Belonging to the Church is a wonderful gift, Pope Francis said this morning, after returning to the Vatican from his visit to the European parliament yesterday.
The Pope was speaking to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square in his weekly General Audience.
We must never forget the fundamental truth that “the Church is not a static reality, an end in itself, but that she is continually journeying through history to the kingdom of heaven, of which the Church on earth is the seed and beginning”, he began.
Quoting the conciliar constitution Gaudium et spes Pope Francis said: “God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart.”
This is the goal toward which the Church projects itself, the Pope said: the “new Jerusalem” or “Paradise”.
“More than a place, it is a ‘state of being’ in which our deepest expectations will be fulfilled in abundance and our being as creatures and as children of God will reach full maturity. We will finally be covered with the joy, peace and love of God in a complete way, without any limitations, and we will be face to face with Him! It’s lovely to think of this, to think we will all find ourselves up there! All of us in heaven. It’s good, it gives strength to our soul,” Pope Francis said.
What lies ahead is a new creation. “It is not an annihilation of the universe and all that surrounds us, rather it brings everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty,” he said.
“Dear friends, when we think about these wonderful realities that await us, we realise how belonging to the Church truly is a wonderful gift, which calls us to the highest vocation!”