Pope Francis on Thursday urged Christians always to memorize the way and circumstances in which God has been present in their lives, saying this helps to strengthen their faith. His words came during his homily at Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence.
Taking his inspiration from the day’s readings, the pope reflected on the need for Christians to look back and store in their memories all the key moments and signs of God’s presence in their lives. He said we must memorize both the beautiful things done by God as well as the obstacles and rejections because God accompanies us and is not frightened off by our wicked deeds.
“We must look back to see how God has saved us, follow—with our hearts and minds—this path with its memories and in this way arrive at Jesus’ side. It’s the same Jesus, who in the greatest moment of his life—Holy Thursday and Good Friday, in the (Last) Supper—gave us his body and his blood and said to us ‘Do this in memory of me.’ In memory of Jesus. To remember how God saved us.”
Pope Francis went on to explain how the church describes the Sacrament of the Eucharist as a “memorial,” just as in the Bible the book of Deuteronomy is “the book of the Memory of Israel.” And we must do the same in our personal lives, he said.
“It’s good for the Christian heart to memorize my journey, my personal journey: just like the Lord who accompanied me up to here and held me by the hand. And the times I said to our Lord: No! Go away! I don’t want you! Our Lord respects (our wishes). He is respectful. But we must memorize our past and be a memorial of our own lives and our own journey. We must look back and remember and do it often. ‘At that time God gave me this grace and I replied in that way, I did this or that… he accompanied me.’ And in this way we arrive at a new encounter, an encounter of gratitude.”
Concluding his homily, the pope said our hearts should give rise to a sense of gratitude towards Jesus who never stops accompanying us “in our history.” How many times, he admitted, have we closed the door in his face, how many times have we pretended not to see him and not believe that he is by our side? How many times have we denied his salvation…But he was always there.
“Memory makes us draw closer to God. The memory of that work which God carried out in us, in this recreation, in this regeneration, that takes us beyond the ancient splendor that Adam had in the first creation. I give you this simple advice: Memorize it! What’s my life been like, what was my day like today or what has this past year been like? (It’s all about) memory. What has my relationship with the Lord been like? Our memories of the beautiful and great things that the Lord has carried out in the lives of each one of us.”