IN LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
MEETING WITH THE ASSISTANTS OF THE WORKS OF CHARITY OF THE CHURCH
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Tallinn (Estonia)
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Dear brothers and sisters!
Thank you for welcoming me this afternoon in your home. It is important for me to make this visit and be able to stay here among you. Thank you for your testimony and for sharing with us all that you carry in your heart.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Marina, and your husband, for the beautiful testimony you have given us. You have been blessed with nine children, with all the sacrifice this means, as you pointed out to us. Where there are children and young people, there is a lot of sacrifice, but above all there is the future, joy and hope. This is why it is comforting to hear you say: "We give thanks to the Lord for the communion and love that reigns in our house". In this land, where the winters are hard, you do not miss the most important heat, that of the house, the one that comes from being in the family. With discussions and problems? Yes, it's normal, but with the desire to move forward together. They are not beautiful words, but a clear example.
And thank you for sharing the testimony of these sisters who were not afraid to go out and go where you were to be a sign of the closeness and the outstretched hand of our God. You said that they were like angels who came to visit you. It's like this: they are angels.
When faith is not afraid to leave comforts, to get involved and have the courage to go out, it manages to manifest the most beautiful words of the Master: "That you love one another; as I have loved you "(Jn 13:34). Love that breaks the chains that isolate us and separate us, throwing bridges; love that allows us to build a large family in which we can all feel at home, as in this house. Love that tastes of compassion and dignity. And this is beautiful. [Look at Marina's nine children sitting on a single bench and counting them] One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Beautiful family! Beautiful family!
Missionary faith goes like these sisters through the streets of our cities, our neighborhoods, our communities, saying with very concrete gestures: you belong to our family, to the great family of God in which we all have a place. Do not stay out. And you, sisters, do this! Thank you.
I think this is the miracle you told us, Vladimir. You have found sisters and brothers who have offered you the opportunity to awaken the heart and see that, at all times, the Lord was trying tirelessly to dress you up (see Lk 15.22) and to celebrate the fact that each of us is the his favorite son. The greatest joy of the Lord is to see ourselves born again, which is why he never tires of giving us a new opportunity. For this reason, the bonds are important, to feel that we belong to each other, that every life is worth, and that we are willing to spend it for this.
I would like to invite you to continue creating links. To go out in the neighborhoods to say to many: you too are part of our family. Jesus called the disciples, and he still calls each of you, dear brothers, to continue sowing and transmitting his Kingdom. He counts on your history, on your life, on your hands to travel the city and share the same reality that you have experienced. Today, can Jesus rely on you? Each of you answers.
Thank you for the time you gave me. And now I would like to give you the blessing, so that the Lord can continue to work miracles through your hands. And please, I need help too; Please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!