Pope offers new Beatitudes for saints of a new age

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

MALMO, Sweden (CNS) — The saints
are blessed because they were faithful and meek and cared for others, Pope
Francis said.

At the end of an ecumenical trip
to Sweden, Pope Francis celebrated the feast of All Saints Nov. 1 with a
Catholic Mass in a Malmo stadium. He highlighted the lives of the Swedish
saints, Elizabeth Hesselblad and Bridget of Vadstena, who “prayed and
worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians.”

The best description of the saints
— in fact, their “identity card” — the pope said, is found in the
Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which begins, “Blessed are the
poor in spirit.”

And, he said, as Christian saints
have done throughout the ages, Christ’s followers today are called “to
confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of

New situations require new energy
and a new commitment, he said, and then he offered a new list of Beatitudes for
modern Christians:

— “Blessed are those who
remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive
them from their heart.

— “Blessed are those who
look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their

— “Blessed are those who see
God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.

— “Blessed are those who
protect and care for our common home.

— “Blessed are those who
renounce their own comfort in order to help others.

— “Blessed are those who
pray and work for full communion between Christians.”

“All these are messengers of
God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Surely they will
receive from him their merited reward.”

Registered Catholics in Sweden
number about 115,000 — just over 1 percent of the population. But with recent
waves of immigration, especially from Chaldean Catholic communities in Iraq,
local church officials believe the number of Catholics is double the reported

Reflecting the multicultural
makeup of the Catholic Church in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, the prayer
intentions at Mass were read in Spanish, Arabic, English, German and Polish, as
well as in Swedish.

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