Pope Francis says: Response to division should be silence, prayer

Pope Francis said it on Monday that to division and scandal the answer should be silence and prayer; and asked the Lord for the grace to discern when it is better to speak or to remain quiet.
“With people who do not have good will, with people who seek only scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within families,” the answer is “silence. And prayer.”

“May the Lord give us the grace to discern when we must speak and when we must be silent. And to do in all of life: in work, at home, in society...” to become more closely imitators of Jesus Christ, he said it during Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guest house.
In his homily, Pope reflected on Jesus’ response to the people who, St. Luke recounts, were “filled with fury” at Jesus’ words in the synagogue.
As it says in the day’s Gospel, the people “rose up, drove Jesus out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill... to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”
The Pope said that when Jesus arrived at the synagogue, he aroused curiosity. Everyone wanted to see the person they had heard was working miracles in other places. Instead of satisfying their curiosity, the Pope  Francis said that, the Son of the Heavenly Father uses only “the Word of God”. This is the attitude Jesus adopted when confronting the devil. The Pope then said that Jesus’ humility opens the door to his first words meant to construct a bridge but instead sow doubt immediately changing the atmosphere “from peace to war”, from “amazement to fury”.
Those who drove Jesus out of the city were not people, but “a pack of wild dogs,”  Francis said. They shouted instead of using reason, and in the face of this, Jesus’ response was to remain silent.
The pope likened this episode to Christ’s response on Good Friday, when the people shouted for him to be crucified, because the devil had sown lies in their hearts.
Jesus’ response in the face of the people’s anger was not easy, but it was the dignified silence of a Christian anchored in the power of God, the pope francis said, explaining that Jesus’ answer teaches Christians they should respond to a refusal to see the truth with quiet.
The Pope continued saying the truth is humble and silent and is not noisy, acknowledging that what Jesus did is not easy. However, “the dignity of the Christian is anchored in the power of God”. Even in a family, he said, there are times when division occurs because of “discussions on politics, sports, money”. Pope Francis recommends silence and prayer in these cases:
Pope Francis noted that when families have disagreements, often about things like politics, sports or money, division is the devil’s goal. “As the father of lies, the accuser, the devil, acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people,” he said.
The response should be to say your piece and then to keep quiet, he said, because “the truth is mild, the truth is silent, the truth is not noisy.”
Pope Francis concluded praying,
"May the Lord give us the grace to discern when we should speak and when we should stay silent. This applies to every part of life: to work, at home, in society…. Thus we will be closer imitators of Jesus."

Pope to consecrated widows: Live a life of simplicity, humilty

In his prepared words to the women gathered, Pope Francis, underlined that how "widowhood is a particularly difficult experience”,also adding that some pour their energies into their children and grandchildren.

The Pope Francis said that with their consecration, the widows showed that it was possible, with the help and support of members of the Church, to live a life of service by exercising their family, professional and social responsibilities.

The Lord's gift

Your consecration in widowhood, noted by Pope Francis, “is a gift that the Lord gives to his Church to remind all the baptized that the power of his merciful love is a path of life and holiness, which allows us to overcome the trials and be reborn in hope and in the joy of the Gospel.”

I invite you, therefore, he said, “to keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and to cultivate the particular bond that unites you to Him. Because it is there, in the heart to heart with the Lord,after listening to his word, that we draw the courage and perseverance to give…the best of ourselves through our consecration and our commitments.”

Simplicity and Humilty

The Pope Francis then urged the widows to use their experiences help the young and the poor people, showing them the tenderness of God and his closeness in love.
In this way, he went on to say, “I encourage you to live your consecration in daily life with simplicity and humility.”

Among those present on Thursday were the Fraternity of Our Lady of the Resurrection and the Community of Anne the Prophetess who are present in a number of countries and have been prematurely widowed.And their aim is to affirm the sustainability of married love anchored in Christ and intercede for couples.

Pope at Mass: Make an examination of conscience every day

A person’s heart is like a “battlefield” where two different “spirits” confront one another: one, the Spirit of God, leads us “to good works, to charity, to fraternity”; the other, that of the world, pushes us “towards vanity, pride, sufficiency, gossiping.” That was the Pope Francis’ message in the homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday.

The Pope Francis was reflecting on the first reading, in which “the Apostle Paul teaches the Corinthians the way to think like Christ” – a path that is characterized by the abandonment to the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit, in fact, that leads us to “know Jesus,” to share His “sentiments,” to understand His heart.

The eternal struggle between good and evil

“Man left to his own strength does not understand the things of the Spirit,” the Pope explained in the homily.

"There are two spirits, two ways of thinking, of feeling, of acting: that which leads me to the Spirit of God, and that which leads me to the spirit of the world. And this happens in our life: We all have these two ‘spirits,’ we might say. The Spirit of God, which leads us to good works, to charity, to fraternity, to adore God, to know Jesus, to do many good works of charity, to pray: this one. And there is the other spirit, of the world, which leads us to vanity, pride, sufficiency, gossip – a completely different path. Our heart, a saint once said, is like a battlefield, a field of war where these two spirits struggle."

