Pope Francis is calling on Vatican employees to examine which areas of their lives need healing.
Expressing his heartfelt thanks to each and best wishes for Christmas, the Pope addressed the employees today.
He encouraged them to do an examination of conscience, in preparation for Christmas and the New Year, and urged them to draw close to the Sacrament of Confession, “to receive the mercy of the Lord who knocks at the door of our hearts.”
He noted he didn’t want to pass his second Christmas in Rome without meeting the people who work in the Vatican; without meeting the people who work without being seen and who are called ironically “the unknown, the invisible”: the gardeners, the custodians, the ushers, the elevator operators, etc.
“Thanks to your daily work and your thoughtful effort, the Curia is expressed as a living body,” and, in a way, as “a real rich mosaic of different fragments, necessary and complementary.”
Recalling St. Paul saying that in the Body of Christ, “the eye cannot say to the hand:’I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you,'” he noted, “this shows that all parts of the Body of the Curia are needed for it to be living and dynamic.”
From this, he asked them make this Christmas a real opportunity to “cure” every wound.
He then encouraged them to examine nine areas.
“Care for your spiritual life, your relationship with God,” he said was the first, because “this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”
“A Christian who is not nourished by prayer, the sacraments and the Word of God, inevitably fades and withers,” he added.
Second, care for your family life, “giving to your children and your loved ones not only money, but above all time, attention and love.”
Third, heal your relationships with others, transforming faith in life and words into good works, especially for those most in need.
The fourth suggestion of the Pope was to watch how you speak. He stressed the importance of “purifying the language from the offensive words, vulgarity and phraseology of worldly decadence.”
The fifth requires “healing the wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness,” which means forgiving people who have hurt us and medicating wounds we have caused in others.
The sixth exhortation relates to work, he said, which involves doing it “with enthusiasm, humility, skill, passion, and with a soul that knows how to thank the Lord.”
The seventh appeal was to avoid envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings “that devour our inner peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”
Eighth, he continued, requires the faithful to let go of “the bitterness that brings us to revenge,” “the laziness that leads to euthanasia,” “the finger-pointing that leads to pride,” and “the complaining that constantly leads us to despair.”
He added: “I know that a few times, to keep your job, you quarrel with someone, to defend yourselves. I understand these situations, but the road does not end well.”
“Rather,” he suggested, “ask the Lord for wisdom to bite one’s tongue” and “not to say insulting words that afterward leave your mouth bitter.”
Ninth, he stressed, is to reach out to the weak, elderly, sick, hungry, homeless and foreigners. For this will determine how we will be judged.
In addition, he called on them to never treat Christmas as “a celebration of consumerism” and useless, extravagant gift-giving, but rather as the “festival of joy to welcome the Lord in the crib and heart.”
Acknowledging he had spoken of various areas on which to reflect carefully, the Holy Father called on the Vatican employees to ponder which area they need to address the most.
Here, he stressed taking care of the family, as, “The family is a treasure. Children are a treasure.”
He said young parents should never be too busy to find time to play with their children, for such playing is such a beautiful moment, and helps “sow the future.”
“Imagine how it would change our world if everyone started immediately, and here, to heal and treat generously their relationship with God and with others,” he said.
“Think of all the good,” he said, “if we looked at each other, especially the most needy, with eyes of goodness and tenderness, as God looks at us, waiting for us and forgiving us; if we found humility, our strength, and our treasure!”
Gestures of tenderness, he noted, “can warm the icy heart, to encourage the disheartened souls and brighten dull eyes with the light of Jesus’ face!”
“With this peace in my heart I would like to greet you and all your family,” he said, “I want to say thank you to them and give a hug, especially your children and especially smaller ones!”