VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Trials and doubts are part of everyone’s faith journey, “even mine,” Pope Francis said, but Christians know they can get through the hard times with help from God, other Christians and those in heaven.
“Who hasn’t experienced insecurities, losses and even doubts in the journey of faith?” the pope asked. “It’s part of life. It should not shock us because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limits.”
“Don’t be frightened,” but ask for help, Pope Francis said Oct. 30 at his weekly general audience, talking about the “communion of saints” as the church prepared to celebrate the Nov. 1-2 feasts of All Saints and All Souls.
In times of difficulty, the pope said, “it is necessary to trust in God through prayer and, at the same time, it’s important to find the courage and humility to open yourself to others in order to ask for help.”
“We are a great big family” through baptism, the pope told the estimated 50,000 pilgrims and visitors gathered for the audience in St. Peter’s Square. The communion of saints, he explained, refers not only to those who have been canonized by the Catholic Church but to all the baptized.
“The communion of saints goes beyond earthly life,” the pope said. “It extends beyond death and lasts forever,” to find its fullest expression when all believers are “reunited in heaven.”
“All the baptized here on earth, the souls in purgatory and the blessed souls in heaven form one big family,” he added in remarks to Polish pilgrims. “This communion between heaven and earth is expressed particularly in prayers of intercession, which are the greatest form of solidarity, and is also the basis of the liturgical celebrations of the feasts of All Saints and All Souls.”
Every Christian, the pope said, has an obligation to be a responsible part of the communion of saints, supporting other Christians in their faith.
A believer’s communion with God and with Jesus must find expression in communion with all those who also believe, he said. Those who truly enter “the glowing furnace of the love” of God, love others because God’s love “burns away our selfishness, our prejudices, our internal and external divisions,” he said. “The love of God also burns away our sins.”
Immediately after the audience, Pope Francis met leaders of Iraq’s Christian, Kurdish Yazidi, Sunni and Shiite Muslim communities. He had asked pilgrims at the audience to pray for Iraq, which “unfortunately is struck daily by tragic episodes of violence,” and needs “to find the path to reconciliation, peace, unity and stability.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103