Pope Francis: 'Faith Moves Mountains'

Tells Lay Faithful That Presence of God Brings Joy

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As Christmas Day is right around the corner, Pope Francis is affirming that faith can truly «move mountains.»

Speaking to nearly 8,000 members and associates of the Pope Saint John XXIII Community on Saturday in the Vatican, the Pope reminded them that when there is faith, disinterest and misery can be combatted.

The community, which now is recognized as an association of lay faithful, was founded by Father Oreste Benzi of the Italian Diocese of Rimini in 1968. It has been instrumental in reaching out to young people, welcoming them back into the Church and encouraging them to live Christ-like lives. In addition, its works seek to help the disabled and marginalized.

Present now in 34 countries, the foundation officially became an association of the faithful of pontifical right in 1998.

The presence of the Lord, the Pope told those gathered, enables us to do good works,to experience an «intimate joy,» and «to even radiate it on those who are close to us.»

Reflecting on testimonies which had been given by those present, on slavery and exploitation of others, the Pope praised their foundation’s generosity in helping individuals recover from «material and moral degradation.»  

Noting the reflections highlight many forms of poverty which hurt our world, the Holy Father said they also reveal the «most dangerous type of misery:» that which happens when we distance ourselves from God and presume we are able to do things without him.

It especially occurs, the Pope warned, when people focus on seeking material wealth, power and pleasure, and «are willing to enslave the lives of others to achieve these objectives.» 

Recognizing our human vulnerabilities, but knowing God is with us, the Pope said, makes us realize we can do good deeds and brighten the lives of those around us.

«The Lord’s presence widens horizons, heals thoughts and emotions, and gives us the necessary strength to surmount difficulties and trials,» Francis noted.

«Faith,» he said, not only «opens the door of charity making us want to imitate Jesus,» but «encourages us to good,» and makes us courageously act on the example of the Good Samaritan.

The Holy Father concluded, saying, «I entrust you all to Our Lady, may she grant you a Christmas full of love and joy, and I bless you from my heart.»


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-address-to-pope-john-xxiii-community-association

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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