Angelus Address: On Going to Jesus when Life Becomes Overwhelming

“Come to Me, All Who Labor and Are Heavy Laden, and I will give You Rest”

Angelus / Foto: Francesco Sforza - © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

 

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!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Lord does not reserve this phrase for some of His friends, no, He addresses to “all” those that are tired and oppressed by life. And who can feel excluded from this invitation? The Lord knows what a burden life can be. He knows that many things weary the heart: past disappointments and wounds, burdens to carry and wrongs to be endured in the present, uncertainties and worries for the future.

In face of all this, Jesus’ first word is an invitation, an invitation to move and react: “Come.” The mistake, when things go badly, is to stay where one is, lying there. It seems evident, but how difficult it is to react and open oneself! It’s not easy. In dark moments it is natural to stay with oneself, to brood over how unjust life is, over how ungrateful others are and how evil the world is, and so on. We all know it. We have suffered this awful experience sometimes.  But thus, closed in on ourselves, we see everything black. Then we even becomes familiar with sadness, which becomes as home: that sadness that prostrates us; this sadness is an awful thing. Instead, Jesus wants to extricate us from this “quicksand” and therefore He says to each one: “Come!” – “Who?” – You, you, you . . .” The way out is in relation, in extending the hand and raising one’s eyes towards the One who really loves us.

In fact, to come out of oneself isn’t enough, it is necessary to know where to go, because so many aims are illusory: they promise rest and distract somewhat, assuring peace and giving amusement, then leaving one in the solitude of before; they are “fireworks.” Therefore Jesus points out where to go: “Come to Me.” Often, in face of a burden of life or a situation that pains us, we try to talk about it with someone who listen to us, with a friend, with an expert . . . It is a great good to do this, but let us not forget Jesus! Let us not forget to open ourselves to Him and to tell Him about our life, to entrust people and situations to Him. Perhaps there are “areas” of our life that we have never opened to Him and that have remained dark, because they have never seen the Lord’s light. Each one of us has his/her own story. And if someone has this dark area, seek Jesus, go to a missionary of mercy, go to a priest, go . . . But go to Jesus, and tell this to Jesus. Today He says to each one of us: “Courage, do not give in to the burdens of life, do not close yourself in face of fears and sins, but come to Me!”

He waits for us,  He always waits for us, not to resolve our problems magically, but to make us strong in our problems. Jesus does not remove the burdens of life, but the anguish of heart; He does not take the cross away from us, but carries it with us. And with Him, every burden becomes light (Cf. v. 30), because He is the rest that we seek. When Jesus enters our life, peace comes, that <peace> that remains even in trials, in sufferings. Let us go to Jesus, let us give Him our time, let us meet Him every day in prayer, in a confident and personal dialogue; let us familiarize ourselves with His Word, let us rediscover His forgiveness without fear, let us be satiated with His Bread of life: we will feel loved and consoled by Him.

It is He Himself who asks this of us, almost insisting. He repeats it again at the end of today’s Gospel: “Learn from Me [. . .] and you will find rest for your souls” (v.29). And thus we learn to go to Jesus and, while in the summer months we will seek a bit of rest from what wearies the body, let us not forget to find true rest in the Lord. May the Virgin Mary our Mother, who always takes care of us when we are tired and oppressed, help us in this and take us to Jesus.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

*

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you all warmly, Romans and pilgrims of Italy and of various countries. You are courageous, with this sun, with this heat, in the Square. Good! In particular, I greet the Polish faithful who have come on bicycle from Chelm, Archdiocese of Lublin, Poland, remembering also the great pilgrimage that today the Polish Family of Radio Maria is undertaking to the Shrine of Czestochowa. Let us all together accompany this pilgrimage of the Polish people with a Hail Mary.

[Hail Mary . . .]

I receive joyfully the Sisters Handmaids of the Blessed Immaculate Virgin and I bless the works of the General Chapter, which begins today, as well as the priests of different countries taking part in the course for seminary formators organized by the Sacerdos Institute of Rome.

A special greeting goes to the youngsters of the “Puzangalan” Choir — which means “hope” –, of Taiwan. Thank you for your singing! – and also the Alpine Choir of Palazzolo sull’ Oglio and to the faithful of Conversano.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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