(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience in the St Peter’s Square (Wednesday) today told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. He also asked for prayers for his upcoming Apostolic visit to Turkey.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report
At the heart of Pope Francis catechesis at his General Audience on Wednesday was the continuing journey of the Church towards Paradise. On a rainy day in St Peter’s Square the Holy Father explained to the pilgrims and tourists present that “the Second Vatican Council reminded us that the Church is not an end in herself, but that she is continually journeying through history to the kingdom of heaven, of which the Church on earth is the seed and beginning.”
The Pope went on to say that at the end of time this pilgrimage will reach its fulfillment when the universe will become a new heavenly Jerusalem consumed by joy, peace and the love of God.
He noted that even now there is a continuity between the Church on earth and in heaven where those who already live in the sight of God can indeed support the living and intercede for us, pray for us from heaven. On the other hand, he added, “we are always invited to offer good deeds, prayer and the Eucharist itself to alleviate the suffering of souls who are still waiting for the bliss without end.”
As members of the Church, Pope Francis underlined, the distinction is not between who has died and who is living, but rather who is in Christ and who is not.
Looking to a great figure of the Church for inspiration, the Pope said that Saint Paul tells us that “it is not only humanity which will be liberated from corruption, but the whole of creation” and all things will be brought into the fullness of being, truth and beauty.
Following his catechesis and speaking in Italian the Holy Father asked the faithful to pray for his upcoming journey to Turkey which he said is a visit that promotes the fruits of peace, sincere dialogue between religions and harmony in the Turkey nation.
Pope Francis also greeted Arab speaking pilgrims from Iraq and the Middle East telling them to hold on to the Church and their faith at this time of suffering and violence.
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