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‘May the Light of the Child Jesus, Invade Your Lives With His Blessing,’ Pope Prays at General Audience

Reflecting on St. Paul, the Persecuted, and Martyrdom, Francis Also Praises the Strength of Persecuted Ukrainian Faithful

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May the light of the Child Jesus invade your lives with His blessing…

This Advent Season, the Holy Father gave this reminder during his General Audience this morning, Dec. 11, 2019, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. Continuing his series of catecheses on the Acts of the Apostles, this week he focused again on St. Paul and specifically on the theme “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26: 28). Paul a prisoner before King Agrippa (Acts 26: 22-23).

The Holy Father greeted the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially the groups from the United States of America.  «I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of the newborn Saviour at Christmas,» he prayed, adding: «May God bless you!»

In his catechesis on St. Paul, the Jesuit Pope observed how St. Luke shows the similarity between Paul and Jesus. They both were «hated by their adversaries, accused publicly and acknowledged innocent by the imperial authorities and so Paul is associated to his Master’s Passion, and his passion becomes a living Gospel.»

Francis noted that before today’s General Audience he came from Saint Peter’s Basilica, where he had an audience earlier with Ukrainian pilgrims from a Ukrainian diocese.

«How these people have been persecuted; how much they have suffered for the Gospel! However, they didn’t negotiate the faith. They are an example.»

«Today,» he continued, «many Christians in the world, in Europe, are persecuted and give their life for the faith, or are persecuted with white gloves, namely, left aside, marginalized . . . Martyrdom is the air of a Christian’s life, of a Christian community.»

Francis noted there will always be martyrs among us, and said «this is the sign that we are following Jesus’ way. It’s a blessing of the Lord, that there be in the People of God, a man or a woman who gives this witness of martyrdom.»

St. Paul, the Holy Father stressed, teaches us perseverance in trials and the capacity to read all with the eyes of faith. «Let us ask the Lord today, through the intercession of the Apostle, to revive our faith and to help us to be faithful to the end to our vocation of Christians, of disciples of the Lord, of missionaries.»

Greeting the young people, elderly, sick and newlyweds, Pope Francis reminded that Friday, Dec. 13, is the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, concluding: «I wish all of you that the light of the Child Jesus, now on the horizon, may invade your life with His blessing.»


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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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