A Poem. “The Dove”

 

 

 

The Dove 

by Christian Adams

 

Three in one, 

No choice should be made,

How often we forget,

His strength from above,

The Holy Spirit descends down on us

Like a dove.

Its wings the purest,

Its love so rare,

Its guidance, its strength,

Is my spiritual air.

Its pureness, its help,

Is somethings to behold.

Its power, and its glory,

Is something that I hold.

I ask for its guidance, I listen with my ear.

It has never failed me,

and it is always near.

It is my hope, 

It is my strength,

That the dove will never leave me,

That it is my guide,

Through turmoil, through sadness,

Through obstacles, through pride.

Reflection. Change- Do not Fear!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Reflection. Constant change. It is all around us. It happens for the good- it happens for the bad. Anxiety is bred through it. Fear comes with it- but so does happiness, and excitement! The fear of the unknown, what will take place next, it happens often. Will we be employed, will this be the last day on Earth for us, will the economy fold, or will it get better, what travesty will unfold before our eyes, when will a child be born, when will a love one die- it is all around us, and to an awful extent can lead to un-needed anxiety. But what does scripture tell us. Let’s take a look:

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

AND

James 1:17 


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

So you see (and there are many more passages in scripture like it), if we have faith in the Almighty, that is in our savior, Jesus Christ, we really have nothing to fear. We must proclaim our faith out-right, that is, not internalizing our fears, but making them known to our Lord. We must offer up our tribulations and anxiety to Him as a sacrifice, as He did for us, at Cavalry upon the Cross, so that we may have ever-lasting life in Him and with Him. So with that, never fear! God knows are tribulations, and knows are anxiety, but He also knows what we can handle, and will never lead us astray! God Bless! ~CJA

Proverbs 19:2

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

A Clean Heart- by Dr. Charles Stanley

A friend shared this with me.  So good, I wanted to share! ~CJA
 
 
A Clean Heart

Psalms 119:9-11
Reaching our full potential begins with a clean heart—one that loves the Lord and desires to obey Him. However, each of us was born with a nature bent away from God. Jeremiah 17:9 describes the heart as deceitful and inclined towards wickedness. Pleasing self is man’s normal state.
Salvation changed our hearts and lives. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and broke its power over us. By receiving Christ as Savior, we each became a new creation—with a heart sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and a mind that strongly desires to know the Father better. We also received the Spirit’s power to deny our selfish desires and obey God. With clean hearts, we can begin to realize the capabilities our loving Lord has given us.
The best way to maintain a clean heart is by meditating on Scripture. It acts like a mirror in which we see ourselves as God does. Through it, we discover the areas where we have been faithful and also the places where we’ve veered from His path. Expressing genuine repentance brings God’s forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).
The heart represents the seat of our mind, will, and emotions. When we strive to keep it pure, we will more easily discern the Lord’s plan, submit our will to His, and follow Him obediently.
Becoming the person God planned for each of us to be requires an intimate relationship with Him and a desire to obey His Word. Apart from Jesus, we can’t achieve anything of lasting value (John 15:5). Cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s transforming work will help us keep our hearts clean.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visitwww.intouch.org

GospelMT 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?


Reflection. Today’s gospel reading is a great one.  As if our Lord Jesus need proof that he was God incarnate, the disciples, in their human form still needed proof as to His divinity, proof that he was the God-man.  It also is put into words, that as humans, even after 2000 years, are words that we can relate to.  So many times in our Earthly lives, trials and tribulations are put before us, and many times we look at them with fear, with panic, with hopelessness.  But as Christians, we should not have this fear!  Death is something that we constantly worry about, something in which we dread.  Obstacles and tribulations in life are looked upon with fear.  But to this I say, quite bluntly- BRING IT ON!  For it is through Christ that anything is possible. Jesus also tells us in Matthew 5:11:


