In the chapel of the “Portiuncula,” sheltered by the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels at Assisi, Saint Francis “who gave up the treasures of Earth, distributes with full hands, the treasures of Heaven,” explained Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
The celebrations of the “Pardon of Assisi” ended on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, with a Mass presided over at the Portiuncula by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. It also marked the closure of the Jubilee of the Pardon of Assisi, which Pope Francis opened on August 4, 2016, on the occasion of the Eighth Centenary of this “Pardon.”
It was on August 2, 1216, that Pope Honorius III agreed to Saint Francis’ request to remit the sins of all the poor who came to pray at Assisi. “My brothers, I want to send all of you to Paradise,” said Saint Francis.
For Cardinal Parolin, these words manifest that St. Francis’ love of God, was transformed in compassion and charity for his neighbour. “They are the words that also express the fundamental mission of the Church: that of fostering the encounter between God and human beings” and of “showing the way of salvation offered to all.”
At the Portiuncula, the Secretary of State reminded, God “puts Himself on our side, He wants to “lead us all to Paradise,” but “He uses channels of humility.”
God is certainly “present everywhere and He is the Lord of history,” said Cardinal Parolin. However, there are “special places and times where the divine chooses to show Himself in a specific way,” as in Nazareth during the Annunciation, as in the Portiuncula, where Francis “who gave up the treasures of Earth, distributes with full hands the treasures of Heaven,” according to the expression of the Archbishop of Assisi Domenico Sorrentino.
Quoting Pope Francis’ letter for the inauguration of Assisi’s Shrine of Despoilment on April 16, 2017, Cardinal Parolin stressed: ”in a certain sense, the Almighty is eclipsed so that the glory of the Word made flesh expresses itself especially in love and in mercy.”
“How can we not rejoice in face of a Goodness that doesn’t limit itself to contemplate itself, but wills to diffuse itself and give itself?” asked the Secretary of State. Following Mary, Saint Francis gives thanks to the Lord who grants His pardon so abundantly,
Cardinal Parolin also noted that Paradise “counted” for Francis of Assisi’s contemporaries, conscious that “the final, true destiny is not attained in earthly satisfaction and realizations but in the world to come, in the City of Saints and not in the earthly city.”
And he remarked that today it’s not easy to “enter into oneself,” as the Prodigal Son; “Hence it is complicated to free a space to think of God, of the Church, of the river of grace offered by the Sacraments, of the importance of keeping the Word of God.”
Therefore, the cardinal invited the Baptized “to look at reality with new eyes, to approach Jesus and His Mother, to set out on the way to the Portiuncula to adore and receive the strength to be joyful witnesses of Christ.”