VATICAN CITY – God’s love requires that we give our best to each and every one of our brothers and sisters, even those who are in the final stage of their life, Pope Francis said during his Regina Coeli address Sunday.
“Love for others cannot be reserved for exceptional moments, but must become the constant of our existence,” the pope said May 6.
“That’s why to the sick, even if in the last stage, we must give all possible assistance. This is why unborn children are always welcomed; that is why, ultimately, life must always be protected and loved from conception to its natural setting. And this is love.”
Speaking before the traditional Regina Coeli prayer, which the pope leads from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Francis said to be available “to every brother and sister, whoever he is and in whatever situation,” is the way in which Catholics can share Christ’s love, especially with those closest: in the family, community, work, and school.
This love is what also calls people to protect the elderly as a “precious treasure,” he said, even if it is economically difficult, or inconvenient, to do so.
Francis said that “we are loved by God in Jesus Christ, who asks us to love each other as He loves us,” but that this is impossible unless we have the “same Heart” as Christ, which we acquire through participation in the Eucharist, which has “the purpose of forming in us the Heart of Christ, so that our whole life is guided by his generous attitudes.”
In his meditation, the pope also invoked the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help Catholics “remain in the love of Jesus and to grow in love for all, especially the weakest, to fully correspond to our Christian vocation.”
He pointed to the day’s Gospel passage, in which Jesus says: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,” noting that Jesus confirms that love is not a superficial feeling, but a “fundamental attitude of the heart, which manifests itself in living” as Christ requests.
Like Jesus, we receive the love that comes from the Father, trying not to separate ourselves through selfishness and sin. “Jesus asks us to keep his commandments, which are summarized in this: ‘that you love one another as I have loved you,’” the pope said.
“How can we be, therefore, this love that the risen Lord gives us, [so that] it can be shared with others?” he asked.
After praying the Regina Coeli, the pope asked for prayers for the people of the Central African Republic (CAR), who experienced a deadly attack on a Catholic Church May 1.
The attack took place at Our Lady of Fatima parish in the capital Bangui, on the outskirts of the PK5 neighborhood, a largely Muslim area known for violent clashes. At least 15 were killed, including a priest identified as Father Albert Toungoumale Baba, and as many as 99 others were wounded.
Francis said that the CAR is a “country that I had the joy of visiting and which I carry in my heart. Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Lord helps everyone to say no to violence and revenge, to build peace together.”
Francis also noted Saturday’s beatification in Aachen, Germany, of Clara Fey, founder of the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus, asking everyone to “give thanks to God for this zealous witness to the Gospel, a caring educator of disadvantaged youth.”