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


You see, being a Christian is not easy.  There will be obstacles in our way, and there will be times that we think we cannot make it.  But if we stay true to the Truth, that is the teachings of the Christ, we can make it through anything.   In many reflections past I have stated that when trouble or hardship arises, you must not turn away from our Lord, but turn TO Him.  For where there is rough seas, our Lord is there.  Through God all things are possible, and His sacred Heart bleeds profusely in that so many do not turn to Him.  As humans, we are prone to sin, but the blessed sacrament of repentance, on which we so often times choose to ignore, is there for us.  Not to make us feel better about ourselves and our transgressions, but to make us more holy, that is, bring us closer to His ever-lasting love.  If we are to truly live with Christ in our lives, that is “Christocentric”, we must never cease to pray, reflect, and proclaim.  We must not be afraid, where-ever we are to proclaim the Gospel when asked, and to bless His holy name.  In this month’s prayer intentions, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asks us to pray for the Churches, mostly in Asia, for there is much persecution and lack of religious freedom.   Even in the Church in places like the United States, the Church faces many obstacles in the legalization of abortion/infanticide, and the current rulings on traditional marriage.   We must never cease to take time in the day, through the liturgy of the hours, or the rosary, or communion, or in prayer to dedicate our lives to the living God, that being Jesus Christ.  For you see, He did not perish, but was resurrected, so that through Him and in Him, we may have everlasting life.  Death is just an obstacle to bring us into His Sacred Heart.  God Bless! ~CJA

 

 Eternal Father,

I offer you the Body and Blood,

Soul and Divinity,
of Your Dearly Beloved Son,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

 

Pope Francis’ Daily Meditation/Homily: July 1, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Praying bravely to the Lord’s heart

 

 

 

   2013-07-01 L’Osservatore Romano

 

If you want to obtain something from God you must “negotiate” with him through insistent and convinced prayer  of few words. Pope Francis spoke once again of the courage that must sustain prayer addressed to the Father, with “as much familiarity as possible”. He pointed to Abraham’s way of praying: talking to God as if he were negotiating with a man.

At the Mass he celebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae this morning, Monday, 1 July, the Pope asked for reflection on this. Participants included officials and co-workers of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President, who concelebrated with the Holy Father.

The Pope cited Abraham’s courageous intercession to prevent the death of the righteous in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah  (Gen 18:16-33). This is a true example of familiarity and respect for God. Abraham turns to God as would any man and puts the problem to him, insisting: “Suppose there are 50 righteous?…. 40… 30… 20…?”. Abraham, the Pope said, was more than 100 years old.  He had been conversing with the Lord for a good 25 years and was well acquainted with him and so could to ask the Lord “what to do with that sinful city”. He feels strong enough to speak to the Lord face to face and seeks to defend the city. He is insistent”.

 “Abraham” Pope Francis explained, “is a brave man and prays bravely”. The first thing we notice in the Bible, he added is  the affirmation that “prayer must be courageous”. When we speak of courage “we always think of apostolic courage” that spurs us “to go and preach the Gospel”. But there is also  courage  in standing before the Lord… in going bravely to the Lord to ask him things”.  And “Abraham has a special way of talking to the Lord, with this courage”. The Pope then compared Abraham’s prayer to “Phoenician bargaining”…. Abraham insists and “from 50, he manages to get the price down to 10”, although  he knows it is impossible to save sinful cities from punishment.

How often, the Pope said, we must have found ourselves praying for  someone…. But “if a person wants the Lord to grant a grace”, the Bishop of Rome emphasized, “ he must go courageously and do what Abraham did with insistence, Jesus himself tells us we must pray like this”.  This is “an attitude of prayer”, the Pope repeated. “Abraham had been with the Lord for 25 years, he had acquired familiarity with him so  he dared to embark on this form of prayer. Insistence, courage. It is tiring, true, but this is prayer. This is receiving a grace form God”.

