Pope Francis urged Christians to live a “fruitful life” during his December 19, 2017, homily at Mass at Santa Marta, according to Vatican News.
In his homily, he recalled how in the days before Christ’s birth, it was considered a blessing for a woman to be able to bear children. And if a woman could not have children it was thought to be a great shame.
He noted the irony as recounted in the December 19 readings of two men born of women who had been thought to be barren: Samson and John the Baptist. Both men would play an important role in history.
God’s first commandment to man was “Fill the earth, be fruitful!” the Pope said. “Where there is God there is fruitfulness”.
The Holy Father continued by noting that some countries have “chosen the path of sterility and suffer from that serious disease that it a demographic winter (…) they do not have children”. He suggested such nations may seek economic benefits but that “Fruitfulness, he said, is always a blessing of God.”
Pope Francis noted that there are those who choose not to bear children – religious and consecrated, for example – but they must continue to be fruitful by giving to others.
“Woe to us if we are not fruitful with good works,” Francis said. “He who lives for himself produces selfishness, pride, vanity, greasing the soul without living for others. The devil is the one who grows the weeds of egoism and stops us from being fruitful.”
The Pope concluded by suggesting to those present that they look at the empty cradle waiting for the arrival of Christ: “Come, Lord, fill the cradle, fill my heart and help me to give life, to be fruitful”.