend’. Pope Francis’ Latin temperament shines through in his regular spontaneous departures from prepared texts. His catechesis at the General Audience on 20th September was no exception. And the audience readily responded to his warm spontaneity with loud applause. It is a joy and privilege to be present at such a public appearance of ‘Papa Francesco’! No need to ask the participants and organising team of the 65+ course of the Mill Hill Missionaries in Rome who attended this audience: it was visible on their faces.
‘Every injustice inflicted on a poor person is an open wound’.
‘Fidelity obtains everything’.
The quotable soundbites in Pope Francis’s catechesises are many. They stick in your memory. He is a pastor who walks with his sheep.
The official summary given below fails to render the lively directness and sparkling spontaneity of his delivery. Even if you don’t master the Italian language it may be inspiring just to have a brief look at the official video of the audience.
Here is a brief recording I made of part of his talk:
Fons Eppink mhm
Dear Brothers and Sisters: I wish to reflect again on the relationship between hope and memory. In the Gospel passage we have heard, Saint John shares with us the precious memory of when Jesus called the first disciples and asked them: “What do you seek?” It is a question that he asks each of us in our own time. Jesus recognizes that a young heart, and a healthy one at that, is a searching heart, full of a desire for life and happiness. For the first disciples, this encounter was only the beginning of their relationship with Jesus and the living out of their vocation; it ignited a flame in their hearts, which transformed them into missionaries who always treasured the memory of that first encounter with Christ. Their story reminds us how we discover our vocation. Whether we are called to marriage, consecrated life or priesthood, our vocation finds its origin in our first encounter with Jesus. It is that first spark which, even in the midst of trials, leads to an ever-deeper relationship with the Lord and which brings us hope and joy. Let us treasure this flame of love that burns in our hearts, by recalling our first encounter with Christ. May we be joyful disciples, who dream with God of a better world, and who share the reason for our hope with all whom we meet.