Overcoming temptations as Jesus did

“In the life of the Christian,” then, “we must fight in order to make room for the Spirit of God,” and “drive away the spirit of the world.” And, the Pope Francis suggested, a daily “examination of conscience”it can help to “identify temptations, to clarify how these opposing forces work."

"It is very simple: We have this great gift, which is the Spirit of God, but we are weak, we are sinners, and we still have the temptation of the spirit of the world. In this spiritual combat, in this war of the spirit, we need to be victors like Jesus."

Not animals, but children of God

Every night, The Pope Francis concluded that, a Christian should think over the events of the past days, to determine whether “vanity” and “pride” prevailed, or whether he or she has succeeded in imitating the Son of God:

"To recognize the things that occur in the heart. If we do not do this, if we do not know what happens in our heart – and I don’t say this, the Bible does – we are like ‘animals that understand nothing,’ that move along through instinct. But we are not animals, we are children of God, baptized with the gift of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, it is important to understand what has happened each day in my heart. May the Lord teach us always, every day, to make an examination of conscience."

Vatican Media renews desire to collaborate with East African Bishops

“I could not let this opportunity pass me by”, begins Dr Paolo Ruffini, the new Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, in a message sent on Sunday to the Bishops participating in the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA). Bishops from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia are members of AMECEA.

We want to tell the world about the Church of Africa
After recalling the intense collaboration between Church-run radio stations in Africa and Vatican Radio, Dr Ruffini looks forward to continued collaboration with through the Vatican’s new digital platforms. He expressed the Dicastery’s determination to communicate the muti-faceted reality of the Church in Africa, alongside its mission of proclaiming the message of Pope Francis.

Full text of Dr Paolo Ruffini’s message:

Message from the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Communication of the Holy See to the 19th AMECEA Plenary Assembly.

The Chairman of AMECEA, Your Eminence – Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel
Their Eminences, the Cardinals;
Your Excellencies, Archbishops and Bishops;
Religious Superiors, members of the Clergy, Men and Women Religious;
Distinguished AMECEA partners;
The Lay Faithful;
Even though I have only just been appointed by the Holy Father to be the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications of the Holy See, I could not let this opportunity of your august assembly pass me by.

Let me start by expressing, on behalf of the Dicastery for Communications of the Holy See, how pleased we all are to have been invited to be part of the Nineteenth Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA).

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies: I am keenly aware that after the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops in 1994, AMECEA countries invested heavily in Diocesan Radio stations. This investment has been prophetic and served the Church of this region well. Over the years, in collaboration with Vatican Radio, your diocesan radio stations have not only brought the Gospel but also the voice of the Holy Father to many a Catholic home. Thank you for your courage and foresight.

I am happy to inform you that the reform of the Vatican Media being carried out by the Dicastery is beginning to bear fruit. We can now see growing consolidation, collaboration and coherence among the Holy See’s hitherto autonomous media outlets.

Vatican Radio, for example, which until now interacted with your radio stations in the AMECEA region has been integrated into the Dicastery for Communication. This incorporation was necessitated, in part, by a changing media landscape in the world. The context that we are now living has seen significant digital media convergence. It is a reality that the Holy See could not ignore.

On 4 May 2017, Pope Francis told us in his message to the Secretariat for Communications, during the Dicastery’s first-ever plenary assembly that given the new digital culture throughout the world, digital media would need to be part of a primary platform for spreading the Gospel.

Notwithstanding the Vatican media reform, Pope Francis in that historical message of May 2017 also made categorical his wish that attention and care be accorded to countries with little access to new digital technologies. The reform of the Vatican media would neither neglect nor abandon such countries - a significant number of which are in Africa. Vatican Radio to this day continues to broadcast on new digital platforms but also maintains its traditional outlets such as Shortwave frequencies for countries that still need this service.

Your Eminences, Dear Bishops: As AMECEA you can count on continued collaboration with the Dicastery for Communication. In the future, it is to be hoped that we can collaborate more closely in the World Day of Social Communications – a day that celebrates the Holy Father’s message. Furthermore, apart from bringing the Gospel message and the Holy Father’s voice into the homes of Catholics, the Dicastery is determined to bring to the world, news about the vibrant Church of Africa – in all its successes, blessedness but also with its challenges and pain.

Lastly, is it not wonderful that AMECEA is meeting in Addis Ababa at a time when Eritrea and Ethiopia are making peace?

Pope Francis summed it all when he said, two weeks ago, “In the midst of so many conflicts, it is right to point to an initiative that can be defined historical –and we can say that it is good news: In these days, after twenty years, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have come back to talk about peace together. May this meeting kindle a light of hope for these two countries of the Horn of Africa and the entire African continent.”

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, though not physically present with you in Addis Ababa, allow me to conclude by assuring you all that my office is open should you be in Rome.

Finally, I pray that the existing collaboration between AMECEA and the Dicastery for Communications of the Holy See not only continue but also grow in strength.

Dicastery for Communication