Monday, June 10, 2013

Francis: Accepting God's Intimacy of Tenderness

2013-06-07 Vatican Radio Radio) It’s harder to open our hearts and let God love us than to love God in return. But the only way to really love Him is to love others, especially the poor. God is an expert in the science of tenderness and we should allow ourselves to be loved by Him. This was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass Friday on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Emer McCarthy reports: 
Pope Francis referred to the solemnity as “the feast of love” of a “heart that loved so much” and repeated several times during his homily that Jesus loved us not with His words but with His deeds and his life. A love which, St. Ignatius said, "manifests itself more in deeds than in words" and that is especially "more giving than receiving." Pope Francis said "these two criteria are like the pillars of true love" and the Good Shepherd above all else represents the love of God. He knows His sheep by name, "because His is not an abstract or general love: it is love towards everyone ".

"A God who draws near out of love, walks with His people, and this walk comes to an unimaginable point. We could never have imagined that the same Lord would become one of us and walk with us, be present with us, present in His Church, present in the Eucharist, present in His Word, present in the poor, He is present, walking with us. And this is closeness: the shepherd close to his flock, close to his sheep, whom he knows, one by one. "

Reflecting on a passage from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Pope highlighted another aspect of God's love: caring for the lost, the wounded and the sick sheep:

"Tenderness! But the Lord loves us tenderly. The Lord knows that beautiful science of caresses, the tenderness of God. He does not love us with words. He comes close - closeness - and gives us His love with tenderness. Closeness and tenderness! The Lord loves us in these two ways, He draws near and gives all His love even in the smallest things: with tenderness. And this is a powerful love, because closeness and tenderness reveal the strength of God’s love”.

"But do you love each other as I have loved you?" Pope Francis asked this question of those present, emphasizing how love is "being close to others”, is "like that of the Good Samaritan" and in particular , in the sign of "closeness and tenderness". He also asked: How can we return all this love to the Lord? By "loving", by being "closer to Him," by being "tender with Him”, but this alone, he said, “is not enough”:
"This may sound like heresy, but it is the greatest truth! It is more difficult to let God love us, than to love Him! The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us. This is really very difficult: letting ourselves be loved by Him. And that is perhaps what we need to ask today in the Mass: 'Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of let ting myself be loved by You, to feel You close and feel Your tenderness ! May the Lord give us this grace. "

Friday’s Mass was concelebrated by the Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, and Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Msgr. Sergio Pagano. It was attended by employees of the Vatican Secret Archives. 

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