THE FUNDATION OF OUR FAITH IS THE ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS CHANGING OUR LIVES In the homely in Santa Marta the Pope underlined the importance of asking the “grace of memory” so that we “do not forget our “first love” that is Christ

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During the morning Mass in Santa Marta, Pope Francis took a cue from today’s liturgy to restate the ways the Lord uses to show Himself to His children. Encounters are his favorite way to change people’s lives, as it happened to Paul the Apostle who went from being a ferocious persecutor of the Church to a zealous apostle; John and Andrew who spent the whole night with the Master; Simon who became the rock of the new community; the Samaritan; the leper who returns to thank Jesus for healing him; and the ill woman who touched Jesus’ cloak and is healed.

“He never forgets, but we do. This can be your homework: think. ‘When did I really feel the Lord near me? When did I feel I had to change my life, be better or forgive someone? When did I feel the Lord asking for something from me? When did I meet the Lord?’. Our faith is the meeting with Jesus. This is the foundation of our faith: I met Jesus today, like Saulo”

Thus, Francis encourages everyone to develop this daily memory prayer, asking ourselves: “When did you tell me something that changed my life or invite me to take a step in my life? Another good homework would be taking the Gospel and look at the numerous stories and watch as Jesus meets people, as he chooses the apostles. There are many encounters with Jesus, one of them may be just like mine. Each one has his personal way”.

Finally, the Pope summarized his exhortations within a few minutes to help us live them concretely: Christ wishes for a relationship with us, meaning predilection, “a loving relation face to face”. Lastly, it is important to ask the Lord the “grace of memory”. “Lord, when was that encounter, that first love? This is important not to hear the scolding of the Lord in the Revelation (2:4): “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first”.

Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa

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