(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted the members of the Swiss Guard and their families on Monday, ahead of the annual May 6th swearing in ceremony for new Guards.
Pope Francis said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“In the history of the Church, many men and women have embraced the call of this great love,” Pope Francis said. “The Swiss Guards who fought during the sack of Rome [on May 6, 1527] and who gave their lives in the defense of the Pope followed this call. And responding with devotion to this call means to follow Christ.”
Pope Francis said a Swiss Guard is “a person who truly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus and who loves in a particular way the Church; [he] is a Christian with a genuine faith.”
The Holy Father called on them to live their vocation through the Sacraments of the Church, regularly participating in the Mass and frequently attending confession. He also urged them to read the Gospel every day, and even to keep a small book of the Gospels on their person, so it is available to read at quiet moments.
The Pope said prayer will help them in their service.
“So when you meet the people, the pilgrims, you convey - with your kindness and competence - this ‘greater love’ that comes from friendship with Christ,” Pope Francis said. “In effect, Swiss Guards are a ‘billboard’ of the Holy See!”
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