Special Christmas message of Pope Francis “fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for Holy Christmas and the New Year.”

Pope Francis shared Christmas greetings Monday with Vatican employees and their families - REUTERS
22/12/2014 03:

(Vatican Radio)  To care for their families, their spiritual and personal lives, their work, and to care for others:  that’s what Pope Francis urged Vatican employees in Christmas greetings Monday.  In an audience in the Paul VI hall inside the Vatican, Pope Francis said he did not wish to let his second Christmas in Rome pass by without meeting the people who work in the curia:  “without meeting the people who work without being seen and who ironically call themselves ‘the unknown,’ the ‘invisible:’ the gardeners, the cleaners, the ushers, the office heads, the lift operators, the minute takers.”
Having just come from offering Christmas wishes to the heads of the curia offices, Pope Francis invited the Vatican’s other employees to “meditate” on his earlier discourse and to make a “fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for Holy Christmas and the New Year.”
He thanked the lay and religious for their service, particularly Italians, who make up the majority of Vatican employees.  He also thanked the many employees from other nations who work “generously in the curia, far from their own countries and their families,” and thus represent the Church’s “Catholicity.”
Citing St. Paul, Pope Francis alluded to the Body of Christ, which needs all of its various parts to make a functioning whole, and where “each member cares for the other.”
“Care,” or “healing,” in fact, were the words Pope Francis chose as the main themes of his encounter with Vatican employees, reminding them of the need to:
Care for their spiritual life: the “backbone of all that we do and all that we are;”
Care for their family life - giving their children more than money: their time, attention and love;
Care for their relations with others – especially the weakest and those most in need;
Care in their language- purifying it from offensive words;
Heal the wounds of the heart through forgiveness;
Care for their work – carrying it out with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and gratitude to the Lord;
Heal from envy, hatred and negative feelings which “devour our interior peace” and transform us into destructive people;
Heal from rancor “which brings vindictiveness” and from laziness which brings “existential euthanasia;”  And here, the Pope urged employees to refrain from “pointing the finger” at others, from “continuously complaining” and from  malicious gossiping.  Rather, he said, “ask the Lord for the wisdom to bite your tongue in time” so as to not say something hurtful that will leave a bitter aftertaste;
Care for Holy Christmas – so that it never becomes a feast of commercial consumerism but a feast of joy in welcoming the Lord;
The spirit of true Christmas is emulating Christ – who came to serve, not to be served, the Pope added, reminding employees that they should not be afraid of humility and tenderness towards others. Peace, too, he said, needs enthusiasm and care.
Concluding, the Pope departed from his prepared remarks to ask forgiveness for his shortcomings and those of his collaborators, “and for some scandals, that are very hurtful.  Forgive me.  Merry Christmas and please, pray for me!”

(Tracey McClure)