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Pope reaches out to lapsed Catholics

By Sarah Mac Donald - 07 January, 2014

pope-francis1Pope Francis has appealed with sincerity and respect to those who feel “far from God and from the Church” and those who are fearful and indifferent towards the faith.

Departing from his prepared remarks for the Angelus on the Feast of the Epiphany in St Peter’s Square, the pontiff said God was calling all to be part of his people.

“The Lord does not proselytise; He gives love,” the Pope said. “And this love seeks you and waits for you, you who at this moment do not believe or are far away. And this is the love of God.”

Pope Francis prayed that “all the Church” may be steeped in “the joy of evangelising” invoking the aid of the Virgin Mary so that “we can all be disciple-missionaries, small stars that reflect His light.”

The Pope celebrated Mass for the Epiphany on Monday morning and urged the faithful in his homily in St Peter’s Basilica not to be blinded by the forces of darkness but to be transformed by the light of Christ.

He told the packed basilica that the destiny of every person is symbolised in this journey of the Magi of the East: “our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognise in Jesus, the Light of the World.”

Like the Magi, every person has two great ‘books’ which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture.

“What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love,” the Pope said.

These three wise men, Pope Francis said, were able to overcome the darkness of King Herod, and his fear of a fragile child’s birth because they believed in the scriptures.

The Pope then went on to underline the importance of what we can learn from these three Kings saying, “They teach us how to defend ourselves against the darkness that seeks to envelope our lives”, they also teach us not to settle for “a mediocre life”, but aim for a life that is fascinated by good, truth, and beauty.

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the example of the Magi and search for the great light of Christ with our little lights.

Later on Monday, the Pontiff made a private visit to the parish of Sant’Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori in north Rome to see its performance of a nativity play.

Parish priest Don Dario told Italian media that they had written to the Pope “and he wanted to be present for this community event.”

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