At 10:30 this morning, the Holy Father Francis received in audience, in Paul VI Hall, the children assisted by the “Santa Marta” Pediatric Clinic in the Vatican.
Here is a Zenit working translation of the off-the-cuff greeting that the Pope addressed to volunteers, parents and all the children present.
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The Holy Father’s Greeting
Good morning to all!
I’m happy to be with you. In this Season of Christmas, I wondered if the Baby Jesus had had the flu or a cold. And what would His Mother have done? I’m not sure if there was a Clinic in Nazareth or in Egypt, but I certainly know that if Our Lady was living in Rome, she would certainly have brought Him to this Clinic.
I thank you all, who are the structure and life of the Clinic, the doctors, the collaborators, the nurses . . . and also for the collaboration of youngsters, of the children’s fathers and mothers. It’s a body, and there is life in the body — it’s seen in the children’s spontaneity. It’s not easy to work with children, but it teaches us so much. It teaches me something: that to understand the reality of life, one must abase oneself, as we lower ourselves to kiss a child. They teach us this. The proud, the arrogant can’t understand life, because they are unable to abase themselves. All of us — the professionals, the organizers, the Sisters, all — we say so many things to children, but they give us this announcement, this teaching, to abase ourselves; to abase ourselves, to be humble, and thus learn to understand life and to understand people. And all of you have this ability to abase yourselves. Thank you so much for this, thank you so much!
I wish you a Happy Christmas, a Happy Holy Christmas to all, and I thank you from my heart for what you do — truly. And I hope you won’t get indigestion from that very big cake! Thank you![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]