Copyright: Zenit's Sr. Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope at General Audience: Amid Pandemic, We Need to Learn Again the Art of Contemplation

In Order to See How Creation & One Another Reflect God’s Infinite Wisdom, Goodness & Beauty

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“In order to regain a proper sense of our place within God’s creation, and of our call to respect and care for the earth and one another, we need to learn anew the art of contemplation.”

Pope Francis made this observation at his weekly General Audience, today, Sept. 16, 2020, the third week since the virus’ outbreak, where faithful could be present in the Vatican’s Courtyard of San Damaso of the Apostolic Palace.

Participation remains open to all who wish, without the need for tickets. Zenit English was with the Pope at the Audience for his first such Audience since February.

While continuing his series of catecheses on COVID 19, Francis reflected on the current pandemic in the light of the Church’s Social Doctrine, and remembered “the vital role” played by the many people who generously care for others, especially the sick, elderly and most vulnerable.

This period, the Pope recognized, has made us recognize our responsibility to care for the natural world, “whose beauty is all too often ignored and its resources squandered.”

“In order to regain a proper sense of our place within God’s creation, and of our call to respect and care for the earth and one another,” he said, “we need to learn anew the art of contemplation.”

“For when we enter into silence and contemplate our interconnected world,” he explained, “we come to appreciate the true meaning and value of all creatures, for each in its own way reflects something of God’s infinite wisdom, goodness and beauty.”

Contemplation, he said, teaches us how integral we all are to the whole of creation, our calling to be faithful stewards of its riches, and our need to preserve it for future generations.

Greeting the English-speaking faithful, the Pontiff remembered in a special way the elderly and infirm, and those who generously care for them. Invoking the joy and peace of the Lord, upon all of  them and their families, he said: “God bless you!”

Following the health indications of the Authorities, the General Audiences in September are taking place in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Individuals enter from the Bronze Doors of the right colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, as early as 7:30 a.m. Pilgrims are to maintain proper social distancing, sanitize hands, have temperatures taken and pass through security clearance. To reach the Courtyard of San Damaso, faithful go past the masked Swiss Guards, climb about 75 steps, before arriving at the site of the audience. It is rare for faithful and pilgrims to have access to this space.

In the past, General Audiences were held in St. Peter’s Square, or in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

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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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