Pope Francis at Mass on May 9 recalled the memorial of St. Luisa de Marillac, who co-founded the Daughters of Charity with St. Vincent de Paul. A community of the nuns lives in the Casa Santa Marta, and run the pediatric dispensary in the Vatican.
A painting of the foundress was placed at the side of the altar in the chapel for her feast.
“Today is the commemoration of St. Luisa de Marillac,” the pope said at the start of the Mass. “Let us pray for the Vincentian sisters who have been running this clinic, this hospital, for almost 100 years and have worked here, in Santa Marta, for this hospital. May the Lord bless the sisters.”
His homily focused on the constant battle between good and evil that the Church has faced since the beginning.
“On the one hand,” the pope noted, “there is the Holy Spirit who makes the Church grow. On the other hand, there is the evil spirit that tries to destroy the Church.”
“The Church,” he pointed out, “strives ahead between the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world.” And when the Church “has no difficulties there is something missing.” He added: “If the devil is calm, things are not going well.”
The pope cited the Book of Wisdom, noting that the instrument the devil uses to destroy the proclamation of the Gospel is envy and jealousy. It is the devil’s anger that destroys.
There is always this struggle: The Holy Spirit creates harmony in the Church and the evil spirit destroys, even today.
Power and money
Temporal powers, the pope pointed out, become an instrument of this envy, as was recounted in the First Reading, they
incited the women of prominence who were worshipersand the leading men of the city,stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,and expelled them from their territory.
This conflict that occurred in the early Church was present from the morning of the Resurrection, Francis noted.
[The work of the Spirit] to build up the Church and create harmony in the Church, and the work of the Evil One to destroy it, paying recourse to temporal powers to detain and destroy the Church, is nothing more than a development of what happened on the morning of the Resurrection. The soldiers, in seeing this triumph [of life over death], went to the high priests, and they [the priests] bought their silence. The truth was silenced. From the first morning of the Resurrection and the triumph of Christ, this betrayal is present, this silencing of the word of Christ, silencing the triumph of the Resurrection with temporal power: the high priests and money.
The Holy Father thus urged the faithful to take care never to fall into the temptation of “placing our trust in temporal power and in money.” Christians trust in Christ and the Holy Spirit, he said, and “the Holy Spirit is the leaven, the strength that gives growth to the Church.”
Yes, the Church advances, in peace, with resignation, with joy: Between the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world.