10/12/2022, 13.28
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Pope calls for end to hurricane of violence in Ukraine

New appeal for peace by Francis at the general audience after the deluge of bombardments in recent hours. The theme of desire at the centre of the catechesis on discernment: "Today's society has reduced it to a momentary desire, thus we do no longer understand what we really want".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - May the Spirit of the Lord "transform the hearts of those who hold the fate of war in their hands, so that the hurricane of violence may cease and peaceful coexistence in justice may be rebuilt". At the end of today's general audience, held in front of thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis returned to make an appeal for Ukraine, shocked in these days by a deluge of missiles.

"In these days," he said, "my heart is always turned to the Ukrainian people, especially to the inhabitants of the places on which the bombings have raged. I carry within me their pain and through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God I present it in prayer to the Lord. He always hears the cry of the poor who invoke Him'.

In the general audience - continuing his catechesis on discernment - after prayer and self-knowledge, Pope Francis spoke of a third ingredient indicated by the masters of spirituality as essential to this dimension of the Christian life: desire. Recalling its etymology - "de-sidus, literally 'the lack of the star' - the pontiff explained that desire "evokes a suffering, a lack, and at the same time a tension to reach the good that we lack. It is the compass to understand where I am and where I am going, indeed it is the compass to understand whether I am standing still or going, because a person who never desires is a person who is standing still, perhaps sick, almost dead'.

How is it possible to recognise this? "Unlike the desire or the emotion of the moment," replied the Pontiff, "desire lasts over time and tends to materialise. Desire makes you strong, makes you brave, makes you go forward always because you want to get there'. It is striking," he added, "that Jesus, before performing a miracle, often asks the person about his desire: 'Do you want to be healed? Sometimes this question seems out of place: you can see that he is sick'. But Jesus' question is an invitation to make clarity in one's own heart, "by dialoguing with the Lord, we learn to understand what we really want from our lives".

In particular, this question stirs us from the alibis and complaints that "are a poison to the soul, a poison to life because they do not make you grow the desire to go on. Be careful," Pope Francis warned, "when spouses complain about each other, children about their fathers or priests about their bishops or bishops about so many other things... It is almost a sin, because complaining does not let desire grow.

"The age in which we live," the Pontiff added, "seems to favour maximum freedom of choice, but at the same time it atrophies desire, which is mostly reduced to the desire of the moment. We are bombarded by a thousand proposals, projects, possibilities, which risk distracting us and not allowing us to calmly evaluate what we really want". Hence 'the risk of spending our existence between attempts and expedients of various kinds, without ever getting anywhere, and wasting precious opportunities. And so some changes, though desired in theory, when the opportunity arises are never implemented'.

"If the Lord were to ask us, today, the question he asked the blind man of Jericho: 'What do you want me to do for you?' (Mk 10:51) what would we answer? - concluded Francis - Perhaps, we could finally ask Him to help us to know the deep desire for Him, which God Himself has placed in our hearts. It is an immense grace, the basis of all others: to allow the Lord, as in the Gospel, to work miracles for us: 'Give us the desire and make it grow, Lord'".

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