The Pope then reflected  on Abraham’s way of addressing the Lord: “He does not say ‘poor things, they will be burned…. but ‘forgive them’. Do you want to do this?  You who are so good, do you want to do the same to the wicked as to the righteous? Of course not”! He takes the arguments of God’s own heart. Convince the Lord with the virtues of the Lord and this is beautiful.

 The suggestion is to go to the Lord’s heart. “Jesus”, the Pope said, teaches us: the Father knows things. Do not worry, the Father sends rain on the righteous and on sinners, he causes the sun to rise on the righteous and on sinners.

“I would like us all to take up the Bible, starting today, and to recite slowly Psalm 103[102]: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’…. Pray it all and  in this way we will learn what to say to the Lord when we ask for a grace”.

Prayers for a Troubled Heart

 

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O Lord, hear my cry pouring out from a troubled heart. The sorrow which clutches at my soul has driven me to You my protector, my True Friend in time of need. You know, my God, all my failings, my faults and my sins as well as the torment gripping my soul. My greatest sorrow should be for my disregard of Your holy commandments in the past, and I sincerely hope that you will grant me the grace of true contrition. O my Savior, hide not Your Face from me in this tribulation, let the light of Your Countenance shine upon me that I may be illuminated by Its love. If it be Your will, lighten this burden from me, yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me, help me O Lord, to carry this cross, for alone I can do nothing. Radiate Your love upon Your prodigal child O Lord, this beggar who knocks at Your door seeking shelter in Your Sacred Heart; this once proud earthen vessel made of clay seeks You, O Christ, and in a newly found faith, firmly believes that you will receive him in Your limitless Love and Mercy. Amen

 

 

 

 

Dear Lord, by allowing me to experience this affliction, so that I may share in your suffering on the cross for sin, you take a sublime chance that I might either draw closer to you for comfort, or turn away from you in my misery. O my Savior, grant me that precious grace to offer up my pain, as you did in Your Passion, to atone for sin. Help me to imitate your patience and to turn my complaints into offerings for my sins or for those of others, as you see fit. In this time of distress and pain, I ask, I seek, and I knock, for the grace of endurance, perseverance, and above all, trustful submission to Your Divine will, for my good and your glory.

Pushing Against the Rock

 

 

 

Pushing Against The Rock

Author Unknown

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture – placing thoughts in the man’s mind, such as “Why kill yourself over this?, you’re never going to move it!” or “Boy, you’ve been at it a long time and you haven’t even scratched the surface!” etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn’t moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. “Why kill myself?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven’t succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will now move the rock. Remember Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.”

 

Ask The Lord to help you and you will not be disappointed….

Pope to Release First Encyclical this Friday 5 JUL 13- Some Insight

 

 

 FrancisCandle

 

At a pre-Noon briefing today, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis’ first encyclical, entitled Lumen Fidei – “The Light of Faith” – will be released this Friday, 5 July

 

Here is a letter from Cardinal Bergoglio now Pope Francis that may have some insight to his new encyclical on Friday.

 

He wrote this just before Year of Faith began last October….

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

 

Among the most striking experiences of the last decades is finding doors closed. Little by little increasing insecurity has made us bolt doors, employ means of vigilance, install security cameras and mistrust strangers who call at our door.

 

None the less in some places there are doors that are still open. The closed door is really a symbol of our today. It is something more than a simple sociological fact; it is an existential reality that is imposing itself as a way of life, a way of confronting reality, others and the future.

 

The bolted door of my house, the place of my intimate life, my dreams, hopes, sufferings and moments of happiness, is locked against others. And it is not simply a matter of the physical house; it is also the whole area of my life, of my heart. All the time there are fewer who can cross that threshold. The security of reinforced doors protects the insecurity of a life which is becoming more fragile and less open to the riches of the life and the love of others.

 

The image of an open door has always been a symbol of light, friendship, happiness, liberty and trust. How we need to recover them. The closed door does us harm, reduces and separates us.

 

We begin the Year of Faith and, paradoxically, the image that the Pope proposes is that of a door, a door through which we must pass to be able to find what we need so much.

