#PopeFrancis "This is a true mystery: God is humble – and it is a beautiful thing.” #Audience Text - Video
Pope Francis venerates a statue of the Christ-child - AFP
(Vatican Radio) The figure of the Christ-child was the focus of Pope Francis’ catechesis on Wednesday at the weekly General Audience.
The humility of Our Divine Lord in the manger, and its stark contrast with our own often grandiose self-appraisal was a particular motif of the catechetical reflection the Holy Father offered to the pilgrims and visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the event.
“This is a great mystery,” said Pope Francis, departing from his prepared text in Italian, “God is humble.” He went on to say, “We, who are proud, full of vanity, and who think ourselves great stuff – we are nothing. He is the great one: He is humble, and He makes Himself a child.”
“This,” repeated Pope Francis, “is a true mystery: God is humble – and it is a beautiful thing.”
Below, please find the official English-language summary of the Holy Father’s catechesis, which was read following the main reflection at the audience on Wednesday
Dear Brothers and Sisters: During this holy season it is customary in many places for each home to set up a Christmas crib, following a tradition begun by Saint Francis of Assisi. The crib scene invites us to adore the Child Jesus and to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation as a revelation of God’s saving love. Devotion to the Child Jesus can teach us much about our faith. Although the Gospels tell us little about our Lord’s childhood, we know from experience the message which all newborn babies bring. By contemplating the Infant Jesus, we come to understand more fully the meaning of his coming among us. Like every baby, the Infant Jesus cries out for our attention; he asks us to care for and protect him. Like every baby, he wants us to smile at him, as a sign of our delight in him and our sharing in the mystery of his love. Finally, he wants us to play with him, to enter into his world and to become like a child ourselves, in order to please him. In these days of Christmas, let us not only gaze upon the Child Jesus, but also take him into our arms and allow him to give us the joy and freedom born of the Father’s merciful love.
After the summary, Pope Francis greeted Anglophone pilgrims and visitors with the following words, through his interpreter
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the pilgrimage groups from Norway, the Philippines and the United States of America. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. With prayerful good wishes that the the Church’s celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for all, I invoke upon you and your families an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord. Happy New Year!
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for prayerful solidarity with victims of natural disasters that recently struck parts of the United States, Great Britain, and South America (in particular Paraguay). The Holy Father’s appeal came at the end of his catechetical reflection during the General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.
“I invite everyone to pray for the victims of the calamities which in these days have befallen the United States, Great Britain, and South America – particularly Paraguay,” said Pope Francis.
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Paraguay is the country hardest hit by flooding in South America that has spread across Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay as well, causing several fatalities and inflicting massive damage, while driving at least 150 thousand people from their homes. Climatologists say the flooding is due to unusually heavy summer rains resulting from an intense “el Niño” weather phenomenon.
In the United States, severe weather that included tornadoes and flooding killed dozens of people over the past weekend, and continues to advance across the United States, bringing heavy snow and freezing rain over a great stretch of the country from Texas to northern New England.
The United Kingdom was in the throes of another major north Atlantic storm on Wednesday, after several episodes of severe weather provoked flooding from western Scotland to Wales, and especially in Cumbria and Yorkshire. Storm Frank, as the latest disturbance has been called by meteorologists, was expected to produce more heavy rain and wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h throughout much of the UK through Wednesday.
“May the Lord give comfort to all these peoples,” prayed Pope Francis, “and may fraternal solidarity aid them in their need.”