Christian life is a love story with God, pope says at canonization

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like the Catholic Church’s newest saints, Christians are
called to live their faith as a love story with God who wants a relationship that is
“more than that of devoted subjects with their king,” Pope Francis

Without a
loving relationship with God, Christian life can become empty and “an
impossible ethic, a collection of rules and laws to obey for no good
reason,” the pope said during Mass Oct. 15 in St. Peter’s Square.

“This is the danger: a Christian life that becomes routine, content
with ‘normality,’ without drive or enthusiasm, and with a short memory,”
he said during the Mass.

At the
beginning of the Mass, Pope Francis proclaimed 35 new saints, including:
the “Martyrs of Natal,” Brazil, a group of 30 priests, laymen, women
and children who were killed in 1645 during a wave of anti-Catholic persecution;
and the “Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala,” three children who were among
Mexico’s first native converts and were killed for refusing to renounce the

hung from the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica bearing images of the martyrs as
well as pictures of Sts. Angelo da Acri, an Italian Capuchin priest known
for his defense of the poor,
and Faustino Miguez, a Spanish priest who started an advanced school for girls at
a time when such education was limited almost exclusively to boys.

An estimated 35,000 pilgrims — many of them from the new
saints’ countries
of origin — attended the
Mass, the Vatican said Oct. 15.

In his
homily, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St.
Matthew in which Jesus recounts the parable of the wedding feast.

Noting Jesus’ emphasis on the wedding guests, the pope said that
God “wants us, he goes out to seek us and he invites us” to celebrate with him.

“For him, it is not enough that we should do our duty
and obey his laws,” Pope
Francis said. “He desires a true communion of life with us, a
relationship based on dialogue, trust and forgiveness.”

However, he continued, Jesus also warns that “the
invitation can be refused” as it was by those
who “made light” of the invitation or were too caught up in their own
affairs to consider attending the banquet.

is how love grows cold, not out of malice but out of preference for what
is our own: our security, our self-affirmation, our comfort,” the pope

Despite constant rejection and indifference, God does not
cancel the wedding feast but continues to invite Christians to overcome “the
whims of our peevish and lazy selves” and to imitate the church’s new
saints who, he said, not only said yes to God’s invitation, but wore “the
wedding garment” of God’s love.

“The saints who were canonized today, and especially
the many martyrs, point the way,” Pope Francis said. “The robe they
wore daily was the love of Jesus, that ‘mad’ love that loved us to the end and
offered his forgiveness and his robe to those who crucified him.”

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