 

The Church, through the voice and heart of its Pastor, Benedict XVI, invites us to cross the threshold, to take an interior and free step: to animate ourselves to enter a new life.

 

The phrase “door to faith” brings us back to the Acts of the Apostles: “On arriving, they gathered the Church together and told them what God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts. 14:27).

 

God always takes the initiative and He does not want anyone to be excluded. God calls at the door of our hearts: Look, I am at the door, calling: if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I shall enter his house and dine with him and him with me (Rev 3:20).

 

Faith is a grace, a gift of God.

 

“Only by believing does faith grow and be strengthened: in a continual abandon into the hands of a love which is always felt as greater because it has its origin in God”

 

Crossing through that door presupposes the beginning of a way or journey that lasts a lifetime, as we pass in front of so many doors which open to us today, many of them false doors, doors that invite us in a very attractive but lying manner to go down that road, promising an empty narcissistic happiness which has an expiry dated: doors that lead to cross-roads where, no matter which option we follow, will, sooner or later, cause suffering and confusion, doors focused on self which wear out and have no guarantee for the future.

 

While the doors of the houses are closed, the doors of the shopping malls are always open. One passes through the door of faith, one crosses that threshold, when the Word of God is announced and the heart allows itself to be shaped by that grace which transforms. A grace which has a concrete name, and that name is Jesus. Jesus is the door. (Jn. 10:9). He, and only He, is and will always be the door. No one goes to the Father except through Him. (Jn.14.6). If there is no Christ, there is no way to God. As the door, He opens the way to God and as Good Shepherd he is the Only One who looks after us at the price of his own life.

 

Jesus is the door and he knocks on our door so that we allow him to cross the threshold of our lives. “Don’t be afraid . open the doors wide for Christ”, Blessed John Paul II told us at the beginning of his papacy. To open the doors of our hearts as the disciples of Emaus did, asking him to stay with us so that we may pass through the doors of faith and that the Lord himself bring us to understand the reasons why we believe, so that we may then go out to announce it. Faith presumes that we decide to be with the Lord, to live with him and share this with our brothers and sisters.

 

We give thanks to God for this opportunity to realize the value of our lives as children of God through this journey of faith which began in our lives with the waters of baptism, that unending and fruitful dew which makes us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church.

 

The purpose, the objective (of this year of Faith) is that we meet with God with whom we have already entered into communion and who wishes to restore us, purify us, raise us up and sanctify us, and give us the happiness that our hearts crave.

 

To begin this year of faith is a call to us to deepen in our lives that faith we have already received. To profess our faith with our mouth implies living it in our hearts and showing it in what we do: it is a testimony and public commitment. The disciple of Christ, a child of the Church, can never think that believing is a private matter. It is an important and strong challenge for every day, convinced that he who began the good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6). 

 

Looking at our reality, as disciples who are missionaries, we ask ourselves what challenge this crossing the threshold of the faith has for us?

 

Crossing this threshold of the faith challenges us to discover that, even though it would seem that death reigns in its various forms and that our history is governed by the law of the strongest or the most astute and that hate and ambition are the driving forces of so many human struggles, we are also absolutely convinced that this sad reality can and should change decisively, because ‘if God is with us, who can overcome us?’ (Rom. 8: 31, 37).

 

Crossing this threshold of the faith supposes that we’ll not be ashamed to have the heart of a child who, because he still believes in impossible things, can still live in hope, which is the only thing capable of giving sense to and transforming history. It means asking unceasingly, praying without weakening and adoring so that our vision may be transfigured.

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith brings us to beg for everyone “the same sentiments that Christ had” (Phil. 2-5), so that each discover a new way of thinking, of communicating with one another, of looking at others, of respecting one another, of being in family together, of planning our futures, of living out love and our vocation.

