God Is Thirsty For You – Pope Francis … Explains Meaning of Encountering Christ

“Francesco ilguillare di Dio” is a new book authored by Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa with the introduction written by Pope Francis. In it, the Pope encourages young people to respond to the call of God who never ceases to thirst for us.

Pope Francis has penned some words of introduction to a book written by Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher of the Papal Household.

The new book titled “Francesco ilguillare di Dio” (loosely translated as “Francis, God’s jester”) tells the story of Brother Pacificus, a storyteller, who was a follower of St. Francis of Assisi. The book is published by the Edizioni Francescane Italiane.

Addressed to young people

The Holy Father highlights that the book is written for young, searching people “as a gift” filled with the “esteem and trust” that he places in all young people.

Pope Francis notes that many, perhaps, have read and questioned Jesus’ words in the Gospels: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For whoever asks receives, and whoever seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Mt 7:7-8).

“These are powerful words, full of a great and demanding promise,” the Pope affirms. “But, we might ask ourselves: are they to be taken seriously? If I ask the Lord, will He really listen to my request? If I seek him, will I find Him? If I knock, will He open the door to me? …Doesn’t experience sometimes seem to belie this promise? …Can these words be trusted or not? …Won’t they, too, like so many others I hear around me, be a source of illusions and therefore of disappointment?”

These questions call to mind another passage of scripture which illuminate them in all their depth, the Pope said: “You will seek me and you will find me, for you will seek me with all your heart; I will let myself be found by you”. (Jer 29:13-14).

Likewise, “God allows Himself be found, yes, but only by those who seek Him with all their heart,” Pope Francis writes.

The Lord answers if we seek Him

Pope Francis goes on to illustrate examples of promises fulfilled when Jesus encountered people. He says that the Lord allowed Himself to be found by the insistence of the importunate widow, by Nichodemus’ thirst for truth, by the faith of the centurion, by the cry of the widow of Nain, by the leper’s desire for health and by Bartimaeus’ longing for sight.

These people, the Pope notes, “are the ones for whom finding an answer had become an essential matter…any one of them could have rightfully uttered the words of Psalm 63: “My soul thirsts for you [Lord], my flesh longs for you, like a barren land without water”.

In the same way, “the one who seeks finds if they seek with all their heart, if the Lord becomes as vital for them as water for the desert, as the earth for a seed, as the sun for a flower.”

This also is respectful of our freedom, as faith is not given automatically, indifferent of our participation, but rather “it asks you to involve yourself in the first person and with your whole self. It is a gift that wants to be wanted. It is, in essence, Love that wants to be loved.”

God is thirsty for us

“Perhaps you have been looking for the Lord and have not found Him. Allow me to ask you a question: How strong was your desire for Him?” The Pope inquires.

“Seek Him with all the impetus of your heart, pray, ask, invoke, cry out, and He, as He has promised, will be found,” the Pope urges. Because “the Lord desires that you seek Him so that He can find you.”

Recalling the words of St. Gregory of Naziansus “Deus sititsitiri”, Pope Francis further explains that “God is thirsty for us to thirst for Him” so that by finding us willing, he might meet us.

Responding to God’s call

“What if He knocks on your door today?” the Pope asks: “When the Lord calls us to Himself, He does not want compromise or hesitation on our part, but a radical response.”

Illustrating the importance of responding to God’s call, Pope Francis recounts the story of a renowned “King of verse” who met St. Francis one day in the monastery of Colpersito in San Severino Marche. In a similar manner as St. Paul, struck by light on his way to Damascus, this “king of verse” was struck by the holiness of St. Francis and immediately lost all his hesitation.

In that moment, “a new man was born,” the Pope explains.” He was no longer William of Lisciano, the king of verse, but Brother Pacificus, a man inhabited by a new peace previously unknown. From that day, he became all for God, consecrated entirely to Him, one of Saint Francis’ closest companions, a witness to the beauty of faith.”

God has not stopped calling

Further inviting young people to read the book, Pope Francis reminds them that “God has not stopped calling,” and he does not tire of coming to meet us “as the shepherd seeks the lost sheep, as the woman of the house seeks the lost coin, as the father seeks his children.”

“If you only lower the volume on other things and raise the volume of your greatest desires, you will hear it loud and clear within you and around you,” Pope Francis notes.

