The Vatican

"Love your enemies. Charity is the narrow gate," the Pope urges.

Almost on the eve of the Solemnity of Pentecost, which the Church celebrates on Sunday, Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on "Vices and Virtues" with a reflection on charity, "the summit of all virtues". The Holy Father encouraged: "Love your enemies, do good, do not be indifferent to the needs of others, charity is the narrow gate to heaven".  

Francisco Otamendi-May 15, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes
pope audience fraternity

Pope Francis at an Audience on the occasion of the meeting on human fraternity in May @OSV

"Charity is the third theological virtue, after faith and hope," the other two theological virtues. Charity comes from God, it directs us towards him, charity enables us to love him, to become his friends, and at the same time it enables us to love our neighbor as God loves him," the Pope began his catechesis at the Audience of this Wednesday in May, very close to the solemnity of Pentecost.

To this great feast he referred, for example, in his words to the English, German and Italian-speaking pilgrims, always with the example of the hymn to charity from the First Letter to the Corinthians of St. Paul, chapter 13 ("Charity is patient, it is kind..."); and in particular from the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus, to which he frequently alluded in his reflection ("Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...").

In St. Peter's Square, Francis said that "the charity of Christ, as he reminds us in the Beatitudes, urges us to care for the least of our brothers and sisters, the most neglected. It is a concrete love, a fearless love that embraces even the unlovable, a love that forgives, forgets, blesses, and gives itself without measure." "How much love it takes to forgive," he noted.

"We will be examined in love."

"The virtue of charity is the narrow gate that will enable us to reach the sky. It will be the only criterion of judgment, because in the evening of our life we will be examined in love. As we know, in the end only charity will remain," he said.

Greeting the pilgrims in the various languages, the Pontiff suggested some additional ideas. For example, to the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope added that "let us ask the Lord to increase our charity, and grant us an open heart, a generous heart, so as not to be indifferent to the needs of others".

Prayer for Afghanistan, for the unborn, for peace

In his greeting to the Polish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope recalled that "the bell of the unborn" has arrived at the Vatican, which will be taken to Kazakhstan, "reminding us of the need to protect human life from conception to natural death".

Addressing the Italian-speaking faithful, the Holy Father prayed for the hundreds of victims of the recent rains and floods in Afghanistan, many of them children, and urged the international community to provide the necessary aid. 

He also. as usual, urged to pray for peace in Ukraine, Palestine, and for all those who live in war, which "is always a defeat, always".

Finally, he exhorted to "always be docile to the action of God". Holy Spiritso that the presence of the Comforter may be for each one a source of relief in the trial".

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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