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Pope Francis at Holy Thursday Chrism Mass: respond to God’s ‘excess of mercy’ with gratitude

March 24, 2016

Following the celebration of Terce from the Liturgy of the Hours, Pope Francis presided at the Chrism Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning.

“I would like to speak of two areas in which the Lord shows excess in mercy,” Pope Francis preached. “Based on his example, we also should not hesitate in showing excess. The first area I am referring to is encounter; the second is God’s forgiveness, which shames us while also giving us dignity.”

In response to encountering God’s excessive mercy, Christians should respond with effusive gratitude. The Pope said:

It would be good for us to ask ourselves: after going to confession, do I rejoice? Or do I move on immediately to the next thing, as we would after going to the doctor, when we hear that the test results are not so bad and put them back in their envelope? And when I give alms, do I give time to the person who receives them to express their gratitude, do I celebrate the smile and the blessings that the poor offer, or do I continue on in haste with my own affairs after tossing in a coin?

God’s mercy “enables us to move directly from the most shameful disgrace to the highest dignity without any intermediary stages,” the Pope continued. “Our response to God’s superabundant forgiveness should be always to preserve that healthy tension between a dignified shame and a shamed dignity. It is the attitude of one who seeks a humble and lowly place, but who can also allow the Lord to raise him up for the good of the mission, without complacency.”

The Pope also cautioned priests against

an excessive “bubbly” spirituality, a “light” spirituality. We feel ourselves also trapped, not so much by insurmountable stone walls or steel enclosures that affect many peoples, but rather by a digital, virtual worldliness that is opened and closed by a simple click. We are oppressed, not by threats and pressures, like so many poor people, but by the allure of a thousand commercial advertisements which we cannot shrug off to walk ahead, freely, along paths that lead us to love of our brothers and sisters, to the Lord’s flock, to the sheep who wait for the voice of their shepherds.


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