On Friday, before the Pope’s trip to the Caucasus, he sent a video message to the people of Argentina.
Here is a ZENIT translation:
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Dear Brothers and Sisters: In this year in which we are still breathing the atmosphere of the Bicentenary’s celebrations, two events are happening that make our history, two events that are very important and very strong, and which I value very much: one is the beatification of Mama Antula, a woman who helped to consolidate the heartland of Argentina, and the other is the forthcoming Canonization of Father Bochero, that gaucho priest who had compassion for his beloved highlanders and fought for their dignity.
It goes beyond saying that I would have liked to go to Argentina to beatify Mama Antula and to canonize Father Bochero, but I cannot do so, it is not possible. You have no idea how much I would like to see you again. And I will not be able to do so next year either, because commitments are already in place for Asia, Africa, and the world is greater than Argentina, and well, one has to divide oneself. I leave it in the Lord’s hands, that He show me the date. But taking these events into account and taking into account that I will not be able to go next year either, I opted to communicate with you in this way.
For me, the Argentine people are my people; you are important; I continue to be Argentine, I sill travel with an Argentine passport. I am convinced that, as people, you are the greatest treasure our homeland has. When I receive letters from you, so many that I cannot answer them all, certainly one or another to make myself present, I console myself, it gives me joy and it leads me to pray, and I pray for you at Mass, for your needs, for each one of you. It is my love for the homeland that leads me to this, and it is also what leads me to ask you, once again, to shoulder your homeland, that homeland that needs each one of us to give it the best of ourselves, to improve, grow, mature. And this will make us achieve that culture of encounter that surmounts all these cultures of rejection, which today are offered in the world everywhere. A culture of encounter where each one has his place, where everyone can live with dignity and where each one can express himself peacefully without being insulted or condemned, or attacked or rejected — a culture of encounter that we must all seek with prayer and good will.
My attention is caught by the fact that Argentina is praised for its geography, its richness. We have everything: mountains, forests, plains, coasts, all mining riches. We have everything. What a rich country! However, the greatest wealth our homeland has is the people, people who are able to be solidaristic, who are able to walk next to one another, who are able to help one another, respect each other; people who do not get dizzy, who are able to find wisdom and when one gets dizzy, others help him to free him from this dizziness. I respect the Argentine people, I love them, I carry them in my heart; they are the greatest wealth of our homeland. And although we cannot shake hands, count on my remembrance and my prayer, so that the Lord will make you grow as a people. A people that come together, work united and seek the greatness of the homeland, that homeland that is ours, that is not of others, that is ours. Thank you for all the good you do each day. May the Lord bless you.
We are in the Year of Mercy, as farewell from this chat, from this monologue but which wishes to be a chat, I dare to propose to you, as the teachers of yore, homework. I propose that in this Year of Mercy you do a work of mercy every day or every two days if you cannot do so every day; and do not get impatient if I read them to you to remind you. There are the works of corporal and spiritual mercy. In the main, take the list that the Lord makes in the Beatitudes, in Matthew 25, in the whole Gospel. They are concrete works of mercy that if each one of us does one a day or one every two days, what good, what good we will do our people!
Visit a sick person; to visit the sick is a work of mercy. Feed the hungry; there are people who are hungry. Give drink to the thirsty; sometimes they have material and spiritual thirst. Give lodging to the pilgrim, namely, give a place to him who has no home, who has no roof. Clothe the naked, that is, clothe people so that they do not suffer cold in winter.
Visit prisoners – the Church insists so much on this. And bury the dead. These are the seven works of corporal mercy. And there are seven others that are spiritual:
Teach the ignorant. Give good advice to one who needs it. Correct the one in error. Forgive the one who offends us. How difficult it is to forgive! All of us, in the world today, need to forgive much and to be forgiven. Console the one who is sad. Suffer with patience your neighbor’s defects. There are people who sometimes make us lose patience; suffer their defects with patience; it is a work of mercy. And pray to God for the living and the dead.
I don’t know, dear brothers, dear fellow countrymen, I feel at home speaking to you, I am close to you on this occasion, when the air is still breathed of the Bicentenary’s celebrations and where the two events exist of the Canonization of Father Bochero and the Beatification of Mama Antula — two persons, a man and a woman, who worked for the homeland and for evangelization. So in the midst of all this, I greet you, I give you my affection and say to you – it seems somewhat strange, but I stretch time as an elastic – see you soon, and do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]
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