01/21/2018, 18.56
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Pope in Peru: Young people, the heart can’t be “photoshopped”, because that’s where real love is found

At the Angelus in the Plaza de Armas, Pope Francis calls on young people to follow Jesus with all of themselves, without discouragement, in the example of St. Martin of Porres, the half-caste saint. Silent prayer for peace in the Republic of the Congo. To the bishops, the example of St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, an indefatigable evangelizer: "Today we would call him a 'street bishop'". To the contemplative religious the invitation to pray for the unity of the Peruvian Church.

Lima (AsiaNews) - "The heart can’t be “photoshopped”, because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found": with this neologism Pope Francis today addressed the young people gathered in the Plaza de Armas in the Peruvian capital. In a morning full of meetings - at 9.15 am with the contemplative religious (see photo); at 10.30 am with a prayer before the relics of the Peruvian saints; shortly before 11 am with the bishops of the country - the pontiff dedicated the moment of the Angelus to the young, remembering their importance because "in this year ... we are preparing for the Synod of young people". Before the Marian prayer, he invited the thousands of young people present to make a silent prayer for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The call that the Pope madenot to "fotoshop" is an exhortation not to be discouraged or to hide reality by embellishing it in a virtual way. "Jesus - he said - Jesus does not want you to have a “cosmetic” heart.  He loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you.  Do not forget, he does not get discouraged with us.  But if you get discouraged, I invite you to take a look at the Bible and remember the kind of friends God chose.Moses, he was not articulate; Abraham, an old man; Jeremiah, very young; Zacchaeus, small of stature; the disciples, who fell asleep when Jesus told them they should pray; Paul, a persecutor of Christians; Peter, who denied him... and we could go on with this list.  So what excuse can we offer?”

When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give in serving others.  That is the important thing for him, and he will always be concerned about that.  He does not worry about your height, or whether you speak well or badly, whether you fall asleep when you pray, or whether you are very young or very old.  His only question is this: Do you want to follow me and be my disciple?  Don’t waste time disguising your heart, but instead fill your life with the Spirit!Jesus is constantly waiting to give us his Spirit, who is the Love that God wants to pour into our hearts, to make us his missionary disciples. In following Jesus, we never, ever, remain shut out.  Even if we make mistakes, the Lord always gives us a new opportunity to keep walking with him".

As an example of this he cited the story of St. Martin of Porres (1579-1639), son of a slave of African origins and a Spanish aristocrat, who became a Dominican religious, assigned to the most humble tasks (because he was half caste), but the whose reputation of holiness and as an educator gave a great boost to evangelization: "Nothing prevented that young man from achieving his dreams, nothing prevented him from spending his life for others, nothing prevented him from loving, and he did so because he had realized that the Lord loved him first.  Just as he was: a mulato.  He had to face many hardships ".

Saint Turibius, model for bishops

The example of the Peruvian saints, in particular of San Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538-1606), archbishop of Lima, was offered by Francis to the Peruvian bishops. The Pope called him "the man who wanted to get to the other shore”. He left "behind the comfort of the bishop’s residence and traverse the territory entrusted to him”, “of the twenty-two years of his episcopate, eighteen were spent outside of his city, three times crossing his territory”. He added: ”Today we would call him a “street” bishop.  A bishop with shoes worn out by walking, by constant travel, by setting out to “preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance and fear".

Turibius also carried out a great commitment to evangelization in local cultures: “With the Third Council of Lima he provided for catechisms to be compiled and translated into Quechua and Aymara.  He encouraged the clergy to learn the language of their flock in order to administer the sacraments to them in a way they could understand".

The saint also engaged in the field of charity and justice, coming to excommunicate some powerful colonizers who oppressed the people and were corrupt. He also opened the path of the priesthood to men of mixed race, "trying to encourage and stimulate that the clergy, if they had to stand out in something, were for the holiness of the pastors and not for the ethnic origin".

Finally, the pope recalls Turibius’ commitment to the unity of the Church. "Dear Brothers - he invited the bishops - work for unity, do not remain prisoners of divisions that reduce and limit the vocation to which we have been called: to be a sacrament of communion".

Shortly before the meeting with the bishops, the pope had gathered in prayer in the cathedral in front of the relics of the Peruvian saints (Turibius of Mongrovejo, Rose of Lima, Martin de Porres, Francisco Solanos, Juan Macías ...).

In the early morning he went to the sanctuary of the Señor de los Milagros, where he met with about 500 contemplative religious. The pontiff also asked them to "pray a lot for the unity of this beloved Peruvian Church" and proposed them to live the contemplative life with the prayer to "heal the wounds of our many brothers and sisters". "The cloistered life - he added -  cloistered life neither closes nor shrinks our hearts, but rather widens them in our relationship with the Lord, making them capable of feeling in a new way the pain, the suffering, the frustration and the misfortune of so many of our brothers and sisters who are victims of today’s “throwaway culture”’.

This afternoon, the pope will celebrate mass at the Las Palmas Air Base, his last encounter with the Peruvian population. After the farewell ceremony, he will board a plane at 6.45 pm (local time) to return to Rome.

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