Pope at Regina Coeli: Let your guard down, open up to Jesus

At the recitation of the Regina Coeli on the third Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis invites the faithful to learn to spend time with Jesus at the end of each day, as He can show you things from a different perspective.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for his Regina Coeli on the third Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis recalled that the day's Gospel reading narrates the encounter of the Risen Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus. Although the disciples do not recognize Jesus when they encounter Him on their road home from Jerusalem, the Lord comforts them by helping them reinterpret facts in a different way, in the light of the Word of God.

Rereading our own history

The Holy Father asks those present to dwell precisely on this aspect: "For us, too, it is important to reread our history together with Jesus", noted the Pope, referring to the story of our own lives. Just as the disciples did, we too "can find ourselves lost in the face of these events, alone and uncertain, with many questions and worries", but, again like the disciples, we are invited to spend time with Jesus, so that He will remain with us.

Daily examination 

Pope Francis goes on to note that a good way of doing this is with a "brief examination of conscience" every evening. By reliving our day with Jesus, and bringing to Him all the hopes, fears, emotions, choices, and people that cross our minds throughout the day, we will "learn gradually to look at things with different eyes, with His [eyes] and not only our own". 

However, Pope Francis continued, in order to do this we must "let down our guard" and not hide anything from Jesus. Through Him, he added, "we must allow ourselves be wounded by His truth, and let our heart vibrate at the breath of His Word".

What was my day really like?

Bringing his catechesis to an end, Pope Francis pointed out that "we can begin today" and on this very evening we can dedicate a moment of prayer to asking ourselves about our day. Let us ask ourselves, the Pope concluded: "Was there a little love in what I did? And what are the falls, the sadness, the doubts, and the fears to bring to Jesus so that He can open new ways to me, to lift me up and encourage me?"

Finally, Pope Francis prayed to Mary, the "wise Virgin", that she may "help us to recognize Jesus who walks with us and to reread every day of our life in His sight".

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23 April 2023, 12:05

What is the Regina Coeli?

The antiphon Regina Coeli (“Queen of Heaven”) is one of four traditional Marian antiphons, the others being Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Coelorum, and Salve Regina.

It was Pope Benedict XIV who, in 1742, enjoined the recitation of the Regina Coeli in place of the Angelus during Eastertide, that is, from Easter Sunday to the end of Pentecost. It is recited standing as a sign of Christ’s victory over death.

Like the Angelus, the Regina Coeli is said three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, in order to consecrate the day to God and the Virgin Mary.

This ancient antiphon arose, according to a pious tradition, in the 6th century; it is attested in documentary sources from the first half of the 13th century, when it was inserted in the Franciscan breviary. It is composed of four short verses, each ending with an “alleluia.” With the Regina Coeli, the faithful turn to Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to rejoice with her at the Resurrection of Christ.

At the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday of 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the spiritual dispositions that should animate the faithful as they recite this Marian prayer:

“In this prayer, expressed by the Alleluia, we turn to Mary inviting her to rejoice, because the One whom she carried in her womb is Risen as He promised, and we entrust ourselves to her intercession. In fact, our joy is a reflection of Mary’s joy, for it is she who guarded and guards with faith the events of Jesus. Let us therefore recite this prayer with the emotion of children who are happy because their mother is happy.”

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