At the Angelus Pope Francis calls for greater prayer and greater charity. The Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. The "strong link" between human rights and nuclear disarmament. Combating climate change and fighting for integral human development. Solidarity with the families of the victims of the Okhi cyclone in India and the flood victims of Albania.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Recognizing the voids to be filled in our lives", the omissions, and "smoothing out the roughness of pride" to "make room for Jesus who comes": this is the meaning of Advent for Pope Francis and also the invitation that comes from the readings of today's Mass (second Advent). After having recited the Angelus with the faithful in a Saint Peter's square, adorned with the tree and the nativity scene, the pontiff recalled two world events: the Nobel Peace Prize conferred today to the International Campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, and the "Our Planet Summit" summit in Paris in two days timr, on the second anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Climate Accord.
Explaining the words of the prophet Isaiah (40, 1-5.9-11), Francis emphasized: "The valleys to be raised represent all the voids of our behavior before God, all our sins of omission. An emptiness in our lives may be the fact that we do not pray or pray very little. Advent is then the right time to pray more intensely, to reserve the important place for our spiritual life. Another emptiness could be the lack of charity towards others, especially towards those who are most in need of help not only material but also spiritual ".
"The mountains and hills that must be lowered are pride, pomposity and arrogance. We must assume attitudes of meekness and humility, to prepare the coming of our Savior, who is meek and humble of heart (cf. Mt 11,29) .... However, these actions must be carried out with joy, because they are aimed at preparing for the arrival of Jesus. When we await at home a visit from a loved one, we prepare everything with care and happiness. In the same way we want to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord: to wait for him every day with solicitude, to be filled with His grace when he comes ".
"In the Gospel - he concluded - John the Baptist implements the figure, announced by Isaiah, of the" voice that cries in the desert ". That desert offers us first of all the indication of the place where the Baptist lived and preached; but it also recalls the climate of conversion and penance that allows us to prepare ourselves for the encounter with the Lord. John declares: "I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mk 1: 8). The Savior we are waiting for is able to transform our life with the power of the Holy Spirit, with the power of love. Indeed, the Holy Spirit he pours the love of God into our hearts, an inexhaustible source of purification, of new life and freedom. The Virgin Mary lived this reality fully, letting herself be "baptized" by the Holy Spirit who flooded her with his power. May she who prepared the coming of Christ with the totality of her existence, help us to follow her example and guide our steps to meet the Lord who comes ".
After the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled that today the Nobel Peace Prize will be conferred on the International Campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. "This recognition - he explained - coincides with the United Nations Human Rights Day, and this underlines the strong link between human rights and nuclear disarmament. In fact, to work for the protection of the dignity of all people, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged, also means to work with determination to build a world without nuclear weapons. God gives us the ability to work together to build our common home: we have freedom, intelligence and the ability to lead technology, to limit our power, to the service of peace and true progress (cf. yes, 78, 112, 202).
Recalling the Paris event, which wants to "consolidate a shared strategy to counter the worrying phenomenon of climate change", the pope hopes that this summit will promote "a clear awareness of the need to take effective decisions to combat climate change and, at the same time, to fight poverty and promote integral human development ". In this regard, he offered his closeness to the families of the victims of the Okhi cyclone, which struck the Indian coasts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat, and "to the people of Albania, severely affected by serious floods".