Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A song to Our Lady in Chinese concluded Mass celebrated today by Pope Francis in the Casa Santa Marta, who, at the end of the prayer of the faithful also invited prayers "for the noble Chinese people that the Lord bless and Our Lady watch over them". Today's Day of Prayer for China, established by Benedict XVI in 2007, was also the subject of a tweet of the Pope, the account @ Pontifex in nine languages: " On the feast of Mary Help of Christians I join the Catholics in China who trust in the protection of Our Lady of Sheshan and I pray for them. " And the celebration, along with employees of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, led by Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, was also attended by Msgr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and a group of Chinese priests, religious, seminarians and lay people.
And even if the Pope's homily, made no express reference to the life of the Church in China, there was a veiled reference in comments on "enduring and overcoming external and internal oppression with patience and love" of which Pope Francis spoke.
On the day that the Church dedicates to Mary Help of Christians, the Pope said that "patient endurance and overcoming [trials] with love" are "graces proper to a Christian." "It is not easy to endure with patience". "It is not easy, when the difficulties come from the outside, or when the problems are in the heart, the soul, internal problems." But enduring them does not mean "carrying one's difficulties". "To endure is to take the trouble and take it on, forcefully, so that we are not brought down by our difficulties. Carrying on with strength: this is a Christian virtue. St. Paul speaks of it several times. Endurance. This means not letting ourselves be overcome by difficulties. This means that the Christian has the strength not to give up, to keep on going. Carrying his or her difficulties, but with our arms held high: endurance. It is not easy, because we can be discouraged, and want to let our arms drop and say, 'Well, come on, we will do what we can but nothing more... '. But no, endurance is a grace. We have to ask for it, in our troubles. "
The other is grace "overcoming trials with love." "You can win by many means but the grace that we ask for today is the grace of victory through love, through love. And this is not easy. When we have enemies out there that make us suffer so much: it is not easy win with love. There is the desire to take revenge, to do something against him ... Love: the meekness that Jesus taught us. And that is the victory! The apostle John tells us in his First Letter: 'This is our victory, our faith.' Our faith lies in believing in Jesus who taught us love and taught us to love everyone. And the proof that we are in love is when we pray for our enemies. "
Pray for your enemies, for those who make us suffer "is not easy." But we are "defeated Christians" if we do not forgive our enemies and if we do not pray for them. And "how many sad, discouraged Christians we find" because "they have not had the grace to endure with patience and overcome with love." "Therefore, we ask Our Lady to give us the grace to endure with patience and overcome with love. How many people - many elderly - have walked this path! And it is nice to watch them: they have that nice look, that serene happiness. They do not speak much, but have a patient and loving heart. They know what it means to forgive their enemies, they know what it is to pray for their enemies. Many Christians are like that. "