God continues to call and patiently awaits from us the same response that Our Lady gave: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

“If you have the courage to leave your securities and open yourself to Him,” Pope Francis concludes, “a new world will open up for you; and you, in turn, will become a light for others.”

Pope at Regina Coeli: Encountering Christ Means Finding Peace Of Heart

At the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday, Pope Francis speaks of the angel’s appearance and the proclamation of Christ’s Resurrection, noting that in finding the Risen Christ we discover peace of heart.

Leading the recitation of the Regina Coeli from the library of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis recalled that the day is also known as Monday of the Angel because “we recall the meeting of the angel with the women who arrived at Jesus’ tomb” after He had risen.

The Pope noted that the angel said to them: “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen” This expression – “He has risen” – goes beyond human capacity, said the Pope.

Even the women who had gone to the tomb and had found it open and empty could not confirm “He has risen”, but only that the tomb was empty.

Pope’s Regina Coeli of 5 April 2021

“Only an angel could say that Jesus had risen”, he said, just as only an angel had been able to say to Mary: “you will conceive a son…and he will be called the Son of the Most High.”

The Lord’s intervention

The Pope then noted that Matthew the Evangelist narrates that on Easter morning “there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat on it.”

He explained that the large stone, which “was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, was put underfoot,” and “becomes the footstool of the angel of the Lord.”

All of the plans and defences of Jesus’s enemies and persecutors were in vain, he said. The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is “the concrete, visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, of light over darkness.”

Jesus’s tomb was not opened by a physical phenomenon, but “by the Lord’s intervention”, said the Pope. The angel’s appearance, “was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.”

“These details are symbols that confirm the intervention of God himself, bearer of a new era, of the last times of history,” said the Pope.

A two-fold reaction

There is a two-fold reaction in beholding this intervention on God’s part, said Pope Francis.

The first is that of the guards, “who cannot face the overwhelming power of God and are shaken by an interior earthquake: they became like dead men.” The power of the Resurrection overthrows those who had been used to guarantee the apparent victory of death.

The second is the reaction of the women, which the Pope described as being “very different” because “they are expressly invited by the angel of the Lord not to be afraid and not to seek Jesus in the tomb.”

A lesson from the angels

Pope Francis then went on to note that we can reap a precious teaching from the angel’s words.

“We should never tire of seeking the Risen Christ who gives life in abundance to those who meet Him,” he said. He explained that “to find Christ means to discover peace of heart.” The same women of the Gospel, after initially being shaken, experience great joy in discovering the Master alive, he said.

“In this Easter Season, my wish is that everyone might have the same spiritual experience, welcoming in our hearts, in our homes and in our families the joyful proclamation of Easter: ‘Christ, having risen from the dead dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over Him.‘”

Finally, Pope Francis concluded that it is this certainty that “moves us to pray today and throughout the Easter Season.”

The angel Gabriel had greeted [Mary] thus the first time: “Rejoice, full of grace!” (see Lk 1:28). Now Mary’s joy is complete: Jesus lives; Love has conquered.”

“May this be our joy as well!” said the Pope.

Pope’s Prayer Intention for April: ‘For Fundamental Human Rights’

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of April 2021, and urges everyone to pray for those fighting to protect people’s fundamental human rights in all parts of the world.

“Defending fundamental human rights demands courage and determination.”

Pope Francis begins “The Pope Video” for April with this remark, and goes on to describe exactly what he means.

He says he is referring to “actively combatting poverty, inequality, the lack of work, land and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights.”

As a press release from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network points out, the Pope is inviting all people of goodwill to pray for those who “risk their lives fighting for fundamental rights.”

Risking life and limb for others

In the video, the Pope laments that human rights are often not equal for all, saying there are “first-, second-, and third-class people, and those who are disposable.”

Yet, he appeals, fundamental human rights “must be equal for all.”

“In some places, defending people’s dignity can mean going to prison, even without a trial. Or it might mean slander,” he notes.

Despite the danger, says Pope Francis, “every human being has the right to develop fully, and this fundamental right cannot be denied by any country.”

With this in mind, the Pope urges everyone to pray during April for this intention.

“Let us pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis, that they may see their sacrifice and their work bear abundant fruit.”

Inherent human rights

The press release accompanying the video points out that the images which form a background to the Pope’s words “seek to reflect the exercise of these fundamental rights… and the abuse of these same rights.”

It notes that “fundamental human rights” refer to “rights that belong to all people, basically for the very fact that they exist as human beings.”