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith is to be active, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit present in the Church and who is also seen in the signs of the times. It is to join in the constant movement of life and of history without falling into the paralyzing defeatism that everything in the past was better. It is an urgency to think in new ways, to offer new suggestions, a new creativity, kneading life with “the new leaven of justice and holiness” (1 Cor. 5:8).

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith implies that we have eyes to wonder and a heart that is not lazily accustomed, that is able to recognize that every time a woman gives birth it is another bet placed for life and the future; that, when we watch out for the innocence of children we are guaranteeing the truth of a tomorrow and when we treat gently the dedicated life of an elderly person we are acting justly and caressing our own roots.

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith means work lived with dignity and with a vocation to serve with the self-denial of one who comes back time and time again to begin without weakening, as if everything done so far were only one step in the journey towards the Kingdom, the fullness of life. It is the quiet wait after the daily planting: it is the contemplation of the collected harvest, giving thanks to the Lord because he is good, asking that he not abandon the work of his hands (Psalm 137).

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith demands that we struggle for liberty and life together with others even when the ambient drags its feet, in the certainty that the Lord asks of us to live justly, love goodness and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith bears deeply within it the continued conversion of our attitudes, modes and tones with which we live. It demands a reformulation, not a patching up or a varnishing. It means accepting the new form that Jesus Christ prints on him who is touched by His hand and his Gospel of life. It means doing something totally new for society and the Church; because “He who is in Christ is a new creature” (2 Cor 5, 17-21)

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith leads us to forgiving and to know how to break into a smile. It means approaching every person who lives on the edge of existence and to call him by name. It is taking care of the fragility of the weakest and supports his trembling knees in the certainty that in what we do for the smallest of our brothers it is to Jesus himself that we are doing it (Mt. 25. 40).

 

Crossing the threshold of the Faith demands that we celebrate life. That we let ourselves be transformed because we have been made one with Jesus at the table of the Eucharist celebrated in community and from there our hands and heart be busy working in the great project of the Kingdom: all the rest will be given us in addition (Mt. 6.33).

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith means living in the spirit of the Vatican Council and of Aparecida (the latest meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops), a Church of open doors, not just to receive in but fundamentally to go out and fill the street and the people of our times with the Good News.

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith, in our Archdiocesan Church, presupposes that we be convinced of the Mission to be a church that lives, prays and works with a missionary orientation.

 

Crossing the threshold of the faith is, definitively, the acceptance of the newness of the life of the Risen Christ, raised in our poor flesh to make it a sign of the new life.

 

Meditating on all these things, we look at Mary. May she, the Virgin Mother, accompany us in our crossing the threshold of the faith and bring the Holy Spirit over our Church, as in Nazareth, so that just like her we may adore the Lord and go out to announce the marvels he has done in us.

 

1 October 2012

Feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus

 

Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ

Saint of the Day: FATHER JUNÍPERO SERRA: BIOGRAPHY

 

        BIOGRAPHY

FATHER JUNÍPERO SERRA: BIOGRAPHY

. . When Father Junípero Serra founded California’s first mission in 1769, he was 56 years old and asthmatic, with a chronic sore on his leg that troubled him for the rest of his life, and he suffered frequently from other illnesses, as well. He stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, and, as a journalist later wrote, “He certainly didn’t look like the man who would one day be known as the Apostle of California.” Yet he endured the hardships of the frontier and pressed forward with remarkable determination to fulfill his purpose: to convert the Native Americans of California to Christianity.

. . In pursuit of that goal, Father Serra walked thousands of miles between San Diego and Monterey and even Mexico City. He traveled the seas, also; and by the time he died August 28, 1784, in Carmel he had founded nine missions, introduced agriculture and irrigation techniques, and the Spanish language. He had battled governors, bureaucrats and military commanders to secure a system of laws to protect the California Indians from at least some of the injustices inflicted by the Spanish soldiers whose practices often were in conflict with Father Serra’s.

