Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1978
At today’s Wednesday Audience, the Holy Father shared his intention to speak in the weeks ahead on what Pope John XXII called the “Seven Lamps of Sanctification,” namely: faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. Today’s audience featured the pope’s reflections on the first virtue, faith:
My mother used to tell me when I was a boy: “When you were little, you were very ill. I had to take you from one doctor to another and watch over you whole nights; do you believe me?” How could I have said: “I don’t believe you, Mamma”? “Of course I believe, I believe what you tell me, but I believe especially in you.”
And so it is in faith. It is not just a question of believing in the things that God revealed, but in him who deserves our faith, who has loved us so much and done so much for our sake.
He also reflected on our Mother, the Church, and the truths she contains despite her sometimes wayward children:
A certain British preacher MacNabb, speaking in Hyde Park, had spoken of the Church. When he finished, someone asked to speak and said: “Yours are fine words. But I know some Catholic priests who did not stay with the poor and became rich. I know also Catholic husbands who have betrayed their wives. I do not like this Church made of sinners.” The Father said: “There’s something in what you say. But may I make an objection?” “Let’s hear it.” He says: “Excuse me, but am I mistaken or is the collar of your shirt a little greasy?” He says: “Yes, it is, I admit.” “But is it greasy because you haven’t used soap, or because you used soap but it was no use?” “No,” he says, “I haven’t used soap.” You see. The Catholic Church too has extraordinary soap: the gospel, the sacraments, prayer. The gospel read and lived; the sacraments celebrated in the right way; prayer well used, would be a marvellous soap, capable of making us all saints. We are not all saints, because we have not used this soap enough.
VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul I used the portable papal throne carried by 12 Vatican attendants [today] for the first time since becoming pontiff Aug. 25.
Vatican officials said John Paul decided to use the portable throne [called the Gestatorial Chair] Wednesday because of letters received by the Vatican saying those who attended the general audience last week were unable to see the pontiff.