By Jim Fair
“God’s fidelity is a patient fidelity: He has patience with His people, He listens to them, He guides them, He explains slowly to them and warms their heart.”
These words were at the core of the Holy Father’s message in his homily April 15, 2020, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis is broadcasting his Mass each morning (replay below).
The Pope recalled that yesterday he spoke of the Christian icon of fidelity: Mary. Today, he went on to define fidelity to God.
“But, how is this fidelity to God, to what God? It is precisely to the faithful God. Our fidelity is none other than a response to God’s fidelity,” Francis explained. “God who is faithful to His word, who is faithful to His promise, who walks with His people, taking forward the promise close to His people. Faithful to the promise, God who continually makes Himself felt as Saviour of the people because He is faithful to the promise.
“And our God is a God that does the extraordinary, but receives no pay: he does so freely.”
Following is Zenit’s translation of the Vatican News transcript of the Pope’s homily
Yesterday we reflected on Mary of Magdala as icon of fidelity — fidelity to God. But, how is this fidelity to God, to what God? It is precisely to the faithful God. Our fidelity is none other than a response to God’s fidelity. God who is faithful to His word, who is faithful to His promise, who walks with His people, taking forward the promise close to His people. Faithful to the promise, God who continually makes Himself felt as Saviour of the people because He is faithful to the promise. God, who is capable of remaking things, of recreating, as He did with this cripple from birth whose feet He recreated, He healed him (Cf. Acts 3:6-8), the God who heals, the God wh0o always brings consolation to His people. The God who recreates — a new recreation: this is His fidelity with us — a recreation that is more wonderful than the creation.
A God who goes forward and doesn’t tire of working — we say “working,” “ad instar laborantis” (Cf. Spiritual Exercises, 236), as the theologians say — to take the people forward, and He is not afraid of getting “tired,” let’s say thus . . . As that shepherd that, when he goes home, realizes that he is missing a sheep and goes; he returns to seek the sheep that is lost there (Cf. Matthew 18:12-14). The Shepherd that does the extraordinary, but out of love, out of fidelity . . . And our God is a God that does the extraordinary, but receives no pay: he does so freely. It is the fidelity of gratuitousness, of abundance. And fidelity is that father who is capable of going out many times on the terrace to see if his son is returning, and who doesn’t tire of going out: he waits for him to celebrate (Cf. Luke 15:21-24). God’s fidelity is celebration, it’s joy, it’s such joy that it makes us behave as this cripple man: he entered the Temple walking, jumping, praising God (Cf. Acts 3:8-9). God’s fidelity is celebration, it’s a free celebration; it’s a celebration for all of us.
God’s fidelity is a patient fidelity: He has patience with His people, He listens to them, He guides them, He explains slowly to them and warms their heart, as He did with these two disciples that were going far from Jerusalem: He warms their heart so that they return home (Cf. Luke 24:32-33). God’s fidelity is that which we don’t know: what happened in that conversation [between Jesus and Peter]; however, it’s the generous God that sought Peter, who had denied Him, who had denied. We know only that the Lord was risen and appeared to Simon: we don’t know what happened in that conversation (Cf. Luke 24:34), but we do know that it was God’s fidelity that sought Peter. God’s fidelity always precedes us and our fidelity is always a response to that fidelity that precedes us. It is God who precedes us always. And in spring the flower of the almond tree flowers first. To be faithful is to praise this fidelity, to be faithful to this fidelity. It’s a response to this fidelity.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
Here Is the Prayer Recited by the Pope:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my heart. As if You have already come, I embrace you and unite myself to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from You.
Before leaving the Chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung during Eastertide:
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia.
For Christ whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,
Is risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
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