SWEDEN — Pope Francis invented six new beatitudes at Holy Mass in Sweden today, one day after attending an ecumenical commemoration of 500 years since the Protestant Reformation.
Addressing Sweden’s small Catholic community at Swedbank Stadium in Malmö, on the Solemnity of All Saints, he called the feast “a celebration of holiness.” The pope said sanctity consists “not so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.”
He commended especially the often unseen holiness of mothers and fathers who “sacrifice for their families and are prepared to forgo — though it is not always easy — so many things, so many personal plans and projects.”
“Yet if there is one thing typical of the saints,” the pope continued, “it is that they are genuinely happy. They found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God.”
“That is why we call the saints blessed,” he explained. “The Beatitudes are their path, their goal towards the homeland.”
Then turning to today’s Gospel account of the 8 Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12), Pope Francis called them “the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps.”
“In the Gospel of today’s Mass, we heard how Jesus proclaimed the Beatitudes before a great crowd on the hill by the Sea of Galilee.”
“The Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card” because “they identify us as followers of Jesus,” he told the crowds. “We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.”
Pope Francis then created 6 new beatitudes of his own:
1. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart.
2. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness.
3. Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.
4. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
5. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
6. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward,” he said.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the pope concluded, “the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith. The saints spur us on by their lives and their intercession before God, and we ourselves need one another if we are to become saints. Helping one another to become saints!”
Invoking Mary, the Queen of All Saints, Pope Francis ended by inviting the faithful to pray for the grace to accept the call to holiness with joy, and to strive to fulfill it in their daily lives.