Pope Francis says "I want to tell you: your prayer for peace, even if it doesn't seem like it, God hears it..." FULL TEXT + Video

The Pope John XXIII Community Association on Saturday, an intuition of Fr. Oreste Benzi, the Italian-born priest who founded the community in 1968 to assist people on the margins of society. Members of the community—an international association of the faithful of pontifical right—strive to share their lives with the poor and oppressed, living with them 24 hours a day. (Vatican News)
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Dear boys and girls,
dear boys and girls,
brothers and sisters, good morning!
Thanks for coming! Thanks to the General Manager, who gave a voice to all of you present here, and also to those who were unable to come but are there with their hearts. I especially thank those of you who wrote me their stories, and also some questions.
Today's meeting is special, because it is you little ones who represent the great family of the Pope John XXIII Community. And for this we have to thank the Lord and then Don Oreste Benzi, who gave life to this beautiful reality. Do you agree? All right. Then, all together we can say: "Thank you Don Oreste!". Again: "Thank you Don Oreste!".
And then there is another important aspect, which struck me in the presentations you sent me some time ago: the fact that you children and teenagers are all presented each with their own name. This is how it pleases God, who knows each of us by name. We are not anonymous, we are not photocopies, we are all original! And so we must be: originals, not photocopies, said Blessed Carlo Acutis, a boy like you. God knows us one by one, with our name and our face, which is unique. Of course, we also have our limits; some of us unfortunately have heavy limitations to carry. But this does not detract from the value of a person: everyone is unique, they are sons or daughters of God, everyone is a brother or sister of Jesus, but unique.
A Christian community that welcomes people as they are helps to see them as God sees them. And how does God see us? With the look of love. God also sees our limits, it is true, and he helps us to bear them; but God looks above all at the heart, and he sees every person in his fullness. God sees us in the image of Jesus, his Son, and with his love he helps us to resemble him more and more. Jesus is the perfect man, we know it, he is the fullness of humanity, and God's love us it makes you grow towards this complete measure, towards fullness. We know that we will reach it in heaven, but already in this life love makes us mature in this way. It's a bit like the seed that sprouts and grows in the field with the help of rain and sun, develops and becomes, for example, a beautiful ear of wheat.
And, you know, there are signs that make it clear when a person is welcomed with love, when a boy, a girl, a boy, a girl, but also a grown-up person of any age is looked at with God's gaze, is welcomed with love. What are these signs? There are several, but I choose one: the smile. I saw that you too have said it more than once when you tell your stories: "That boy or girl has problems, but he is always smiling...". How come? Because she feels loved, loved, she feels welcomed, welcomed, just as she is. When a newborn baby is in his mother's arms, who looks at him and smiles at him, she begins to smile. A smile is a flower that blossoms in the warmth of love.
Dear children and young people, in your stories, and also in your questions, an experience stands out that many of you have in common: the experience of the family home. Today, here with you, I want to underline that the "family homes" were born from the mind and heart of Don Oreste Benzi. He was a priest who looked at boys and young people with the eyes of Jesus, with the heart of Jesus. And being close to those who misbehaved, who were disbanded, he understood that they lacked the love of a father and of a mother, the affection of brothers. Then Don Oreste, with the power of the Holy Spirit and the involvement of people to whom God gave this vocation, began the experience of full-time hospitality, of sharing life; and from there what he called “family home” was born. An experience that has multiplied, in Italy and in other countries, and which is characterized by the welcome into the home of people who truly become their own children regenerated by Christian love. A father and mother who open their doors to give a family to those who don't have one. A real family; not a job, but a lifestyle choice. There is room for everyone in it: minors, people with disabilities, the elderly, Italians or foreigners, and anyone looking for a fixed point from which to start again or a family to meet again. The family is the place to take care of everyone, both welcomed and welcoming people, because it is the answer to the innate need for relationships that every person has.
And now, dear friends, I would like to address some of you personally. I greet Francesco, aged six, who was unable to come today, and I pray for his mother who is ill. I greet Biagio, 14 years old: he too was unable to come, and I send him a blessing.
And you, Sara, who are 13 years old and escaped from Iraq, keep in your heart your holy desire that children not have their childhood stolen: God will help you to make it happen! You who would like to see the grandmother who went to heaven, talk to her in your heart and follow her good examples of her, and one day you will see her again. You who, like so many teenagers, find it hard to perceive the beauty of the Mass, fear not: at the right moment, the living Jesus will make you feel his presence. Thank you, little friend, for remembering the innocents who are killed in the womb. And heartfelt thanks to you, children and young people, who meet online every Sunday to pray the Rosary. I want to tell you: your prayer for peace, even if it doesn't seem like it, God hears it; and we believe that God gives peace, immediately, today! God gives it to us, but it is up to us to welcome it, in our hearts and in our lives. Rest assured that God hears your prayer, and move forward!
Dear ones, thank you all! May the Lord bless the Pope John XXIII Community and may Our Lady always keep it in faith, hope and love. I bless you from the bottom of my heart. And I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you!
Source: Vatican.va - Screenshot