Pope at Audience

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‘Today, the Lord Invites Us to Make a Serious Examination of Conscience’

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Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address during his eighth Jubilee Audience that was held at 10 o’clock this morning in Saint Peter’s Square, a meeting that Francis decided to hold for pilgrims and faithful coming to Rome for the Jubilee of Mercy.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
How many times, during these first months of the Jubilee, we have heard talk of the works of mercy! Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience. In fact, it is good never to forget that mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life: a person can be merciful or not merciful; it’s a style of life. I choose to be merciful or I choose not to be merciful. It is one thing to speak of mercy and another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of Saint James the Apostle, (cf. 2:14-17), we can say: mercy without works is dead in itself. It is in fact like this! What renders mercy alive is its constant dynamism in going to meet the needs and necessities of all those in spiritual and material hardship. Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to resolve …
Daily life enables us to touch with our hand so many needs regarding the poorest and most tested persons. Requested of us is that particular attention that leads us to be aware of the state of suffering and need in which so many brothers and sisters are. Sometimes we pass before dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us; everything continues as if there were nothing, in an indifference that in the end renders us hypocrites and, without realizing it, it results in a form of spiritual lethargy, which renders our mind insensitive and our life sterile. People that pass by, who go forward in life without being aware of the needs of others, without seeing the many spiritual and material needs, are people that pass by without living, people that do not serve others. Remember <this> well: he who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.
How many aspects there are of God’s mercy to us! In the same way, how many faces turn to us to obtain mercy. One who has experienced the Father’s mercy in his own life cannot remain insensitive in face of the needs of brothers. The teaching of Jesus, which we just heard, does not allow ways out: I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was naked, a refugee, sick, in prison and you assisted me (cf. Matthew 25:35-36). One cannot beat about the bush in face of a person who is hungry: he must be given to eat. Jesus says this to us! The works of mercy are not theoretical subjects, but concrete testimonies. They oblige one to rollup one’s sleeves to alleviate suffering.
Because of the changes of our globalized world, some material and spiritual poverties have multiplied: hence let us make room for the imagination of charity to identify new operative ways. Thus the way of mercy will become ever more concrete. Requested of us, therefore, is to remain vigilant as watchmen, so that it will not happen that, in face of the poverties produced by the culture of wellbeing, the eyes of Christians are weakened and become incapable of looking at the essential. What does it mean to look at the essential? To look at Jesus, to look at Jesus in the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick, the naked, in the one who has no work and must lead his family forward. To look at Jesus in these brothers and sisters of ours; to look at Jesus in one who is alone, sasd, in one who errs and is in need of counsel, in one who needs to walk with Him in silence, to feel he is in company. These are the works that Jesus asks of us! To look at Jesus in them, in these people. Why? Because that is how Jesus looks at me, <how He> looks at all of us.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT] * * *
Now we pass to something else. In past days the Lord granted me to visit Armenia, the first nation to have embraced Christianity, at the beginning of the 4th century — a people that, in the course of its long history, has witnessed the Christian faith with martyrdom. I thank God for this trip and I am truly grateful to the President of the Armenian Republic, to the Catholicos Karekin II, to the Catholic Patriarch and Bishops, and to the whole Armenian people for having welcomed me as pilgrim of fraternity and of peace.
In three months, I will undertake, God willing, another trip — to Georgia and Azerbaijan, two other countries of the Caucasus region. I accepted the invitation to visit these countries for a twofold reason: on one hand to appreciate the ancient Christian roots present in those lands – always in a spirit of dialogue with the other religions and cultures – and, on the other, to encourage hopes and paths of peace. History teaches us that the path of peace requires great tenacity and continuous steps, beginning with small ones and, little by little, making them grow, one going to encounter the other. In fact because of this my wish is that each and all may make their contribution to reconciliation.
As Christians, we are called to reinforce fraternal communion among ourselves, to render witness to Christ’s Gospel and to be leaven of a more just and solidaristic society. Therefore, the whole visit was shared with the Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who hosted me fraternally in his home for three days.
I renew my embrace to the Bishops, to the priests, to the women and men religious and to all the faithful in Armenia. May the Virgin Mary, our Mother, help them to remain firm in the faith, open to encounter and generous in works of mercy. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT] Greeting in Italian
A warm welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims!
I am happy to receive the participants in the General Chapter of the Rogationist Fathers and of the Daughters of Divine Zeal; of the Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate and of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: I exhort you to update in today’s society the respective foundation charisms so that the men and women of our time are able to find in your life a concrete trace of God’s mercy.
I greet the women religious of USMI of Milan and the faithful of Acquapendente with their Bishop of Viterbo, Monsignor Lino Fumagalli, with the effigy of Our Lady of the Flower, which I had the pleasure to bless today. A special greeting goes to the Association of Work Consultants, that today begin their 7th “Festival of Work,” and I encourage them to promote the culture of work, which ensures a person’s dignity and the common good of society, beginning from its cell, the family. It is precisely the family, in fact, that suffers most from the consequences of bad work: bad because of its scarcity and its precariousness. You, work consultant, do not have a welfare task but a promotional one, so that in the national and European ambit the economic institutions and actors can pursue, in a concerted way, the objective of full and fitting occupation, because work gives dignity!.
Finally, my greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Memoria of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome and we pray for all those that still pay a high price for their membership in the Church of Christ. Dear young people, may faith have room and give meaning to you life; dear sick, offer your suffering so that the estranged may find the love of Christ; dear newlyweds, be educators of life and models of faith for your children.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

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