VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Christian road map for life’s journey is to keep Jesus in one’s heart, one’s eyes on heaven and one’s feet on the ground, spreading the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
“Christian life will be beautiful and will also be joyful” if people hold in their hearts the joy they felt when they first encountered Christ, pray daily to God in heaven and go forth in mission, he said May 26 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
In his homily, the pope said the sacred Scriptures indicate three places and things that make up “the road map of the Christian spirit”: Galilee and memory; heaven and prayer; the world and mission.
The first place is one’s own personal Galilee, where he or she encountered Christ the very first time and “we had this joy, this enthusiasm to follow him.”
“To be a good Christian, it is necessary to always remember the first encounter with Jesus or successive encounters,” he said, because with this “grace of memory,” each person will find certainty and strength during times of trial.
The second point of reference, he said, is prayer, knowing that Jesus is in heaven ready “to intercede for us.”
Therefore, “we have to ask for the grace of contemplating heaven, the grace of prayer, the relationship with Jesus in prayer in which he listens to us in this moment, he is with us,” the pope said.
The last place on this map is the world, he said.
Jesus told his disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” which means Christians are called to go and be in the world “to proclaim the Word of God, to say that we are saved, that he has come to give us grace, to bring all of us with him before the father,” he said.
Mission, by the way, “doesn’t mean that everyone has to go abroad. To go on mission is to live and give witness to the Gospel, it is letting people know what Jesus is like” through words and deeds because “if I say what Jesus is like, what the Christian life is like, but I live like a pagan, that is useless.”
Memory, prayer and mission are how Christians are blessed with a joy that “no one will take away,” he said. “No one, because I have that memory of encountering Jesus, I have the certainty that Jesus is in heaven right now and intercedes for me, he is with me, and I pray and I have the courage to speak, to go outside of myself and tell others, give witness with my life that the Lord is risen, he is alive.”