Those rights, it adds, were first laid down at an international level in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Lamentable inequality

Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., who heads up the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network which produces the monthly video, recalls that Pope Francis has often spoken up against the basic inequalities which people face, as some live in opulence while others see their rights trampled upon.

Pope Francis, he says, is urging us in April to remember those who face prison, danger, or death to stand up for people’s rights, whether in dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, or in some democracies in crisis.

“Many of them [do so] in the name of their faith in Jesus Christ,” says Fr. Fornos. “Let us not forget them; let us pray for them.”

The full text of the Pope’s prayer intention is below:

Defending fundamental human rights demands courage and determination.

I’m referring to actively combatting poverty, inequality, the lack of work, land and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights.

Often, in practice, fundamental human rights are not equal for all.

There are first-, second-, and third-class people, and those who are disposable.

No. They must be equal for all.

In some places, defending people’s dignity can mean going to prison, even without a trial. Or it might mean slander.Every human being has the right to develop fully, and this fundamental right cannot be denied by any country.

Let us pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis, that they may see their sacrifice and their work bear abundant fruit

Pope at Easter Urbi et Orbi: ‘Risen Christ Is Hope That Does Not Disappoint’

Pope Francis delivers his traditional Easter message “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world – underscoring how today we celebrate the event that gives us the hope that does not disappoint: “Jesus who was crucified has risen”.

Throughout the world, the Church proclaims the joyous news that “Jesus, who was crucified, has risen as He said. Alleluia!”, Pope Francis said at the start of his Easter message broadcast live around the world.

He delivered his Urbi et Orbi message inside St. Peter’s Basilica, just like last year, due to coronavirus safety measures.

He had just concluded presiding over the Easter Sunday Mass at the Altar of the Chair with a small congregation participating. The Basilica featured arrays of Avalanche roses given by Dutch florists who traditionally filled St. Peter’s Square with flowers on Easter every year, but had to stop temporarily due to the pandemic.

The Easter reality of the Resurrection offers concrete, tangible hope and consolation, the Pope noted, but its message does not offer us “a mirage or reveal a magic formula” we might wish as an escape exit to the world’s difficult realities.

Among them, the spread of the pandemic, social and economic crisis hitting the poor especially, but also, he noted the “scandalous” fact that “armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened.”

Hope that does not disappoint

The Easter message of hope tells us concisely that “the crucified Jesus, none other, has risen from the dead”, Pope Francis said, adding that God the Father raised Jesus, who accomplished His saving will by taking upon Himself our weakness, infirmities, the weight of our sins, even our death. Because of this, the Pope said, “God the Father exalted Him and now Jesus Christ lives forever; He is the Lord.”

The wounds Jesus bears in His hands, feet and side are “the everlasting seal of His love for us”, the Pope noted, and all who experience trials in body or spirit can find refuge in them and “receive the grace of the hope that does not disappoint.”

Hope and solidarity in pandemic times

Pope Francis went on to say that the Risen Christ gives hope and comfort for those suffering from the pandemic, the sick and those who have lost a loved one. He also prayed that the Lord might “sustain the valiant efforts of doctors and nurses”.

He stressed that everyone, especially the vulnerable, needs assistance and has a right to care, and vaccines are essential. He appealed to the international community “to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries.”

The Risen Lord is comfort for the unemployed and those suffering economic difficulties, the Pope said. He prayed that Christ might “inspire public authorities to act so that everyone, especially families in greatest need” can be provided with help in order to avoid sliding into poverty, a sad reality the pandemic has dramatically worsened.

The Pope referred also to the psychological weight of the pandemic on young people, who are often forced to stay at home without attending school or visiting friends in person. He expressed his “closeness to young people throughout the world”.

Hope that brings peace to our world

Quoting Saint John Paul II when visiting Haiti, “the poor of every kind must begin once more to hope”, he said as his thoughts also turned to the “beloved Haitian people”, urging them “to look to the future with confidence and hope”, and not be overwhelmed by current difficulties. He underscored his closeness to them and that their problems may be definitively resolved.

Pope Francis prayed for the young people of Myanmar “committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully,” so that “hatred can be dispelled only by love.”

