Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Pope Francis speaks to Children and Community in Surprise Visit "It is the closeness of Jesus: He always comes near." Full Text

According to VaticanNews The Community was founded by Chiara Amirante in 1993 with the intention of assisting people in need and of taking action in areas of particular social hardship.
These areas include rehabilitation from substance abuse and various forms of addiction, shelter to street children and aid to young people in difficulty. The Community also assists prostituted women, and provides support for anyone who has been rejected, excluded, marginalized – sometimes by their own families.  

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Pope's words in response to questions and interventions that followed one another during the meeting

Pope Francis

Excuse me, but I don't want to be a professor. You know? At 83, I don't feel like standing for a long time. I got it? For the Mass it is enough ...

Here they sent me a folder with timetables, who spoke, then the testimonies, what you read, and the questions ... I thought that if I started to answer those questions, to those "why" or "how" or "what think "surely they would be words ... words, words, words ... Who was singing like that?" [they answer: Mina!] The great Mina! Words ... And I think it would be like dirtying the sacredness of what you said, because you didn't say words, you said lives: your lives. Stories. Paths. Researches, but research of flesh, spirit, the whole person. There are no explanations for this. Your stories are stories of looks, so many looks, so many looks, so many looks ... and they hit me. And - feel good - they were looks that did not fill life, one behind the other ... And at a certain moment, you felt a look - one - which was not like the others, it was only that: a look that looked at you with love. He looked at you with love. I also know that look. And when that gaze loved you, and made you feel that he loved you, he even took you by the hand, from the underworld - yes, Jesus' descent into hell -, he took you by the hand, and he didn't take you to a laboratory to put you in a still of purification, no, the artificial things the Lord does not want them. He told you: "Come with me". And then: "Go" ... The nostalgia of where you were, come back, go, come ... It's the journey of life. A look that took you by the hand and let you go, did not take away your freedom ...

This is the first reflection that comes to me from your stories.

And you, Jefferson, go and come back, go and come back, go and come back ... The way of the Lord is like that. I think of the stubbornness of the apostles, for example: they did not become perfect apostles, they made him pass bad things to Jesus ... But He had patience: a patient look, a patient look ... You, with your testimonies, you made me feeling that the gaze of the Lord is a patient gaze: always have patience. Waiting for you. Waiting for you. Always. He is the Lord of patience: he waits for you and never forces you to go on, no, respect ... Because he knows that with that first look he entered your heart, He knows that once you feel love you can't go back . And it leaves you, leaves you ...; he calls you again, but it is a very respectful look, very respectful ... And this I felt in your testimony, Elena: you looked at the mirror, but there was another thing you were looking for, and once you were felt watched so you finished the whole story. Or the story has begun! It is so. Then the story continued, because the Lord never, never, never teaches us to deny our past, no, and this is a grace. The Bible says that God created Adam from the mud: that mud is our pure history. We came from the mud, never forget it! This means being saved, because it is with love.

But I don't want to preach because it will be boring. These are the things that came to me before: the look in front of so many looks of life.

Then, another thing that struck me: the voices. You, Dario, heard it when you spoke: the many voices of life, the many voices ... Until the moment you heard THE voice, a special voice that ... is that. A voice that is like "a thread of sonorous silence", as the Bible explains it (see 1 Kings 19.12). "I heard a thread of sonorous silence": the prophet Elias hears this. It is a unique voice and so, silent and sonorous at the same time. And that voice has this voice: this is the song, this is the voice I am looking for, this is the voice that will give me fullness. The look, the looks. The voices, the voice ... It is a road, a path on which you have sought ... In so many we seek ... And then you have found, or, better said, you have been found. We have been found.

And then, a story of struggles. You, Mirko, are the champion! A collector of different struggles. Fighting. Many struggles until the last fight, the fight where we were won. It is the most beautiful defeat: that defeat is beautiful, when you hear it said ... one is able to say: Go ahead, you have won, congratulations, go!
They are voices, voices; looks, look; struggles, the final struggle, the defeat of the struggle. This is how our story with Jesus is, it always is. And it struck me so much that you all gave testimony of Jesus. Because you did not do a course of indoctrination, to learn steps to progress in life. Or one of these courses that entrepreneurs love: "how to win in life", or "how to win friends", or "how to take these steps", or "how to heal from neurosis" ... No. You have been called, looked at, won , caressed: the caress of Jesus. Jesus, here, teaches us a beautiful thing: that the only gesture, the only time in life in which one is fully human in looking at a person from top to bottom, is to help her rise. The only.

And Jesus ... [They applaud so much and don't let him speak again] ... This man is the poor Adam, there, who was waiting ... But Jesus also makes this gesture of dignity to help us: he lowers himself. This is the greatest thing of our God: a God who lowers himself. It lowers. It comes close. Jesus comes near. And this is beautiful ... As with the disciples of Emmaus ... But this is a sermon, like a cut, isn't it? Do I continue like this? You tell me ... No, really, if ... [they laugh]. I also talk about my experience like this, because I too have made a road - the Lord knows it - not to become Pope, to let myself be saved by the Lord ...

It is the closeness of Jesus: He always comes near. It is the great thing of our God: he is a near God. He already said it to Moses, to the Jews in Deuteronomy, the Book of the Bible: "But, tell me: which people have a God so close as you?" Our God is near. He is not a distant God, Jesus is not far away. He made himself Jesus to walk with us, to make this gesture: get up; to fill the heart, to look at each other with love, to speak to us with that voice that only He has, to win the battle of desires that are a bit confused that we cannot understand ...

