At the Mass he celebrated in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on this Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter, Pope Francis raised a prayer for Europe, so that the continent achieves the fraternal unity dreamed of by its founding fathers:

“In this time in which so much unity is necessary among us, between nations, let us pray for Europe today, so that Europe can have that unity, that fraternal unity that the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed of”.

In his homily, Pope Francis commented on today’s Gospel (Jn 3: 16-21), in which Jesus tells Nicodemus that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”.

For “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”.

And the judgment is this, says Jesus: “the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil”.

“The love of God seems madness”

“The love of God seems madness”, said the Pope: the Father gave us the only Son who died on the cross for us.

“The crucifix is ​​the great book of God’s love for us”, Francis added.

“Many Christians spend their time contemplating the crucifix and find everything there, because they have understood, the Holy Spirit has made them understand, that there is all the science, all the love of God, all the Christian wisdom: in the light of God”, the pontiff explained.

But many people, the Pope added, cannot live in the light: “they are human bats” that live at night. And we, too, when we live in sin, prefer to live in darkness and to walk as blind people.

The Pope invited us to ask ourselves this question today: “Am I a child of God, a child of light or a child of darkness?”

New book of Francis’ prayers and homilies: Strong in the Face of Tribulation

In other news from the Vatican, the Holy See Dicastery for Communication has made available a downloadable book entitled Strong in the Face of Tribulation, containing prayers, supplications and the Pope’s homilies as “a sure support in time of trial”.

“A little help offered to all, so as to know how to discern and experience God’s closeness and tenderness in pain, in suffering, in solitude and in fear”, wrote Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, presenting the new book.

Edited by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, the digital publication contains a collection of prayers, intercessions and homilies to help sustain the Church’s sense of communion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Strong in the Face of Tribulation is available for download free of charge on the website of the Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, in PDF format. It is currently available in English, Italian, Spanish and French.

“An opportunity to look at what is truly essential for our lives”

The cover of the book carries an image of the Archangel Michael who “protects the Church against evil and supports us in this difficult trial, so that this evil may not prejudice our trust in the Father and the solidarity among us”, wrote Tornielli.

Rather, these trying times should become an “opportunity to look at what is truly essential for our lives and to share the love received from God among all”, especially with those who are most in need. 

Prayers from the Church’s tradition

Strong in the Face of Tribulation contains three sections. In the first, prayers, rituals and supplications for difficult times inspired by Christian tradition can be found. It includes blessings for the sick, prayers for liberation from evil, and other texts that originate from various ecclesial contexts and historical eras. 

Pastoral indications

The second section is dedicated to the indications given by the Church on how people can continue to live out a sacramental life even though coronavirus precautionary measures do not permit their physical participation in them.

It focuses on elements that foster spiritual communion with the Church, and how to obtain forgiveness from sin despite the impossibility of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Pope’s words

The final part is a collection of Pope Francis’s words to the ecclesial community in these times of trial. It contains all of his homilies from Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, and the texts of the Sunday Angelus discourses, beginning from 9 March.

The digital copy of the book will be updated several times a week in the light of new developments and the “rediscovery” of other treasures of the Church’s tradition. It can therefore be downloaded several times to keep abreast of new additions.

Click here to download Strong in the Face of Tribulation

(With reporting by Vatican News)

Next on Novena:

Coronavirus recession: Pope urges Europe to “solidarity” through “innovative solutions”

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Top cardinal warns lack of solidarity during coronavirus could be “fatal wound” to EU

Coronavirus: Papal economist criticises north Europe countries for lack of solidarity with Italy, Spain

Cardinal Hollerich denounces Europe coronavirus discord: “The politicians are falling short”


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.