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9) The Bride awaits her Spouse

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Church (10th of 16)
General Audience, Wednesday 15 October 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
During this period we have spoken of the Church, of our Holy Mother hierarchical Church, the People of God on the journey. Today we would like to ask ourselves: at the end, what will happen to the People of God? What will happen to each of us? What should we expect? The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians of the Thessalonian community, who were asking themselves these questions, and after his explanation they said these words, which are among the most beautiful of the New Testament: “And so we shall always be with the Lord”! (1 Thes 4:17). They are simple words, but laden with such great hope! “And so we shall always be with the Lord”. Do you believe this? ... It seems not. Do you believe? Shall we repeat it together? Three times?: “And so we shall always be with the Lord”. “And so we shall always be with the Lord”. “And so we shall always be with the Lord”. It is emblematic that John, taking up the intuition of the prophets in the Book of Revelation, describes the final, definitive dimension in terms of the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rv 21:2). That is what awaits us! This, then, is who the Church is: she is the People of God who follows the Lord Jesus and who prepares herself day by day for the meeting with Him, as a bride with her bridegroom. And this is not just an expression: there will be actual nuptials! Yes, because Christ, by becoming a man like us and making us all one with him, with his death and his Resurrection, truly wedded us and constituted us, as a people, his bride. This is none other than the fulfilment of the plan of communion and of love woven by God throughout history, the history of the People of God and also the very history of each one of us. It is the Lord who is in the lead.

There is another aspect, however, which further comforts us and which opens the heart: John tells us that in the Church, the Bride of Christ, the “new Jerusalem” is made visible. This means that the Church, in addition to bride, is called to become a city, the symbol par excellence of human coexistence and relationality. How beautiful, then, already being able to contemplate, according to another very suggestive image in Revelation, all people and all peoples gathered together in this city, as in a tent, “the tent of God” (cf. Rv 21:3)! And in this glorious framework there will no longer be isolation, prevarication or distinctions of any kind — of a social, ethnic or religious nature — but we will all be one in Christ.

In sight of this wonderful and unprecedented scene, our heart cannot help feeling strongly confirmed in hope. You see, Christian hope is not simply a desire, a wish, it is not optimism: for a Christian, hope is expectation, fervent expectation, impassioned by the ultimate and definitive fulfilment of a mystery, the mystery of God’s love, in which we are born again and which are already experiencing. And it is the expectation of someone who is coming: it is Christ the Lord approaching ever closer to us, day by day, and who comes to bring us at last into the fullness of his communion and of his peace. The Church then, has the task of keeping the lamp of hope burning and clearly visible, so that it may continue to shine as a sure sign of salvation and illuminate for all humanity the path which leads to the encounter with the merciful face of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, here then is what we are awaiting: Jesus’ return! The Church as bride awaits her Spouse! We must ask ourselves, however, with total sincerity: are we truly luminous and credible witnesses to this expectation, to this hope? Do our communities still live in the sign of the presence of the Lord Jesus and in the warm expectation of his coming, or do they appear tired, sluggish, weighed down by fatigue and resignation? Do we too run the risk of exhausting the oil of faith, and the oil of joy? Let us be careful!

Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope and Queen of Heaven, that she may always keep us alert, listening and expectant, so that we may, already now, be permeated by Christ’s love and take part one day in the unending joy, in the full communion of God. Always remember, never forget: “And so we shall always be with the Lord”! (1 Thes 4:17). Shall we repeat it? Three more times? “And so we shall always be with the Lord!”. “And so we shall always be with the Lord!”. “And so we shall always be with the Lord!”."


"Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française, en particulier les pèlerins de Sées et de Cahors venus avec leurs évêques, ainsi que le collège Calvin, de Genève, et les Petites Sœurs de Jésus. Que votre pèlerinage à Rome vous aide à être des témoins chaleureux et authentiques de l’espérance et de la joie de la foi ! Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the various groups from England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Ghana, India, Japan, Thailand, Australia and the United States of America. In a particular way, my greeting goes to the Irish National Pilgrimage commemorating the fourteenth centenary of the death of Saint Columban. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in the Lord Jesus. God bless you all!

Herzlich grüße ich die zahlreichen Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache, besonders die Delegation des Österreichischen Gemeindebundes und die Gläubigen der Pfarrei Sankt Laurentius aus Essen-Steele. Ich lade euch ein, euch aufzumachen und Jesus Christus schon heute im Hören auf sein Evangelium und durch gute Taten zugunsten der Bedürftigen zu begegnen. Der Heilige Geist begleite euch auf allen euren Wegen.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, México, Costa Rica, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Que María Santísima, Madre de la esperanza, nos enseñe a gustar ya desde ahora del amor de Cristo que un día se nos manifestará en plenitud. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa e em particular os fiéis das paróquias e associações do Brasil, sede bem-vindos! De coração vos saúdo a todos, confiando ao bom Deus a vossa vida e a dos vossos familiares. Rezai também vós por mim! Que as vossas famílias se reúnam diariamente para a reza do terço sob o olhar da Virgem Mãe, para que nelas não se acabe jamais o óleo da fé e da alegria, que brota da vida dos seus membros em comunhão com Deus!

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ منالشّرق الأوسط. أيُّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، عيشوا دائمًا في حضورِ الربِّ يسوعَ وانتظارِ مجيئه، وكونوا شُهودًا مُشرِقين وصادقين لهذا الرجاء. ليبارككُم الربّ!

Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Dzisiaj obchodzimy wspomnienie św. Teresy od Jezusa, karmelitanki, dziewicy i doktora Kościoła. Jutro natomiast przypada rocznica wyboru na Stolicę Piotrową świętego Jana Pawła II. Tych dwoje świętych łączy zawierzenie wszystkiego Bogu, oddanie Kościołowi i duch mistycyzmu. Uczmy się od nich ewangelicznego radykalizmu i dorastania do życia w pełnej komunii z Bogiem. Z serca błogosławię wam tu obecnym i waszym bliskim.

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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Saluto in particolare i partecipanti al IV° Convegno della Fondazione Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI che avrà luogo a Medellín, esortandoli a studiare percorsi che costruiscano la pace e promuovano la dignità della persona umana. Saluto gli studenti dell’Istituto Caboto, nell’anniversario di fondazione, accompagnati dall’Arcivescovo di Gaeta Mons. Fabio D’Onorio; l’Unione delle Pro loco d’Italia; la Società italiana di chirurgia; la Fondazione FIRMO di Firenze. Saluto inoltre l’Associazione “Centri Sociali - Comitati Anziani” di Bologna, quella delle “mogli dei medici italiani” e “Genitori Sempre”, come pure i partecipanti al Festival Internazionale del Circo di Latina. La visita alle tombe degli Apostoli favorisca in tutti una crescita nella fede e un servizio più intenso a favore delle persone più deboli, ammalate, anziane o indifese.

Rivolgo infine un pensiero speciale ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Continuiamo ad invocare l’intercessione della Vergine Maria sul Sinodo per la Famiglia. Cari giovani, specialmente voi dell’Istituto Cicerone, San Nilo e San Giuseppe al Trionfale, ringraziate sempre il Signore per il dono della famiglia; cari ammalati, unite l’offerta della vostra sofferenza all’intenzione di preghiera per la pace nelle famiglie; e voi, cari sposi novelli, fondate la vostra casa coniugale sulla roccia della Parola di Dio."

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