Tag:  Pope Francis

The Story Of St. Pope John Paul II And The Mysterious Homeless Man 

The Story Of St. Pope John Paul II And The Mysterious Homeless Man 

Pope Francis recounted this well known story in the Vatican about his saintly predecessor

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is not the first pope to have a heart for the homeless, as he himself attests.

In a new interview with an Italian magazine run by homeless people, “Scarp de’ tenis” [i.e. “Tennis shoes” or “Sneakers”], Pope Francis recounts a famous story told in the Vatican about Pope John Paul II and a mysterious homeless man.


As the story is perhaps less well known outside the Vatican walls, here we share it with our readers. Below is the exchange from the interview.


Question: Your Holiness, when you meet a homeless person what is the first thing you say to him?


Pope Francis: “Good morning. How are you?” Sometimes one exchanges a few words, other times one enters into relationship and listens to interesting stories: “I studied at a Catholic boarding school; there was a good priest….” Someone might say: why should this interest me? But people who live on the street understand immediately when there’s real interest on the part of the other person, or when there is — I don’t want to say ‘that feeling of compassion’ but certainly one of pain. One can see a homeless person and look at him as a person, or like a dog. And they are well aware of these different ways of looking at them.


There is a famous story in the Vatican about a homeless person, of Polish origin, who usually stayed in Piazza Risorgimento in Rome. He didn’t speak to anyone, not even the Caritas volunteers who brought him a hot meal in the evening. Only after a long time did they manage to have him tell his story: “I am a priest. I know your pope well; we studied together in seminary,” he said. Word arrived to St. John Paul II, who heard the name, confirmed he was in seminary with him, and wanted to meet him. They embraced after 40 years, and at the end of the audience the Pope asked the priest, who had been his companion in seminary, to hear his confession. “Now it is your turn,” Pope John Paul II said. And his companion from seminary went to confession with the Pope. Thanks to the gesture of one volunteer, a hot meal, a few words of comfort, and a look of kindness, this person recovered and resumed a normal life that led him to become a hospital chaplain. The pope helped him. Certainly this is a miracle, but it is also an example to say that homeless people have a great dignity.


At the archbishop’s palace in Buenos Aires, under a doorway between the grates there lived a family and a couple. I met them every morning on my way out. I greeted them and always exchanged a few words with them. I never thought of driving them away. Someone said to me: “They dirty the Curia,” but the dirt is inside. I think we need to talk to people with great humanity, not as if they had to repay us a debt, and not treating them as though they were poor dogs.

‘Blasphemy, The Sin Against The Holy Spirit Is The Only Unpardonable Sin…’ – Pope Francis 

‘Blasphemy, The Sin Against The Holy Spirit Is The Only Unpardonable Sin…’ – Pope Francis 

Pope Francis, during his Angelus address on Sunday, discussed the incomprehension Christ faced during his earthly ministry, from both the scribes and his own family.

The scribes’ assertion that Christ drove out demons by the power of demons led him to “react with strong and clear words, he does not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, are falling into the gravest sin: negating and blaspheming the Love of God which is present and working in Jesus.”

And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unpardonable sin – so Jesus says – because it starts from a closure of the heart to the mercy of God acting in Jesus,” the pope said June 10 in St. Peter’s Square.

The scribes who blasphemed were sent from Jerusalem to discredit Christ, Francis said, “to make the office of talkers, discredit the other, remove authority, this ugly thing.”

“This episode contains a warning that serves all of us,” he reflected. “It may happen that a strong envy for the goodness and for the good works of a person can lead one to accuse it falsely. Here, there is truly a deadly poison: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wants to destroy the good reputation of the other.”

If we find this envy in us during our examination of conscience, “let us immediately go to confession,” he advised, “before it develops and produces its evil effects, which are incurable. Be careful, because this attitude destroys families, friendships, communities, and even society.”

Francis then turned to the incomprehension of Christ’s extended family, who “were worried because his new itinerant life seemed crazy to them. In fact, he showed himself so available to people, especially to the sick and sinners, to the point that he no longer even had time to eat. Jesus was like this: people first, serving people, helping people, teaching people, healing people … His family, therefore, decide to bring him back to Nazareth, to his home.”

When told his family was outside looking for him, Christ replied that “who does the will of God, he is a brother, sister and mother for me.”

Christ “formed a new family, no longer based on natural bonds, but on faith in him, on his love that welcomes us and unites us among us, in the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “All those who accept the word of Jesus are sons of God and brothers among themselves. Welcoming the word of Jesus makes us brothers among us, makes us the family of Jesus.”

But “gossiping about others … makes us the family of the devil.

The pope noted that Christ’s response to his family looking for him “is not a lack of respect for his mother and his family.”

“Indeed, for Mary it is the greatest recognition, because she is the perfect disciple who has obeyed the will of God in everything. May the Virgin Mother help us to live in communion with Jesus, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit acting in him and in the Church, regenerating the world to new life.”

‘Blasphemy, The Sin Against The Holy Spirit Is The Only Unpardonable Sin…’ – Pope Francis 

‘Blasphemy, The Sin Against The Holy Spirit Is The Only Unpardonable Sin…’ – Pope Francis 

Pope Francis, during his Angelus address on Sunday, discussed the incomprehension Christ faced during his earthly ministry, from both the scribes and his own family.

