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POPE FRANCIS OUTLINES FACTORS THAT MAKE CHRISTIAN FAITH UNIQUE
The Holy Father, Pope Francis has outlined the essential factors that make the Christian Faith unique, describing it as a journey of encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. These qualities include: vigilance in prayer, diligence in charity and being exultant in praise.
The Pope made this assertion in his homily at the celebration of Mass in his private chapel in Santa Marta, at the Vatican, recently. Noting that in order to truly encounter Jesus, there is need to undertake this journey, the Holy Father declared that the Christian faith is not a theory, philosophy, or idea, but an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis stated further that in the encounter, it is the Lord that seeks us first. “This is the great surprise of the encounter with the Lord: He sought us first. He is always first. He makes His journey in order to find us”. The Pope stressing that “the God that is seeking us, is awaiting us and asks of us only the little step of good will.” He added that we must therefore have “the desire to encounter Him.”
Addressing pilgrims after the Angelus on the first day day of the 2016 Advent season, the holy Father called on Christians not to allow themselves to be dominated by things of the world; pointing out that the Advent season heralds the Lord’s visit to humanity. Using the readings of the Bible to buttress his point, the pope said: “The first visit was made with the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem.”
He continued: “The second visit is in the present: the Lord visits us continually every day, he journeys at our side and is a consoling presence. And at the end will be the last visit, which we profess each time we recite the Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” The Lord today speaks to us of this last of his visits, the one that will happen at the end of time, and he tells us where our journey will end.”
Pointing out that “A relationship with the God who comes to visit us gives a distinct light, a weight, a symbolic value to everything”, the pope added: “From this perspective also comes an invitation to sobriety, to not be dominated by things of this world, by material realities, but instead to govern them.”
Pope Francis further stated: “If on the contrary we allow ourselves to be conditioned and dominated by those things, we cannot perceive that there is something much more important: our final encounter with the Lord who comes for us. In that moment, as the Gospel says, “Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left” (v. 40). It is an invitation to vigilance, because as we don’t know when He will come, we must be always ready to depart”
He concluded: “In this time of Advent, we are called to widen the horizons of our heart, to allow ourselves to be surprised by life, which presents us each day with its novelties. To do this, we must learn to not depend on our securities, on our closed way of thinking, because the Lord comes at an hour that we are not expecting. He comes to introduce us into a dimension that is greater and more beautiful.”
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