Angelus, January 29th 2017 / © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Angelus Address: On the Beatitudes

“Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven”

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Present at the Angelus today, among others, were the youngsters of Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome (CAR)  who, with the “Caravan of Peace” concluded the month of January, traditionally dedicated by them to the theme of peace. At the end of the Angelus prayer, two children, a boy and a girl, invited to the Papal Apartment, read a message in the name of CAR of Rome.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s liturgy has us meditate on the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:1-12a), which open the great address called “of the mountain,” the Magna Carta” of the New Testament. Jesus manifests God’s will to lead men to happiness. This message was already present in the preaching of the prophets: God is close to the poor and the oppressed and He delivers them from those who mistreat them. However, in this preaching Jesus follows a particular path: He begins with the term “Blessed,”  happy. He continues with the indication of the condition to be so and He concludes by making a promise. The motive for beatitude, namely for happiness, is not in the condition requested — for instance, “poor in spirit,” “mourn,” “hunger for righteousness,” “persecuted” … but in the subsequent promise, to be received with faith as gift of God. One begins from the condition of hardship to open oneself to God’s gift and enter the new world, the “Kingdom” proclaimed by Jesus. This is not an automatic mechanism, but a way of life following the Lord, so that the reality of hardship and affliction is seen in a new perspective and experienced according to the conversion undertaken. One is not blessed if one is not converted, able to appreciate and live God’s gifts.
I will pause on the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (v. 4). He is poor in spirit who has assumed the sentiments and the attitude of those poor, who do not rebel in their condition, but are able to be humble, docile, open to the grace of God. The happiness of the poor — of the poor in spirit —  has a twofold dimension: in relation to goods and in relation to God. In regard to goods, to material goods, this poverty in spirit is sobriety: not necessarily renunciation, but the capacity to enjoy the essential, to share; the capacity to renew every day the wonder of the goodness of things, without being weighed down in the opacity of voracious consumption. The more I have, the more I want; the more I have, the more I want: this is voracious consumption. And this kills the soul. And the man and woman who do this, who have this attitude “the more I have, the more I want,” are not happy and will not attain happiness. ”In relations with God, it is praise and gratitude that the world is a blessing and that at its origin is the creative love of the Father. But it is also openness to Him, docility to His lordship: He is the Lord; He is the Great One. I am not great because I have many things! He is: He who willed the world for all men and wanted it so that men would be happy.
A poor one in spirit is a Christian who does not trust in himself, in his material riches, who is not obstinate in his opinions but listens with respect and disposes himself willingly to others’ decisions. If there were more poor in spirit in our communities, there would be fewer divisions, oppositions and controversies! Humility, like charity, is an essential virtue for coexistence in Christian communities. The poor, in this evangelical sense, appear as those that keep alive the goal of the Kingdom of Heaven, making one perceive that it is anticipated in germ in a fraternal community, which prefers sharing to possession. I would like to stress this: to prefer sharing to possession. To always have an open heart and hands (he makes the gesture), not closed (he makes the gesture). When the heart is closed (he makes the gesture) it is a narrow: it does not even know how to love. When the heart is open (he makes the gesture), it goes on the way of love.
May the Virgin Mary, model and first fruit of the poor in spirit because totally docile to the Lord’s will, help us to abandon ourselves to God, rich in mercy, so that He will fill us with His gifts, especially the abundance of His forgiveness.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, as you see, the invaders have arrived … they are here!
Celebrated today is World Leprosy Day. This sickness, though regressing, is still among the most feared and it strikes the poorest and marginalized. It is important to fight against this disease, but also against the discriminations it engenders. I encourage all those who are committed in the rescue and social reinsertion of persons stricken by Hansen’s disease, to whom we assure our prayer.
I greet you all affectionately, who have come from different parishes of Italy and of other countries, as well as the Associations and Groups. In particular, I greet the students of Murcia and Badajoz, the young people of Bilbao and the faithful of Castellon. I greet the pilgrims of Reggio Calabria, Castelliri, and the Sicilian group of the National Association of Parents. I would also like to renew my closeness to the populations of Central Italy that are still suffering the consequences of the earthquake and of difficult atmospheric conditions. May these brothers and sisters of ours not lack the constant support of institutions and common solidarity. And please, may no type of bureaucracy make them wait and suffer further!
Now I turn to you, boys and girls of Catholic Action, of the parishes and Catholic schools of Rome. Accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar, this year also you have come at the end of the “Caravan of Peace,” whose slogan is Surrounded by Peace: a beautiful slogan Thank you for your presence and for your generous commitment in building a society of peace. Now, we will all listen to the message that your friends, beside me here, will read to us.
[Reading of the message]
And now the balloons are released, symbol of peace, symbol of peace …
I wish you all a good Sunday. I wish you peace, humility, sharing in your families. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

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