Pope: Respect sanctuary for those seeking refuge in churches, pagodas and hospitals in Myanmar

At the Angelus, a new appeal by Francis for "the thousands of people who are dying of hunger" in the country without peace. Commenting on the Gospel passage of the storm quenched by Jesus, the pontiff recalled that faith begins with the cry "Lord save us", the same prayer addressed by many people "who come on boats".


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "May the Heart of Christ touch the hearts of all bringing peace to Myanmar," prayed Pope Francis in a new heartfelt appeal,  today from St. Peter's Square, again bringing the unfolding tragedy of Myanmar to the attention of the world, where in recent days even the churches that have opened their doors to displaced people fleeing the war have been bombed by the army .

He said "I unite my voice that of the bishops of Myanmar, who have launched an appeal drawing to the attention of the whole world the harrowing experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and are dying of hunger: we plead with all kindness to allow humanitarian corridors and that churches, pagodas, monasteries, mosques, temples, as well as schools and hospitals "be respected as neutral places of refuge".

The appeal came at the end of the Angelus prayer, held from the window of the Apostolic Palace above St. Peter's Square again filled with several thousand faithful. Commenting on the Gospel passage of the storm quelled by Jesus - which by coincidence the liturgy proposes today on the day that the United Nations dedicates to refugees - the pontiff recalled that faith begins with the cry "Lord save us", the same prayer that today too many people "who come on boats" pray at sea.

But the passage of the  calming of the storm - added Pope Francis - also speaks to us of all those times that, like the apostles on the boat, we too "assailed by the trials of life, cried out to the Lord" asking: "why do you remain silent, doing nothing for me? ". We seem to sink "when we are at the mercy of persistent waves of anxiety; or when we feel overwhelmed by problems or lost in the middle of the sea of ‚Äč‚Äčlife. Or again, in moments when the strength to move forward is lacking, because there is no work or an unexpected diagnosis makes us fear for our health or that of a loved one ”.

In these moments in the storm we risk losing sight of the most important thing: "On the boat, even if he sleeps, Jesus is there, and he shares in everything that is happening". His is a sleep that “puts us to the test: he waits for us to involve him, to invoke him, to put him at the center of what we live. His sleep causes us to wake up. Because, to be disciples of Jesus, it is not enough to believe that God exists, that he exists, but one must get involved with him, one must also raise one's voice at him, cry out to him ".

It is precisely this clinging to Jesus "to find shelter against the anomalous waves of life" that is the beginning of our faith. "It begins by believing - explained the Pope - that we are not enough for ourselves, by feeling in need of God. It can work wonders in us. It is the mild and extraordinary force of prayer, which works miracles ”.

He concluded: “How often do we stay to fix the problems instead of going to the Lord and throwing our worries into him. How often do we leave the Lord in a corner, at the bottom of the boat of life, to wake him up only in time of need. Let us ask today for the grace of a faith that never tires of seeking the Lord, of knocking on the door of his Heart ”.

Finally, returning after the recitation of the Angelus on World Refugee Day, he said: "We open our hearts to the refugees and make their sadness and joys our own; we learn from their courageous resilience. And so, all together, we will grow a  more human community, as one great family."