. . Father Serra had been a philosophy professor and distinguished preacher at the Convent of San Francisco in Mallorca, the Spanish island where he was born in 1713. He was 36 years old when he reached the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on December 8, 1749, and walked to Mexico City. ( It was during that journey of 24 days that an insect bite caused the sore on his leg that sometimes became so painful he had difficulty walking. ) He spent 17 years in missionary work in the Sierra Gorda in the present area of North-Central Mexico. In 1767 he became president of the 14 missions in Baja California, originally founded by the Jesuits, then turned over to the Franciscans.

. . At that time, faced with the threat of Russian colonization from the north, Spain had committed itself to pushing northward into what is now the American state of California. Russian America (Alaska) was only 800 miles away. Spain feared that Russia would push south and gain a firm foothold in Alta California. The Spanish military launched an expedition into California in 1769 under the leadership of Gaspar de Portola. Father Serra set out with them to establish missions.

. . Serra’s blessing of the site of Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1769, marked the beginning of the European settlement of California.

. . Between the years of 1796 and 1784, Father Serra made six voyages by sea totaling 5,400 miles. He traveled by land the distance between Monterey and San Francisco eight times, Monterey and San Antonio 11 times, His longest journey by land was from Monterey to Mexico City. In total, he traveled well over 5,500 miles by land.

. . Father Serra arrived at Monterey aboard the sailing ship San Antonio on June 1, 1770. He celebrated the first Mass on June 3, 1770, on the shore of Monterey Bay, where we now find the city of Monterey.

. . He returned to San Diego to work on the mission there, then founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence.

 

. . When Father Serra died in 1784 he had established nine California missions and baptized 6,000 Indians, about 10 percent of the California Native American population. Those nine missions grew to 21. Today, more than 60 percent of the state’s nearly 26 million people live in areas surrounding the missions, and El Camino Real, the road that Father Serra traveled on a tour of the missions shortly before this death, established a major artery running much of the length of the state.

Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus, July 29, 2013: A Transcript



Dear brothers and sisters,
This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in the life of Christ: the moment in which, as St Luke writes, “[Jesus] steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. (9:51 )” Jerusalem is the final destination, where Jesus, in his last Passover, must die and rise again, and so to fulfill His mission of salvation.
From that time, forth, after the steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to [be allowed to] follow Him, He says clearly what are the conditions: not having a permanent abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing to nostalgia for the past.
Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are [simply] to proceed further, to move on. Jesus never imposes. Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: “If you want, come.” The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose.
All this makes us think. It tells us, for example, the importance, even for Jesus, of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father’s voice, and following it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, “remote-controlled”: He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time – a decision taken in His conscience, but not on His own: ​​with the Father, in full union with Him! He decided in obedience to the Father, in profound intimate attunement to the Father’s will. For this reason, then, was the decision was steadfast: because it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which comes from this dialogue with the Father, this dialogue with God. Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: “remote-controlled” Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek ever to connect with the will of another, and are not free. Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian does not know how to talk with God, does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free.
So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.
Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense. When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart – and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow.
Our Lady, with great simplicity, listened to and meditated deep within herself upon the Word of God and what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction, with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become more and more men and women of conscience – free in our conscience, because it is in conscience that the dialogue with God is given – men and women able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father had these remarks:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today in Italy we celebrate the Day of charity of the Pope. I desire to thank the bishops and all the parishes, especially the poorest ones, for the prayers and offerings that support the many pastoral initiatives and charitable activities of the Successor of Peter in every part of the world. Thank you all!
I extend my heartfelt greetings to all the pilgrims present, particularly to the many faithful from Germany. I also greet the pilgrims from Madrid, Augsburg, Sonnino, Casarano, Lenola, Sambucetole and Montegranaro, the group of lay Dominicans, the Apostolic Fraternity of Divine Mercy in Piazza Armerina, the Friends of the Missions of the Precious Blood, UNITALSI of Ischia di Castro and the children of Latisana.
I wish you all a good Sunday!