'Muff'in Dome

Hope, Surprises and Joy.

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World Youth Day is happening in Brazil at this very moment. Youth from ALL over the world have gathered in Rio de Janeiro for a week-long spiritual rally and retreat with Pope Francis. He arrived by plane to his home continent, beaming from ear-to-ear just the other day, eager to meet the pilgrims who have come to greet him and be with him throughout the week.

Pope Brazil 2013

We have a couple friends who are attending the pilgrimage in person. {Having attended two of these myself in the past, my heart fills with great anticipation and excitement for those able to attend. It is such a blessing — a true spiritual rejuvenation — for those who participate.} We joyfully sent them off with many well-wishes and prayers, anxious to hear their story upon return. As we watch and listen from afar, we “follow” in their footsteps.

pilgrim WYD 2013

Opening the week, Pope Francis spoke at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Apercida, entrusting the events to Our Lady’s protection and sharing these thoughts on the attitude of a Christian :

“I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy….

How many difficulties are present in the life of every individual, among our people, in our communities; yet as great as these may seem, God never allows us to be overwhelmed by them. In the face of those moments of discouragement we experience in life, in our efforts to evangelize or to embody our faith as parents within the family, I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts!….

Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality. Let us encourage the generosity which is typical of the young and help them to work actively in building a better world. Young people are a powerful engine for the Church and for society. They do not need material things alone; also and above all, they need to have held up to them those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people, the memory of a people….

Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us….God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him….

Dear friends, if we walk in hope, allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new wine which Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy….Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us….

Dear friends, we have come to knock at the door of Mary’s house. She has opened it for us, she has let us in and she shows us her Son. Now she asks us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Yes, dear Mother, we are committed to doing whatever Jesus tells us! And we will do it with hope, trusting in God’s surprises and full of joy. Amen.”

 

Beautiful words to bring to life in our hearts!

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