Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In this morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis said that God "simply asks for our miseries, our pettiness, and our sins to embrace and caress us”.
The Holy Father took his inspiration from today’s first reading - from the Book of Isaiah – in which we are told that God chose His people “not because they were big and powerful but because they were the smallest and most wretched of all”.
Joined by the nine members of the Council of Cardinals, who begin their 12th meeting today, the pontiff said that mercy is like a caress, like the hug a parent gives to console and reassure his or her child, for “The Lord is merciful and steadfast in His love”.
When he chose the People of Israel, God "fell in love with this misery. He fell in love exactly of this smallness." Indeed, “We see this love” in God’s monologue with his people, a “tender love, a love like that of a father or a mother” speaking soothingly to a child who wakes up at “night frightened by a dream," reaching out to “grasp your right hand,” saying “Do not fear!”
"We all know the caresses of mums and dads, when kids are frightened: 'Fear not, I am here. I love your smallness; I fell in love with your smallness, your nothingness'. [. . .] 'Do not fear for your sins. I love you a lot. I am here to forgive you.' This is God’s mercy."
Speaking about a saint who was doing a lot of penances, Francis noted that the Lord asked more and more of him until the saint told him that he had nothing more to give. Then God told him, "Give me your sins."
“The Lord wants to take upon himself our weaknesses, our sins, our weariness. How many times did Jesus feel this, and said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.’ ‘For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, Do not fear, I will help you.’ Give me everything and I shall forgive you; I shall give you peace.”
These "are God’s caresses, these are our Father’s caresses, when he speaks with his mercy."
"We who are so nervous, when something does not go well, we yell, we are impatient . . . Instead, he says, ‘Do not worry! You made a big mistake. All right! Do not worry; fear not, I forgive you. Give it to me.' This is the meaning of what we repeat in the Psalm, 'The Lord is merciful and steadfast in His love.’ We are small. He gave us everything. He simply asks for our miseries, our pettiness, and our sins to embrace and caress us."
"Let us ask the Lord to awake in all of us and in all the people the faith in this fatherhood, in mercy, and in his heart,” Francis said. “May this faith in his fatherhood and mercy make us a bit more merciful towards others."