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Like a mother, the Church always supports her children, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - September 18, 2013

At his weekly general audience on September 18, Pope Francis continued his reflection on the image of the Church as a mother. Repeating that it is his favorite image of the Church, the Pope remarked that it “tells us not only how the Church is, but also shows us the face the Church, this Church of ours, should increasingly show.”

Like a mother, the Pope said, the Church “teaches us how to proceed in life.” Just as a mother guides her little children through their first steps, the Church does the same for the faithful—“with tenderness, with affection, with love, always-– even when she tries to correct our path because we lose our way a little or take routes that might lead us to a fall.”

The Church provides this guidance continually, the Pope said, through the moral guidance that begins with the Ten Commandments. He urged his audience not to think of the Ten Commandments simply as prohibitions but to “think about them positively.” They are, he said, “the words and teachings a good mother gives us in order to take a good path through life.”

When children grow older, the Pope continued, a good mother remains always devoted to them, “always seeks to defend them,” and always welcomes them home even when they have behaved poorly. The same is true for the Church, he said. He said that the Church “is a merciful mother who understands, who always tries to help, to give encouragement even when her children have made mistakes or continue to do so. She never closes the doors of her house to them: she does not judge, but rather offers God's forgiveness.”

Last, the Pope remarked that a mother “knows how to ask, to knock on every door for her children” when they need some sort of help. “The Church does likewise,” he said. “Through prayer, she places the lives of all her children in the hands of the Lord.”

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