ADVENT WITH POPE FRANCIS

Second Week of Advent
The Journey of Hope

This week marks the second stage of the Season of Advent, a marvelous time which awakens in us the expectation of Christ’s return and the memory of his historical coming. The Liturgy presents us with a message full of hope. It is the Lord’s expressed invitation from the lips of the Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God (Isaiah 40:1).” These words open the so-called “Book of Comfort” in which the Prophet addresses the joyous proclamation of liberation to the people in exile. The time of tribulation has ended. The people of Israel can look trustingly toward the future. At last they can return to their homeland. This is the reason for the invitation to let themselves be comforted by the Lord.

Isaiah addresses people who have passed through a dark period, who have been subjected to a very difficult trial; but now the time of comfort has come. Sorrow and fear can be replaced with joy, for the Lord himself will guide his people on the way to liberation and salvation. How will the Lord do this? With the solicitude and tenderness of a shepherd who takes care of his flock. He will in fact provide unity and security; he feed his flock, gather the lost sheep into his sure fold, and reserve special attention to the most fragile and weak. This is God’s attitude toward us, his children. For this reason, the Prophet invites those who hear him — including us now — to spread this message of hope: that the Lord consoles us; and that we must make room for the comfort which comes from the Lord.

We cannot be messengers of God’s comfort if we do not first feel the joy of being comforted and loved by Him. This happens especially when we hear his Word, the Gospel, which we should carry in our pocket. Never forget this! The Gospel in your pocket or purse, to read regularly. And this gives us comfort: when we abide in silent prayer in his presence, when we encounter Him in the Eucharist or in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All of this comforts us.

Let us therefore allow Isaiah’s call — “Comfort, comfort my people!” — resound in our hearts during this Season of Advent. Today there is need for people to be witnesses to the mercy and tenderness of God, who spurs the resigned, enlivens the disheartened, and ignites the fires of hope. He ignites the fire of hope! So many situations require our comforting witness. Let us be joyful, comforting people! I am thinking of those who are burdened by suffering, injustice and tyranny; of those who are slaves to money, to power, to success, to worldliness. Poor people! They have fabricated consolation, not the true comfort of the Lord! We are all called to comfort our brothers and sisters, to testify that God alone can eliminate the causes of existential and spiritual tragedies. He can do it! He is powerful!

Isaiah’s message, which resounds on this Second Sunday of Advent, is a salve on our wounds and an impetus to prepare with commitment the way of the Lord. Indeed, today the Prophet speaks to heart to tell us that God condones our sins and comforts us. If we entrust ourselves to the Lord with a humble and penitent heart, he will tear down the walls of evil, he will fill in the holes of our omissions, he will smooth over the bumps of arrogance and vanity, and will open the way of encounter with him. It is curious, but many times we are afraid of being comforted. Or rather, we feel more secure in sorrow and desolation. Do you know why? Because in sorrow we feel almost as protagonists. However, in consolation the Holy Spirit is the protagonist! It is he who consoles us, it is he who gives us the courage to go out of ourselves. It is he who opens the door to the Father, who is the source of every true comfort. And this is conversion. Please, let yourselves be comforted by the Lord! Let yourselves be comforted by the Lord! The Virgin Mary is the “Way” that God Himself prepared in order to come into the world. Let us entrust to Her the salvation and peace awaited by all men and women of our time.

Pope Francis
Sunday Angelus Address
Second Sunday of Advent 2014

Learn More: Advent with Pope Francis: Week I

__________

The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, December 22nd

Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.

The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of every month in Saint Ann Church (located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts) for the Celebration of Mass, formation, fellowship, and faith sharing. Our next “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” is December 22nd beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our reading and reflection on the saints, Bernard of Quintavalle and Jacopane of Todi. All fellow parishioners are invited to join the Assisi Project! You do not need to travel with us to Assisi to be a member of the Assisi Project!

Members of our fellowship all around the world, who range in age from 16 to 93, also pray for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like to join us or if you would like us to pray for your special intention, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@assisiproject.com. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!

__________

About Us

Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project and upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@assisiproject.com. May the Lord give you peace!

Follow us on Twitter: @Assisi_Project