"Remembering is a condition of peace and fraternity. It implies being vigilant, because these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that want to save a people and end up destroying that people and humanity". "The Bible is not written for a generic humanity, but for us, men and women in flesh and blood, for me. For men and women who have names and surnames ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Be vigilant because these things can happen again": This is Pope Francis’ warning on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Speaking at the end of the general audience he said “Today is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp and the Day of Remembrance is being celebrated". "We commemorate the victims of the Shoah and all the people persecuted and deported by the Nazi regime". "Remembering is an expression of humanity. Remembering is a sign of civilization. Remembering is a condition of peace and fraternity. It means being careful, because these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that want to save a people and end up destroying that people and humanity ". "Be mindful of how this road of death, extermination, brutality began".
Previously, continuing the cycle of catechesis on prayer, in the audience still held by the private library, Francis spoke of "prayer with the Holy Scriptures" (Reading: Ps 119,126.96.36.199.105.130). It is the prayer that can be said "starting from a passage from the Bible". His words, in fact, "were not written to remain imprisoned on papyrus, parchment or paper, but to be welcomed by a person who prays, making them sprout in his heart". Because “the Bible was not written for a generic humanity, but for us, men and women in flesh and blood, for me. For men and women who have first and last names ".
“This experience happens to all believers: a passage from the Scripture, heard many times already, unexpectedly speaks to me one day, and enlightens a situation that I am living. But it is necessary that I, that day, be present for that appointment with that Word. Every day God passes and sows a seed in the soil of our lives. We do not know whether today he will find dry ground, brambles, or good soil that will make that seed grow (cf. Mk 4: 3-9). That they become for us the living Word of God depends on us, on our prayer, on the open heart with which we approach the Scriptures.”. In this regard, Francis recalled the phrase of Saint Augustine
It is a question, then, of “This is why we must approach the Bible without ulterior motives, without exploiting it. The believer does not turn to the Holy Scriptures to support his or her own philosophical and moral view, but because he or she hopes for an encounter; the believer knows that they were written in the Holy Spirit, and that therefore in that same Spirit they must be welcomed and understood, so that the encounter can occur. It annoys me a bit - he added - when I see Christians reciting verses from the Bible like parrots. “But did you encounter the Lord with that verse? It is not just a problem of memory, but of the memory of the heart, the one that opens you to an encounter with the Lord, and that word, that verse leads you to an encounter with the Lord ".
Francis then retraced the steps of the "lectio divina". " It is first of all a matter of reading the biblical passage attentively, I would say with “obedience” to the text, to understand what it means in and of itself. One then enters into dialogue with Scripture, so that those words become a cause for meditation and prayer: while remaining faithful to the text, I begin to ask myself what it “says to me”. This is a delicate step: we must not slip into subjective interpretations, but we must be part of the living way of Tradition, which unites each of us to Sacred Scripture. The last step of Lectio divina is contemplation. Words and thoughts give way here to love, as between lovers who sometimes look at each other in silence. The biblical text remains, but like a mirror, like an icon to be contemplated.".
“Through prayer - he continued - the Word of God comes to abide in us and we abide in it. The Word inspires good intentions and sustains action; it gives us strength and serenity, and even when it challenges us, it gives us peace. On “weird” and confusing days, it guarantees to the heart a core of confidence and of love that protects it from the attacks of the evil one. In this way the Word of God is made flesh in those who receive it in prayer. The intuition emerges in some ancient texts that Christians identify so completely with the Word that, even if all the Bibles in the world were to be burned, its “mold” would still be saved because of the imprint it has left on the life of the saints. Christian life is at the same time a work of obedience and creativity. Jesus said at the end of one of his parables, “Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt 13: 52). The Holy Scriptures are an inexhaustible treasure. May the Lord grant us to draw from it more and more though prayer.”