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The Francis Chronicles

No prize, not for sale: God's grace is free, loving embrace, pope says

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God's grace isn't "merchandise" that people can hoard or exploit for themselves; it is a free and loving embrace from God, Pope Francis said.

"The Lord is not a merchant," giving his grace as an object in exchange for something, the pope said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

God loves us freely like a mother loves her child -- the child "lets himself be loved," and this is the grace of God, he said, according to Vatican Radio.

Spend time in silence and service before Christmas, pope suggests

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In the heart of Rome's high-end shopping district, sparkling with Christmas lights and shiny baubles in the windows of famous designers, Pope Francis prayed that people would spend time in silence and in service as they prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.

Celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, Pope Francis prayed for Mary's intercession so that, "in us, your children, grace also will prevail over pride, and we can become merciful like our heavenly Father is merciful."

'Everyday saints' build their faith on the rock of Christ, pope says

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"Everyday saints" are those for whom faith is not just about appearances, who do not go around strutting like peacocks, but who live God's love even in the midst of struggle, Pope Francis said.

Those who are only "apparent Christians," who put on the faith as if it were makeup, will see that with the first rain the facade will be washed away, the pope said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

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