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Pope's Video Message to Avrai Charity Concert

“It is necessary to transform mercy into everyday life”

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Below is a ZENIT translation of the transcription of Pope Francis’ video message for the “Avrai” [“You will have”] Charity Concert held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Saturday evening. The event took place on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps and featured artist Claudio Baglioni. Proceeds were to aid two important projects: a pediatric hospital at Bangui in the Central African Republic, and the victims of the earthquake in Central Italy.
I am very happy with this initiative promoted by the Gendarmerie, and which has involved many institutions and individuals, each one with his own professionalism: the artists, the workers, the technicians, the operators … All “craftsmen of mercy” because, as I have said on other occasions, the works of mercy that find their inspirer in God and the subject of mercy itself, are molded by hands and hearts of men and women.
On delivering the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee, I recalled how the culture of mercy is formed in assiduous prayer and how, to overcome the temptation of words, of the theory on mercy, it is necessary to transform mercy into everyday life, a life that becomes participation and sharing.
Therefore, this evening widens the horizon of the Jubilee of Mercy by participating and sharing concrete situations of poverty and need: Bangui and the earthquake lands of Central Italy. All of you are participating concretely and generously this evening in the carrying out of two projects geared to the weakest and most frail — children — projects that will be visible signs of the Year of Mercy and that will bear the signature of so many of you.
Sometimes I am asked: “But you, Father, always talk about the poor and mercy.” Yes, I say, but it’s not a sickness. It’s simply the way in which God has revealed Himself. In fact, Christmas which is now almost upon us, reminds us of the way with which God entered the world: He was born of the Virgin Mary as all children, was wrapped in swaddling clothes, taken in arms and nursed. But not only that: He, His Mother and Joseph had to deal with the fact that there was no room for them at the inn.
And again: the Good News, the proclamation of the birth, was not given to kings and princes, but to shepherds, men not very well or badly considered, sinners, we could say. This is our God: not the altogether Other, but absolutely close. Therefore, to become craftsmen of charity and builders of mercy is like investing not in the stock market, but in Paradise, in the blessed life of Heaven, in the love of the Father.
Thank you all. Thank you in the name of the children of Bangui and of those of the earthquake areas. We cannot do great things, carry out great projects, but what we will do will have the signature of our passion for the Gospel.
Happy Christmas to all!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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