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Monday, April 8, 2013

REGINA COELI: BEATITUDE OF FAITH

Vatican City, 8 April 2013 (VIS) – On the Sunday that concludes the Easter Octave, which John Paul II named Divine Mercy Sunday, the Pope greeted the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Regina Coeli with the words of the risen Christ: “Peace be with you”. He explained that it is a peace that goes beyond a simple greeting or wish: “It is a gift,” he said. “The precious gift that Christ gives to his disciples, after having passed through death and hell.” It is a peace that is “the fruit of the victory of God's love over evil … and of forgiveness. The true peace that comes from experiencing God's mercy.”

The Holy Father then spoke of Jesus' appearances to his disciples who were locked in the Cenacle. Thomas wasn't present at the first appearance and he didn't believe what the apostles told him of it. At the second, when he was there and Jesus invited him to touch his wounds, Jesus said to him “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

And who are those who believe without having seen?” the pontiff asked. They are “other disciples, men and women of Jerusalem who, although not having met the risen Jesus, believed in the witness of the apostles and the women. This is a very important word about faith; we can call it the beatitude of faith. In every time and in every place there are the blessed who, through the Word of God proclaimed in the Church and witnessed to by Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is God's love incarnate, Mercy incarnate. And that goes for all of us!”

However, along with peace, Jesus gave his disciples the Holy Spirit, “so that they might bring the forgiveness of sins—the forgiveness that only God can give and that cost the blood of the Son—to the world. The Church is sent by the risen Christ to bring the remission of sins to humanity and thus to make the Kingdom of love grow; to sow peace in our hearts so that we might also affirm it in our relationships, in society, and in institutions. The Spirit of the risen Christ casts out the fear in the hearts of the Apostles and compels them to leave the Cenacle in order to bring forth the Gospel. Let us also have more courage to witness to our faith in the risen Christ! Let us not be afraid to be Christians or to live as Christians!”

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