In Christian life, to go forward, Pope Francis says, we must think back to and cherish our first encounters with Jesus, and remember those who first transmitted the faith to us.
According to Vatican News, the Pope stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on today’s reading in which St. Paul exhorts Timothy to “remember Jesus Christ,” pointing out that Christian memory is the salt of life.
“To find strength and be able to continue walking forward,” the Pope said, “it is necessary to delve into your memory to relive your first meetings with the Lord.”
“Christian memory is like the salt of life. Without memory we cannot go on. When we encounter ‘forgetful’ Christians, we can immediately see that they have lost the flavor of Christian life and have ended up being people who obey the Commandments without spirituality.”
Three situations in which we have all met Christ, the Jesuit Pope noted, are at the beginning of our lives as Christians, speaking to our ancestors, and in the law.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, the Pope said there is a passage which says: “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful…” and said that in each of our lives there are moments when “Jesus approached us, manifested himself…”
“Do not forget these moments: think back and relive them because they are moments of inspiration, of meeting with Christ,” he said.
“Each of us has moments such as these: when I got to know Jesus, when He changed my life, when the Lord showed me my vocation, when the Lord visited me at a difficult time… We all have these moments in our hearts. Let’s contemplate them”
Jesus, he said, is the source of our Christian journey, the source that gives us the strength to go on.
The Holy Father called on those gathered to remember those who transmitted the faith to us.
Francis recalled that in his second letter to Timothy, Paul exhorts him to: “Remember your mother and grandmother as they have transmitted the faith to you.”
“We have not received the faith by mail” the Pope said, but through those who passed it on to us. “Look at them who are a multitude of witnesses and take strength from them.”
The Holy Father went on to ask faithful to contemplate whether they “have roots” or “live only in the present.”
Believers, Francis said, must ask themselves whether their roots are strong, or whether they have become uprooted and live only for the day. If this is the case, he said, “Immediately ask for the grace to return to your roots” to those people who have transmitted the faith to us.
Turning to the law, Pope Francis said in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus reminds us that the first commandment is: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!”
We must, the Pope noted, have memory of the law that is a gesture of love that the Lord made for us to direct us on the right path. This, he clarified, is not the purely juridical law, he said, but the law of love that God has placed in our hearts.
“Am I faithful to the law, do I remember the law, do I repeat the law? Sometimes we Christians, even the consecrated ones, have difficulty repeating by heart the commandments” he said.
To remember Jesus involves “having one’s gaze fixed on the Lord,” the Pope said. Thinking back to the moments in which I met Him, he added, is a way to move forward.
Memory and hope, the Pope said, are complementary and go hand in hand.
“Remember Jesus Christ, the Lord who came, who gave his life for me and who will come again. He is the Lord of memory, the Lord of hope.”
Pope Francis concluded, reminding that each of us is invited to recall the moments we met the Lord, remember those who passed down their faith to us and to brush up on the law.