Pope Francis prayed the Regina Caeli from the Library of the Apostolic Palace. Tomorrow at 7am, he will lead the Mass in St Peter's Basilica, at the altar over the tomb of Pope John Paul II, in a worldwide broadcast. Francis greeted children who had to delay their First Communion because of the pandemic. Laudato Si’ week began yesterday.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis during today’s Regina Caeli prayer in the Library of the Apostolic Palace centred his address on the Holy Spirit that "helps us be free people, people who want and know how to love". He also remembered Pope John Paul II on the centennial of his birth.
This morning the Pope celebrated Mass, centred on today's Gospel (Jn 14:15-21). In his address before the Regina Caeli, he noted that the Gospel "presents two fundamental messages: the observance of the Commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit”.
“Jesus asks us to love him,’ the pontiff said, “but explains that this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling. No, it requires being available to follow his path, that is the will of the Father. And this is summed up in the Commandment of mutual love, given by Jesus himself . . . He loves us without asking us for anything in return, and he wants this selfless love of his to become the actual form of life between us. This is his will.”
“To help the disciples walk along this path, Jesus promised to pray to the Father to send ‘another Advocate’ (Jn 14:16), that is, a consoler, a defender who will take his place and give them the intelligence to listen and the courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, which is the Gift of God's love that descends into the heart of Christians.”
“The Commandments are not given to us as some kind of of mirror to see our miseries and inconsistencies reflected. No! The Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms, renews, that does not judge in order to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its goal. The Word illuminates our footsteps. All this is the work of the Holy Spirit! It is the Gift of God, it is God himself, who helps us to be free people, people who want and know how to love, people who have understood that life is a mission to announce the wonders that the Lord accomplishes in those who trust him.”
Right after the Marian prayer, Francis mentioned "with a lot of affection and gratitude" the 100 years since the birth in Wadowice (Poland) of Saint John Paul II. “Tomorrow morning, at 7, I shall celebrate Holy Mass, which will be broadcast all over the world, at the altar where his mortal remains rest. From Heaven may he continue to intercede for the People of God and for peace in the world.”
In his address, the pontiff welcomed the reopening in several countries, Italy included, of churches to public masses; at the same time, he urged worshippers to follow the directives of the authorities to protect the health of the population.
Francis especially greeted the children who, due to the pandemic, had to delay their First Communion, which usually takes place in May. "Dearest friends I invite you to live this time of waiting as an opportunity to better prepare yourselves: praying, reading the catechism book to deepen the knowledge of Jesus, growing in goodness and in service to others. Have a great journey!”
Lastly, the Pope noted that the ‘Laudato Sì week’ is celebrated from 16 to 24 May, to encourage the faithful and others to reflect "for a fairer and more sustainable future”.