Even if restrictions and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic await us this year, let us think of Mary and Joseph that first Christmas. Despite all their difficulties and reasons to worry, they were sustained by faith, hope and love. We too are called to to do the same.
This was at the heart of Pope Francis greetings to Italian-speaking pilgrims at the end of today’s Dec. 16 General Audience.
He made these observations as Italy is expected to announce today or in the days to come more stringent Christmas measures, expected to include more closures and blocking travel.
While “this year restrictions and hardships await us,” Pope Francis said, “let us think of the Christmas of the Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph: There were no roses and flowers! How many difficulties they had! How many worries!”
“Yet,” the Holy Father reminded, “faith, hope and love guided and sustained them.”
“May it be so for us too!
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May these difficulties help us purify Christmas, making it more pure, authentic and true, with less consumerism.”
Here is a Zenit translation of the Pope’s remarks:
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I greet warmly the Italian-speaking faithful. I would like to exhort all to “quicken the steps” to Christmas, the true one, mainly, the birth of Jesus Christ. This year restrictions and hardships await us, but let us think of the Christmas of the Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph: there were no roses and flowers! How many difficulties they had! How many worries! Yet faith, hope and love guided and sustained them. May it be so for us too! May these difficulties help us to purify Christmas, <to make it> more pure, authentic and true, with less consumerism.
As always, I turn finally to the elderly, the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. I wish that each one will receive the grace of these days: that it may become for you, the elderly, consolation; for you, young people, strength; for you, the sick, comfort; and for you, newlyweds, trust in Divine Providence. Thank you all.