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Obtain for us the “smile of the soul”: Pope’s prayer to John Paul I


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/04/22

Pope Francis selected 4 beautiful quotes from his predecessor as he beatified him.

In his homily at the beatification of Pope John Paul I in Rome on September 4, Pope Francis offered the faithful a few thought-provoking, beautiful quotes from his predecessor, who served as pope for only 33 days

In the words of Pope John Paul, “we are the objects of undying love on the part of God” (Angelus, 10 September 1978). 

“An undying love: it never sinks beneath the horizon of our lives; it shines upon us and illumines even our darkest nights.  When we gaze upon the Crucified Lord, we are called to the heights of that love, to be purified of our distorted ideas of God and of our self-absorption, and to love God and others, in Church and society, including those who do not see things as we do, to love even our enemies,” Pope Francis reflected.

As Blessed John Paul I also said, if you want to kiss Jesus crucified, “you cannot help bending over the cross and letting yourself be pricked by a few thorns of the crown on the Lord’s head” (General Audience, 27 September 1978). 

“A love that perseveres to the end, thorns and all: no leaving things half done, no cutting corners, no fleeing difficulties,” Pope Francis invited. “If we fail to aim high, if we refuse to take risks, if we content ourselves with a watered-down faith, we are, as Jesus says, like those who want to build a tower but do not estimate the cost; they ‘lay the foundations,’ but then are ‘not able to finish the work’ (v. 29).”

John Paul I thought of himself as dust on which God deigned to write (cf. A. LUCIANI/JOHN PAUL I, Opera Omnia, Padua, 1988, vol. II, 11).  That is why he could say: “The Lord recommended it so much: be humble. Even if you have done great things, say: ‘We are useless servants’” (General Audience, 6 September 1978).

“With a smile, Pope John Paul managed to communicate the goodness of the Lord,” Pope Francis said. “How beautiful is a Church with a happy, serene and smiling face, a Church that never closes doors, never hardens hearts, never complains or harbors resentment, does not grow angry or impatient, does not look dour or suffer nostalgia for the past, falling into an attitude of going backwards.”

Finally, Pope Francis suggested offering a prayer to the new Blessed:

Let us pray to him, our father and our brother, and ask him to obtain for us “the smile of the soul,” a transparent smile that does not deceive, the smile of the soul. Let us pray, in his own words:

“Lord take me as I am, with my defects, with my shortcomings, but make me become what you want me to be” (General Audience13 September 1978).  Amen

Pope Francis
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