This Advent, we are to convert ourselves and prepare the way of the Lord…
Pope Francis reminded the faithful in St. Peter’s Square of this during his Angelus address today at noon, while reflecting on today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew
, which tells of St. John the Baptist’s warning: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
While reflecting on the nature of this Kingdom, Francis noted, the condition is simple: “to make a change in our lives, that is, convert, convert ourselves every day, one step forward every day “
“[It] is to leave the convenient but misleading streets, the idols of this world: success at all costs, the power at the expense of the weak, the thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price, and instead, open the way for the Lord Who comes.”
The Lord, Francis clarified, does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness.
“With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it is God Himself Who has come to dwell among us, to free us from selfishness, sin and corruption, as these attitudes are of the devil.”
While highlighting that Christmas is a day of great joy, he stressed it is a primarily religious event for which spiritual preparation is needed.
“God comes to establish His dominion in our history, in the ‘today’ of every day of our lives; and where it is accepted with faith and humility, love, joy and peace flourish.”
“In this Advent season, let us be guided by the exhortation of John the Baptist: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (v. 3).”
Accordingly, Francis encouraged all faithful to “examine our conscience, watch our attitudes,” and “chase away these sinful attitudes,” which come from the devil.
Before reciting the midday prayer, the Pontiff prayed that the Virgin Mary “prepare the encounter with this always greater love, which is what Jesus brings.”
Pope Francis recalled that this Thursday, Dec. 8, marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, where, as tradition holds, the Pope annually goes to the Spanish steps, a popular shopping area of Rome, to venerate the Blessed Mother where she is positioned above an obelisk. Crowds await the Pope’s arrival. On this day, the Pope noted, we will “pray together, asking her maternal intercession for the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace.”
Pope Francis concluded, reminding those present to pray for him, have a good lunch, and saying, “See you Thursday!”
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