Pope Francis explains "Let us always remember this, especially in dark moments: God never abandons us, because he cannot stop being a father."

Paul VI Hall
Saturday, May 14, 2022

Dear brothers and sisters,
welcome! I greet the Pious Filipino Sisters, Mother General and all of you, faithful of the dioceses of Viterbo and Civitavecchia-Tarquinia, accompanied by their respective Bishops and your priests. A cordial greeting also to the Mayors and other Authorities present here. And to you, boys of the First Communion!
I take part in your joy for the 350th anniversary of the birth of Saint Lucia Filippini. This Jubilee Year is a precious time for each of you: it is like going back to the sources to draw new energies for the future; but it is also an opportunity to thank the Lord and also ask him to be channels of that same grace that Saint Lucia welcomed and generously distributed to so many people. I would like to share two brief thoughts with you: one more directly addressed to the Institute of the Filipino Pious Masters; the other for all of you, devotees of Saint Lucia.
Dear Pious Maestre, your mission is demanding already starting from the name, Maestre. Master is the one who teaches. However, a proverb says that we do not teach what we know, but what we are. To others we pass on what we are inside. It is not enough to fill your head with ideas, this is not to educate; to educate is to transmit life. And to be a teacher is to live a mission. On the other hand, if we make good speeches, but life goes in another direction, we risk being just actors who play a part, but not educators.
The example of your Foundress can help you to live this mission. Saint Lucia is usually represented with the Crucifix in her hand or in the act of pointing it out. She knew how to teach many, first of all because she herself did not stop being a disciple of Jesus Master and standing in front of her chair, that is, the cross. She held God who gives life before her eyes and she felt called to make life a gift. She thus she transmitted to others what she kept in her heart: not sermons, not theories, but contents and life, contents of life. Her educational mission was not another thing compared to her mystical experience.
Dear Sisters, all this reminds us that you cannot be satisfied with “teaching” Jesus; Jesus first of all testifies to himself. This is how faith is transmitted. God communicates himself only if he lives in our life, if he fills our affections, if he unites our thoughts and inspires our actions. And what is the proof of this? Our openness to others: whoever knows the Lord does not shut himself up in the sacristy, but he lives to serve, without worrying about where or what he is asked to do. Live service, because service is the great teaching of the Master, who came to serve and not to be served (cf. Mk 10:45).
We often talk about the difficulties of religious life, the lack of vocations and so on. I would like to give you some advice, which does not represent the immediate solution of these problems, but the main way to face them: we are not called above all to "put Jesus at the center, as if we were the protagonists; we are called first of all to remove ourselves from the center, which belongs to him. To live consecration as a call to service. This is what allows Jesus to work in us as he wants and to teach us to overcome resignation and nostalgia, to read our complex age, to courageously take new paths in step with the times. It will do you good to remember the image of Saint Lucia with the Crucifix in her hand: not to us, but to Him belongs the center; and we will be good teachers if we remain disciples, called every day to serve, with joy!
A second thought, addressed to all of you who celebrate Saint Lucia Filippini. This woman had a secret: she lived with a constant trust in God, because He - she said - «she cannot give up being my father». I would like to repeat these words to you: he cannot stop being my father. Often, in life, we worry because we have to leave behind many things: some securities, the years of our youth, a little health, maybe loved ones, and so on ... Well, if in life there are people and things that sooner or later need to be to leave, there is a presence that will never leave us, a fundamental certainty that will always accompany us and that nothing and no one will ever be able to erase: God cannot stop being my father. This is beautiful! Do we all repeat it together? God cannot stop being my father. Another time, stronger: God cannot stop being my father. Carry this thought in your heart. Everything can fail, but not the tenderness of God. Let us always remember this, especially in dark moments: God never abandons us, because he cannot stop being a father. We repeat together: God cannot stop being my father.
We cherish this good news in our hearts, which fosters trust. I wish you to be able to announce it to those you meet, to rekindle hope in them too. There is so much need today; it is a mission that concerns each of us. Good mission, then: I give all of you my blessing and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thanks!