He recalled migrants fleeing from war and extreme poverty and that the “light of the risen Jesus be a source of rebirth” for them, as we see in them the “marred and suffering face of the Lord” on the path to Calvary. This calls for concrete signs of solidarity and human fraternity” on the part of all, he noted, and he thanked nations receiving those who seek refuge, citing Lebanon and Jordan which have taken in so many refugees fleeing violence in neighboring Syria.

May the people of Lebanon, he prayed, “find support from the international community” in these tough times and persevere in being “a land of encounter, coexistence and pluralism.”

And “may Christ our peace” halt the clash of arms in “beloved and war-torn Syria”, the Pope underscored, where millions are suffering.

He also pointed out the “deafening and scandalous silence” regarding the suffering in Yemen.

Looking to the nation of Libya, he noted the hopes there are finally for an end to the decade of bloodshed and unrest. In all these lands, he encouraged all parties involved to “commit themselves” to end these conflicts and allow “war-weary peoples to live in peace” and rebuild their lives and communities.

Living as brothers and sisters

The Resurrection takes us to Jerusalem, the Pope went on to say, where “we ask the Lord to grant peace and security,” so it can “embrace its calling” to be a place where “all can see one another as brothers and sisters”. He encouraged Israelis and Palestinians to “rediscover the power of dialogue” so a solution can be found to “enable the two states to dwell side by side in peace and prosperity.”

Pope Francis also recalled his visit last month to Iraq, and prayed that the nation continues on the “path to peace” and “fulfill God’s dream for a human family hospitable and welcoming to all his children.”

Overcome the mindset of war

The Pope’s thoughts then turned to Africa, especially places suffering from internal violence and international terrorism in areas of the Sahel, Nigeria, Tigray, and the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique, and prayed the conflicts may be resolved peacefully through “dialogue in a spirit of reconciliation and true solidarity”.

Too many wars and too much violence plague our world, the Pope lamented. He prayed, “May the Lord, who is our peace, help us to overcome the mindset of war.”

May prisoners of conflicts be freed in eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, he added, and may the arms race be curbed. He recalled that Sunday, 4 April, marks the International Awareness Day against anti-personnel landmines, and said these “insidious and horrible devices” kill or maim many innocent people each year. He also stressed “how much better our world would be without these instruments of death!”

Healed by the wounds of Christ

In conclusion, Pope Francis recognized how in so many places Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions, sometimes unable to attend liturgical celebrations. He prayed that these, and all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted so all are allowed to pray and praise God freely.

Amid these many hardships, the Pope said, we must always remember that “we have been healed by the wounds of Christ” and in light of the Risen Lord, “our sufferings are now transfigured…where there was death, now there is life”.

He concluded, saying: “We pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world. Happy Easter to all of you!”

After delivering his Urbi et Orbi Easter message, the Pope imparted his apostolic blessing.

Pope Prays For Victims Of  Floods In Indonesia and East Timor

Flash floods triggered by a tropical cyclone in East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara province

Pope Francis says he is praying for the victims of devastating floods and landslides that engulfed a cluster of islands in Indonesia and East Timor.

“I wish to assure my prayers for the victims of floods that in the past days have struck Indonesia and East Timor,” said Pope Francis, speaking during the weekly General Audience on Wednesday.

The floods triggered by cyclone Seroja have killed at least 119 people across several islands in Indonesia, as well as 27 in neighbouring East Timor. Scores of people are still missing as rain continues to pound the region and hamper rescue operations.

The Pope said he invokes the Lord “to receive the dead, comfort their families, and sustain those who have lost their homes.”

Since the cyclone hit on Easter Sunday, hundreds of police, soldiers, and residents have reportedly been digging through the debris with their bare hands, shovels, and hoes in search of those buried. Thousands of homes have been damaged and thousands of people displaced by the weather, which is expected to continue until at least Friday as the storm moves south toward Australia.

Sport for Development and Peace

In a separate appeal, Pope Francis recalled the observance on Monday of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, established by the United Nations.

“I hope that this might set in motion once again the experience of sports as a team event, to promote dialogue through different cultures and peoples,” he said.

And in that perspective, the Pope continued: “I am happy to encourage Vatican Athletics to continue their commitment to spreading a fraternal culture in the world of sports, placing attention on those who are weakest, thus becoming witnesses of peace.”

The Holy See launched its official athletics team in January 2019 after being accepted by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). The team of athletes includes nuns, priests, Swiss Guards, museum workers, carpenters and maintenance workers.

Follow us