This list reflects a selection of writings and addresses from Pope Francis, which we excerpt below:
1. Build bridges, not walls
Every Christian always builds bridges of dialogue with others, not walls of resentment. A Christian should always seek the path of listening, the path of reconciliation, with humility and meekness, because that’s what the Son of God has taught us. (Santa Marta homily, January 23, 2015)
2. Let yourself be moved by suffering … and then do something
You know, brothers, that hypocrites do not know how to weep, they have forgotten how to weep, they do not ask for the gift of tears.
When one performs a good work, the desire arises almost instinctively in us to be esteemed and admired for this good action, to gain satisfaction from it. Jesus calls us to perform these gestures without ostentation, and to rely solely on the reward of the Father “who sees in secret” (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). (Ash Wednesday homily, February 18, 2015)
3. Don’t be afraid to be ashamed of yourself and recognize when you’ve done wrong
We must learn the science and wisdom of accusing ourselves … I accuse myself, feel the pain caused by the wound, learn where it has come from, and then indict myself regarding it. Do not be afraid of remorse, for it is a sign of salvation. (Santa Marta homily, September 28, 2017)
4. Dream of love
“You can’t have a family without dreams,” Francis said in Manila in 2015. “Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies. … Dreaming is very important. Especially dreaming in families. Do not lose this ability to dream!” (Pope: We must let children play! To play is to dream …)
5. Avoid attachment to riches
The attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere. … There is a mystery in the possession of wealth. Riches have the ability to seduce and make us believe that we are in a paradise on Earth. That “paradise” is a place without horizon. (Santa Marta homily, May 25, 2015)
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6. Pray daily for your health and that of your loved ones
The Church invites constant prayer for her own loved ones stricken with suffering. There must never be a lack of prayer for the sick. But rather, we must pray more, both personally and as a community. … [I]n general, times of illness enable family bonds to grow stronger. I think about how important it is to teach children, starting from childhood, about solidarity in times of illness. An education which protects against sensitivity for human illness withers the heart. It allows young people to be “anaesthetized” against the suffering of others, incapable of facing suffering and of living the experience of limitation. (General audience, June 10, 2015)
7. Be strong in faith so as to overcome division
When we give of ourselves, we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelize; this is the new revolution – for our faith is always revolutionary – this is our deepest and most enduring cry. (July 7, 2015, Mass in Ecuador)
8. Work hard for your dignity and that of your family
Work — I repeat, in its many forms — is proper to the human person. It expresses the dignity of being created in the image of God. Thus, it is said that work is sacred. … I rejoice greatly when I see governments go to great lengths to find jobs and try to see to it that everyone has work. Work is sacred, work gives dignity to a family. We have to pray that no family is left without work. Therefore, work too, like celebration, is part of God’s creative plan. (General audience, August 19, 2015)
9. Don’t let yourself be robbed of hope
In the daily reality of life, there has to be room for dreaming. A young person incapable of dreaming is cut off, self-enclosed. Everyone sometimes dreams of things which are never going to happen. But dream them anyway, desire them, seek new horizons, be open to great things. (Pope Francis in Havana, Cuba, September 20, 2015)
10. Remember that God never abandons us
Jesus has always shown us that God is not a severe and intolerant boss, but rather a father full of love, of tenderness, a father full of goodness. And therefore, we can and we should have an immense confidence in him. (Santa Marta homily, November 20, 2017)
11. Find happiness by creating harmony
“When we pass judgement on a person we create exclusion,” perhaps saying: “Not with this man, not with this woman, not with this one … no.” In doing so, “we remain in our little group and we are selective, and this is not Christian.” We say: “No, that person is a sinner, that person did this …”.
“Jesus’ attitude,” however, “is to include. … There are two possible paths: the path of excluding people from our community and the path of including.” The first, “though to a limited degree, is at the root of all wars: all disasters, all conflicts begin with exclusion.” There is exclusion “from the international community, but also from families: among friends, how many fights!” Instead, “the path that Jesus shows us, that he teaches us, is completely different, and it is opposed to the other: to include.” (Santa Marta homily, November 5, 2015)
12. Know that you are loved, so that you can give love and forgiveness
Francis compared God’s love to that of a mother or father who speaks to their child after he or she has woken after a nightmare. Just as our parents reassured us, saying, “don’t be scared, I’m here,” so God says “do not be afraid of your sins, I love you; I am here to forgive you.”
“This is the mercy of God,” the pope explained. “We are all so nervous when something does not go according to plan; we scream and shout, we are impatient… He, however, says ‘Calm down; yes, you’ve made a mistake but don’t worry, don’t be afraid. I forgive you.’” (Santa Marta homily, December 10, 2015)
And finally, the Golden Rule is the best resolution for every month: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.