Pope in Molise: overcome the "culture of the provisional" to be truly free
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The power of love to "purify consciences, renew social relations, plan a different economy, which focuses on the person, work, family, rather than money and profit" is found in the Gospel. This was Pope Francis advice this afternoon during his visit to the Italian region of Molise, meeting with young people, prisoners, and the people of Isernia.
After having lunch with the poor assisted by Caritas at the "House of Angels" (pictured), he addressed more than 20 thousand young people gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of the Sorrows in Castelpetroso. There he urged them not to give in to the "prevailing cultural models" proposed by contemporary society, the "culture of the provisional" and that aspiration for individual autonomy "pushed to the point of always questioning everything and of giving up on important and pondered life choices that were freely undertaken with commitment and dedication. This feeds a superficiality toward responsibilities, which deep down risk being regarded as something we can always free ourselves from".
But "the heart of the human being aspires to great things, to important values, such as deep friendships, to bonds that are strengthened by life's trials rather than broken by them. A human being aspires to love and to be loved, definitively. The culture of provisional does not enhance our freedom, but deprives us of our true destiny, of the most genuine and authentic goals. Do not allow yourselves to be robbed of the desire to build great and solid things in your life! Do not settle for smaller goals! Strive for happiness, take courage, the courage to go beyond yourself and to fulfill your future together with Jesus. We cannot do this on our own. Faced with the pressure of great events and trends, we cannot find the right path on our own, and even if we find it, we would not have enough strength to persevere, to deal with the uphill climb and unforeseen obstacles. And this is where the invitation of the Lord Jesus comes in to play: 'If you want ... follow me.' He invites us to accompany each other on the journey. Only together with Jesus, praying and following Him can we find the clarity of vision and strength we need to carry on". "He does not take away autonomy or freedom, on the contrary, he strengthens our fragility, allows us to be truly free, free to do good, strong enough to continue doing so, capable of forgiving and asking for forgiveness." And "God never gets tired of forgiving."
tires of forgiving," was the motto
of the visit, which ended with the opening of the Celestine Jubilee Year,
"during which the door of God's mercy will be wide
open for all."
Forgiveness and hope were also evoked in greeting to the inmates of the Isernia district prison, where the Pope went after his meeting with young people. The words of one of the detainees - "we definitely made some mistakes, but we want to get back on our feet again and your visit fills our hearts with joy, but most of all hope, and you must guide us in this sea of hope with the power of Forgiveness "- Francis responded by indicating "the challenge, as I said two weeks ago in the Castrovillari district prison: the challenge is of social reintegration. And for this we need a path, a journey, outside and inside the prison, in society, both internally, within our consciousness, in our heart.
It is important not to remain blocked - still water is stagnant water - but to walk, take one step each day, with the help of the Lord. God is Father, is mercy, love us forever. If we seek Him, He accepts us and forgives us, "He never gets tired of forgiving" is the motto of this visit. He lifts us up and gives us back our dignity, fully. God will not forget us. There is a passage from the Bible, from the prophet Isaiah, which says: Even if a mother forgets her child - and this is impossible - I will never forget you. "
God's forgiveness, in conclusion, was also at the center of the last meeting of the Pope's visit, the one with the population of Isernia, preceded by a meeting with the sick in the cathedral. Leaving the cathedral, the Pope blessed a statue of St. John the Evangelist that the diocese has gifted for the reopening of the cathedral of Izmir and a crown for the statue of Our Lady of Peace for the diocesan Shrine in Fragnete.
At Isernia, where eight hundred years ago Peter of Morrone was born, a man who was elected pope July 5, 1294 with the name of Celestine V and canonized in 1313, Pope Francis opened the Celestine Jubilee Year. "Peter of Morrone, like Francis of Assisi - he said - was well acquainted with the society of their time, with its great poverty. They were very close to the people. They had the same compassion of Jesus for the many tired and oppressed people; but did not limit themselves to dispensing good advice, or pious consolations. First they made a life's choice, they chose to rely on the providence of the Father, not only as a personal asceticism, but as a prophetic witness of brotherhood and Fatherhood , which is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It always strikes me that with this strong compassion for their people, these saints have felt the need to give the people the most important thing: the Father's mercy and forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us", in the words of the our Father, there is a whole life plan, based on mercy. Mercy, indulgence, the remission of debts, is not just devotional, intimate, a spiritual palliative. No! They are the prophecy of a new world, in which the goods of the earth and work are equally distributed and no one is deprived, because solidarity and sharing are the material consequence of fraternity. Here then is the meaning of a new citizenship, we strongly feel that here in this square in front of the Cathedral, where we speak of the memory of St. Peter of Morrone, Celestine V. This is the meaning of the Celestinian Jubilee Year, that I declare open from this moment, and during which the door of God's mercy will be wide open for all. It is not an escape, is not an escape from reality and its problems, it is the answer that comes from the Gospel".