The scribes’ assertion that Christ drove out demons by the power of demons led him to “react with strong and clear words, he does not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, are falling into the gravest sin: negating and blaspheming the Love of God which is present and working in Jesus.”

And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unpardonable sin – so Jesus says – because it starts from a closure of the heart to the mercy of God acting in Jesus,” the pope said June 10 in St. Peter’s Square.

The scribes who blasphemed were sent from Jerusalem to discredit Christ, Francis said, “to make the office of talkers, discredit the other, remove authority, this ugly thing.”

“This episode contains a warning that serves all of us,” he reflected. “It may happen that a strong envy for the goodness and for the good works of a person can lead one to accuse it falsely. Here, there is truly a deadly poison: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wants to destroy the good reputation of the other.”

If we find this envy in us during our examination of conscience, “let us immediately go to confession,” he advised, “before it develops and produces its evil effects, which are incurable. Be careful, because this attitude destroys families, friendships, communities, and even society.”

Francis then turned to the incomprehension of Christ’s extended family, who “were worried because his new itinerant life seemed crazy to them. In fact, he showed himself so available to people, especially to the sick and sinners, to the point that he no longer even had time to eat. Jesus was like this: people first, serving people, helping people, teaching people, healing people … His family, therefore, decide to bring him back to Nazareth, to his home.”

When told his family was outside looking for him, Christ replied that “who does the will of God, he is a brother, sister and mother for me.”

Christ “formed a new family, no longer based on natural bonds, but on faith in him, on his love that welcomes us and unites us among us, in the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “All those who accept the word of Jesus are sons of God and brothers among themselves. Welcoming the word of Jesus makes us brothers among us, makes us the family of Jesus.”

But “gossiping about others … makes us the family of the devil.

The pope noted that Christ’s response to his family looking for him “is not a lack of respect for his mother and his family.”

“Indeed, for Mary it is the greatest recognition, because she is the perfect disciple who has obeyed the will of God in everything. May the Virgin Mother help us to live in communion with Jesus, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit acting in him and in the Church, regenerating the world to new life.”

Satan Is Attacking Not Only Christians, But All People – Pope Francis Explains Why 

Satan Is Attacking Not Only Christians, But All People – Pope Francis Explains Why 

During his homily at Mass on Friday, Pope Francis reflected on how the Devil is the cause of all forms of persecution: from cultural colonization to war, hunger, and slavery.

The devil is not only behind the persecution of Christians that is so widespread today. He is behind the persecution of all men and women — the growing wave of destruction we see in our times.

This was Pope Francis’ reflection on Friday, June 1, at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the First Reading, where St. Peter says, “Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.”


Today, said Pope Francis, we are not only witnessing the persecution of Christians, but of every man and woman, “through cultural colonization, war, hunger, and slavery.”

The pontiff explained how for the Christian, persecution is part of life.


“Persecution is rather like the ‘air’ that Christians breathe even today. Because even today there are many martyrs, many people who are persecuted for their love of Christ. There are many countries where Christians have no rights. If you wear a cross, you go to jail. And there are people in jail. There are people condemned to death today simply because they are Christians. The number of people killed is higher than the number of early martyrs. It’s higher! But this doesn’t make news. Television newscasts and newspapers don’t cover these things. Meanwhile Christians are being persecuted.”


But Christians aren’t the only ones persecuted by the devil. Satan persecutes all men, the Holy Father explained, because all of us are made in the image of God.


“The Devil is behind every persecution, both of Christians and all human beings. The Devil tries to destroy the presence of Christ in Christians, and the image of God in men and women. He tried doing this from the very beginning, as we read in the Book of Genesis: he tried to destroy that harmony that the Lord created between man and woman, the harmony that comes from being made in the image and likeness of God. And he succeeded. He managed to do it by using deception, seduction…the weapons he uses. He always does this. But there is a powerful ruthlessness against men and women today: otherwise how to explain this growing wave of destruction towards men and women, and all that is human?”


The persecutions of mankind


For example, Pope Francis described hunger as an “injustice” that “destroys men and women because they have nothing to eat,” even if there is a lot of food available in the world.


He went on to speak of human exploitation, of different forms of slavery, and recalled how he recently saw a film shot inside a prison where migrants are locked up and tortured to turn them into slaves. This is still happening, he said, “70 years after the Declaration of Human Rights.”


The pope also reflected on cultural colonization. This is exactly what the Devil wants, he said, “to destroy human dignity” – and that is why the Devil is behind all forms of persecution.


“Wars can be considered a kind of instrument to destroy people, who are made in the image of God. But so are the people who make war, who plan war in order to exercise power over others. There are people who promote the arms industry to destroy humanity, to destroy the image of man and woman, physically, morally, and culturally… Even if they are not Christians, the Devil persecutes them because they are the image of God. We must not be ingenuous. In the world today, all humans, and not only Christians are being persecuted, because the Father of all persecutions cannot bear that they are the image and likeness of God. So he attacks and destroys that image.”

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