I don't know, all these things came to my mind while you were talking, and I often looked at this, I watched a lot.

There is one thing that, when you have - excuse my Italian - when you have passed the "definitive threshold", let's say so, always definitive in quotation marks, because Jesus does not take away from us the freedom to go back, no, but, c 'is a definitive threshold. For you it was in Medjugorje, that is final, in the end ... You have the experience. Look: the signs of death, here: the knife, the nails, all the signs of the death of Jesus, fall. They are the ones who go to hell, I came out of it. But if each of us - after the look, after the call, after Jesus' victory - wants to bring one of these, he still lacks something. He still needs to get something out of his heart, which he has not fully opened. It brings a pain, it brings a resentment, it brings a nostalgia ... No, they must all fall, and they fall. And this is the sign: this is the sign that I have seen in all of you. I haven't seen it yet, but ... [applauding]. It is that smell, that ugly smell that remains, because I am not able to open the windows well and let the Holy Spirit come to clean everything. I bring something inside, that "but, though ...", the logic of the "but". "Yes, this yes, the Lord gave me so much, I found the Lord, I left ... but ...". What you're missing? "But". When the Lord looks at us, he speaks to us, he invites us, he wins, the "but" falls. If you want to have these signs, you want to walk on the logic of "but", yet you have not let the Lord enter.
The tendency to sin continues, this is true. The tendency to evil ... everyone, everyone too, everyone, no one is saved from this. However, when we have left everything, we know that only in Him is there hope. Instead, when you have not left, "yes, but ... I take this nail to help me, I take ...". And so, that's what Jesus says in the Gospel: when the unclean spirit goes out of a person and goes away, that person finds God, arranges the house, does everything again; then the unclean spirit returns after so long, and returns to the house and sees the house so beautiful, so beautiful, and goes to look for seven other spirits worse than him and returns with the clique, with the consortium of the devils ... but they do not destroy anything, the doorbell rings, they are polite demons !, the doorbell rings: "allowed?", and you open the door to them, but yes, they are good, these thoughts are good, these feelings are good ... And you begin to resume the signs of death, the signs of hell. Be careful because all of you - all of us, even me - this has happened. At a certain point you find yourself with the desire for omnipotence: do not let Him lift you up. "Yes, yes, thank you Lord, but I even manage this." Be careful, when these polite devils come back, these passions come back again. We think ... The apostle Peter makes me laugh: he was stubborn, this, he was stubborn. When the Lord confirms it, finally, already after the Resurrection, on the shore of Lake Tiberias, and asks him three times if he loves it, if he loves it, and he is a little afraid because he says: "three times you I have denied and you ask me three times ... ". But the Lord goes further and makes him feel at peace. And when he feels secure, what does he do? The gossip. "Ah, tell me, and what comes behind [the apostle John], what will happen to him?" Immediately he slips on something that is not the love of the Lord. It is that desire to command us life. And once one has felt that he is capable of guiding us well, that our freedom has not been taken away but seduced by love, we let him take this path.

These are the things that came to my mind while you were talking. As you can see I don't answer your questions because I don't know, I don't come, there are no explanations for a life, there are no ways to clarify. There is the mystery, the mystery of a God who took us from the underworld, the mystery of a God who came near, who looked at me, who loved me, who spoke to me, who overcame my resistance . And this is what I like to tell you ... You are a mystery. When I heard your testimonies, I felt in front of a mystery, the mystery of a person's encounter with Jesus. I can only respond by emphasizing the mystery, but not with words, no.

This is what I come to tell you.

Then there is another thing that ... in you I didn't hear it, but in the other three, yes. It is not a reproach: you miss ... I don't know, the time has not yet arrived ... but you have witnessed fertility. You talked about your children - three - you two, you showed your ... [they laugh] a good cachacinha will help you [laugh and applaud]. Love is always fruitful, always. "But, and you, who is a priest, who is a bishop?", You might ask me. "But you are a zitellone, you have no children ...". There is fecundity and fecundity. But love is always fruitful. Spiritually, physically, humanly. It is always fruitful. The fruitfulness of your testimony: your testimony is also a sowing, a sowing not the idea, the fact that God is love, that God loves us, that God is looking for us every moment, that God is beside us, that God takes us by the hand to save us. And this is the fruitfulness, ours, of us all, which I saw a little as a symbol in your children. But there is another fruitfulness of all of you, which is the one you sowed among us. Also the fruitfulness of the artists, who are two witnesses who gave us the message, not by speaking but by singing. Andrea is able to sing with his son, and sing not only with his son: sing about his son and tell us about his son, about his relationships with his son. This is fruitfulness. And then, the last song about love, is fruitfulness, even as you told us how you did it, as you discovered that piece of the first Letter to the Corinthians, which made the fruitfulness ... Life, if it is not fruitful, no use, no need. This is why the Lord, every time he looked at us, who spoke to us, who won in us, who caressed us, always tells us what he had said to Gerasa's possessed person: "Go to your people and tell them the wonders ". We are men and women of the Magnificat, that is the song of the Madonna, to go and tell that God looked at me, caressed me, spoke to me, won. And it's with me. He took my hand and took me out of hell.
I do not know. All this is what comes to me. I have not prepared answers, there are only your testimonies, here, what they gave me. But so I preferred to tell you what you did in me today, how I perceived you, and give testimony. Because you too have sown something in me today. Thanks.
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