Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pope Francis meets with children: "If you have not encountered Jesus, you will never be able to live a Christian life"

MEETING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNGSTERS IN THE SPORTS FIELD OF THE PARISH

[from Zenit]

[A girl]: Holy Father, we want to know how you felt when you were elected Pope ...
[Pope Francis]: Thank you ...
[A girl scout]: This is a question that the two of us want to ask you: we’ve had this question for a long time and finally we can have an answer. If God forgives everyone, why does Hell exist? And then, a little curiosity: in your opinion, what is Paradise like?
[A girl]: Dear Holy Father, as Christians we are faced with many difficulties. We are exposed to so much teasing, also because of our moral choices as, for instance, to live our sexuality in a Christian way. Holiness, can you help us to understand and counsel us how to live to the best our faith and to walk beside God, despite the difficulties of life, which often make us feel far from His love. Thank you with our whole heart.
[Pope Francis]
Good evening to all!
First a question that is very important, the one you asked, as a good scout you asked a good and difficult question. Now I will also ask: Does God forgive everything ... or not? [Answer: Yes! He forgives everything!] Because He is good ... or not? [Yes! He is good!] He is good. However, you know that there was a very proud angel, very proud, who was very intelligent. And he was envious of God, do you understand? He was envious of God. He wanted God’s place. And God wanted to forgive him, but he said: I don’t need forgiveness, I am sufficient unto myself!” This is Hell: to say to God: You manage yourself, I‘ll manage myself on my own.” No one sends you to Hell. You go there because you choose to be there. Hell is to want to distance oneself from God because I don’t want God’s love. This is Hell, Do you understand? It is a theology that is somewhat easy to explain and it is this. The devil is in Hell because he wanted it: he never wanted a relation with God. However, if you are  ... think of a sinner: if you were a tremendous sinner, with all the sins of the world, all of them, and then you were sentenced to death, and when you are there, blasphemies, insults, so many things ... And at the moment of going there, to the death penalty, when you are about to die, you look at Heaven and say: “Lord ...!” Where do you go, to Heaven or to Hell? Louder ... [to Heaven!] You go to Heaven because there was another who was a thief, but one of those thieves .... He was crucified near to Jesus. And one of these two thieves insulted Jesus. He didn’t believe in Jesus; he endured the pains until death. However, at a certain point, something moved within him and he said: “Lord, have mercy on me!” And what did Jesus say? Do you remember what he said? “Today, this evening, you will be with me in Paradise.” Why? Because he said “remember me”, “look at me.” Only he goes to Hell who says to God: I don’t need you, I can manage on my own,” as the devil did, who is the only one that we are certain is in Hell. Is this clear? Thank you for the question. But you seem to be a theologian!
The other question is not easy. Christian morality: how to live this morality; to be holy before God, what must I do? And Christian morality, to live morally is a grace; it is an answer to the love He gives you first. If you are not aware that He loves you, you can’t do anything. Nothing. And the moral way of living is an answer to the encounter with Jesus. If you have not encountered Jesus, you will never be able to live a Christian life. It is Jesus who helps you to go forward and if you fall, it is He who raises you and who makes you continue going. But if you think or we think that the moral life is only “do this,” “Don’t do that” ... “do this,” “don’t do that,” “do this,” “don’t do that”...this isn’t Christian. This is a moral philosophy, but it isn’t Christian. Christian is the love of Jesus who first loves us. Understood? When all of us have temptations to envy, jealousies, so many temptations, all, all, so many temptations; at the moment of temptation we must look at Jesus and say: Lord, look at me, don’t leave me alone.” But then, if you fall, get up. The mountain climbers have a very lovely song that says this: “In the art of mountain climbing, what is important is not to fall but to stay fallen.” Christian morality is this: you fall? Get up immediately and go forward. This is the life, but always with Jesus. Without Jesus you can do nothing. Understood? Eh? You can also go study Moral Theology at the Gregorian: they will teach you these things ...
And the third question, which was the first: what did you feel when you were elected Pope?  I don’t know .... “They changed my dioceses” ... [he laughs, they laugh]. I was happy in a diocese and now I’m happy in another. They changed my place. There.
To the children of Communion, all of whom wrote me a letter, I thank them and carry the letters with me.
Let us pray to Our Lady to bless us all. Never go in life without Jesus. Never look for salvation without God: He is the one who saves, so we won’t go to Hell. And never complain when life changes your place!
“Hail Mary ...”
Now we ask God to bless us all: May Almighty God bless you ...” Thank you!

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