Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Pope Francis says "At this moment, I would like to address all the sick who have the virus and who suffer..." Full Text at Audience

GENERAL Audience of Pope Francis from the Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's audience we continue to meditate on the luminous path of happiness that the Lord has given us in the Beatitudes, and we come to the fourth: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice because they will be satisfied" (Mt 5,6).

We have already encountered poverty in spirit and weeping; now we are confronted with another type of weakness, that connected with hunger and thirst. Hunger and thirst are primary needs, they concern survival. This must be underlined: here it is not a question of a generic desire, but of a vital and daily need, such as nourishment.

But what does it mean to be hungry and thirsty for justice? We are certainly not talking about those who want revenge, on the contrary, in the previous bliss we spoke of mildness. Certainly injustices hurt humanity; human society urgently needs equity, truth and social justice; let us remember that the evil suffered by the women and men of the world reaches the heart of God the Father. Which father would not suffer from the pain of his children?

The scriptures speak of the pain of the poor and oppressed that God knows and shares. For having listened to the cry of oppression raised by the children of Israel - as the book of Exodus tells (cf. 3: 7-10) - God has come down to free his people. But the hunger and thirst for justice the Lord speaks to us is even more profound than the legitimate need for human justice that every man carries in his heart.

In the same "mountain discourse", a little further on, Jesus speaks of a justice greater than human right or personal perfection, saying: "If your justice does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5.20). And this is the justice that comes from God (cf. 1 Cor 1.30).

In the Scriptures we find a deeper thirst than the physical thirst, which is a desire placed at the root of our being. A Psalm says: "O God, you are my God, at dawn I seek you, my soul is thirsty for you, my flesh yearns for you, as a deserted, arid land, without water" (Ps 63, 2). The Fathers of the Church speak of this restlessness that lives in the heart of man. Saint Augustine says: "You made us for yourself, Lord, and our heart does not find peace until it rests in you". [1] There is an inner thirst, an inner hunger, an uneasiness ...

In every heart, even in the most corrupt and distant from the good, there is a yearning for the light, even if it is under rubble of deception and errors, but there is always the thirst for truth and good, which is the thirst for God. It is the Holy Spirit that arouses this thirst: He is the living water that has shaped our dust, He is the creative breath that gave it life.

For this reason the Church is sent to proclaim the Word of God to everyone, imbued with the Holy Spirit. Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest justice that can be offered to the heart of humanity, which has a vital need for it, even if it does not realize it. [2]

For example, when a man and a woman get married they intend to do something great and beautiful, and if they keep this thirst alive they will always find the way to go forward, in the midst of problems, with the help of Grace. Even young people are hungry, and they must not lose it! We must protect and nourish in the hearts of children that desire for love, for tenderness, for welcome which they express in their sincere and luminous impulses.

Each person is called to rediscover what really matters, what he really needs, what makes life well and, at the same time, what is secondary, and what can be done without.

Jesus announces in this bliss - hunger and thirst for justice - that there is a thirst that will not be disappointed; a thirst that, if satisfied, will be satisfied and will always be successful, because it corresponds to the very heart of God, to his Holy Spirit who is love, and also to the seed that the Holy Spirit has sown in our hearts. May the Lord give us this grace: to have this thirst for justice which is precisely the desire to find him, to see God and to do good to others.

[1] Confessions, 1.1.5.
[2] Cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2017: "The grace of the Holy Spirit confers on us the righteousness of God. By uniting us through faith and Baptism with the passion and resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us partakers of his life".
At this moment, I would like to address all the sick who have the virus and who suffer from the disease, and to the many who suffer uncertainties about their diseases. I sincerely thank the hospital staff, the doctors, the nurses and the nurses, the volunteers who in this very difficult moment are beside the suffering people. I thank all Christians, all men and women of good will who pray for this moment, all united, whatever the religious tradition to which they belong. Thank you very much for this effort. But I would not want this pain, this very strong epidemic to make us forget the poor Syrians, who have been suffering on the border between Greece and Turkey: a people suffering for years. They must escape from war, from hunger, from disease. Let's not forget the brothers and sisters, many children, who are suffering there.

I affectionately greet you, dear Italian-speaking brothers and sisters. I encourage you to face every situation, even the most difficult, with fortitude, responsibility and hope.

I would also like to thank the parish of the “Due Palazzi” prison in Padua: thank you very much. Yesterday I received the draft of the Via Crucis, which you did for the next Good Friday. Thank you for all working together, the whole prison community. Thanks for the depth of your meditations.

I now address a special greeting to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. May you live this Lenten season with your gaze fixed on Jesus who has suffered and risen, receiving consolation and meekness from his Spirit.
Full Text + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation

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