Continuing his series of Wednesday addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis reflected on charity and hope in his March 15 general audience.

“Today we consider the joy that hope brings to our daily exercise of charity,” the Pope said to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “We know how difficult it is to love as our Lord commands us, and how often our love can be tainted by self-interest. It is important to remember that love—charity—is a grace, the fruit of our saving encounter with God’s own love.”

“Saint Paul reminds us that the Lord’s grace forgives our sins, heals our hearts and enables us to become channels of his own unconditional love,” he continued. “Our efforts to love our brothers and sisters with a pure and disinterested love are really our response to the love we have been shown in Christ.”

Pope Francis added:

Conscious of our human weakness, let us ask our Lord daily to renew the gift of his love within us and to enable us to be witnesses of that love to others, especially those in greatest need. In this way, we will fulfill the Apostle’s command to “rejoice in hope” (Rom. 12:12), as we strive to grow in the life of charity and to draw others to the merciful love of the Father.