The courage to swim against the tide

2013-04-29 L’Osservatore Romano

With the invitation to courageously “swim against the tide” and to be committed “to great ideals”, Pope Francis addressed the 44 confirmands at Mass on Sunday morning, 28 April, in St Peter's Square. Participating in his first event of the Year of Faith, Pope Bergoglio offered those present “three short and simple thoughts” for reflection.

The first reflection came from the second reading. He underlined “the new things of God” which “are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary”, he said. “They come and go, and we keep looking for more.  The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well.  God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live”. He then spoke of opening “the doors to the Spirit”, letting “ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us!”.

In his second point Pope Francis reflected on the first reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles (14:22).  The journey of the Church, like “our own personal journeys as Christians, are not always easy; they meet with difficulties and trials.  To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us but also within us, in the heart”, he recalled.  But, he said, “difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God’s glory”. Therefore we must not “be discouraged! We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!”.

Lastly, his third reflection was especially for the young confirmands. “Remain steadfast in the journey of faith”, their Holy Father said, “ with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey,” because “go(ing) against the current... is good for the heart” and “there are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear... This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion and forgiveness to our sinfulness”. In fact we Christians “were not chosen by the Lord for little things”.

Then the Pontiff led the Marian prayer of the Regina Caeli, turning his thoughts to the victims of the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh and launching an appeal “may the dignity and security of workers always be safeguarded”.