Pope invokes peace, security and mutual respect in Afghanistan
Francis' appeal at the Angelus for the martyred Afghan population who are living in these hours of anguish because of the surrender to the Taliban. On the Solemnity of the Assumption, Mary's humility as a secret for reaching up to Heaven. Closeness also to earthquake-stricken Haiti.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Joining together in prayer that Afghanistan may find peace "in full mutual respect". Faced with the anguish of the civilian population over the surrender of the government in Kabul before the Taliban, Pope Francis made an appeal today from St. Peter's Square at the end of the Angelus.
"I join in the unanimous concern over the news coming from Afghanistan - he said - I invite you to pray with me to the God of peace so that the din of arms may cease and solutions may be found at the table of dialogue. Only in this way will the tormented population of that country - men, women, elderly and children - be able to return to their homes and live in peace and security in full mutual respect".
The appeal for Afghanistan came on today's Solemnity of the Assumption, during which the pope invited the faithful to turn their gaze to the humility of Mary. Introducing the Angelus prayer, the pontiff indicated this trait as the true secret of the Virgin. "The human eye - he observed - seeks greatness and is dazzled by what is flashy. God, on the other hand, does not look at appearances, but at the heart and is enchanted by humility."
"Looking at the Assumed Mary, we can say that humility is the way that leads to Heaven. The word humility - the pope recalled again - comes from the Latin term humus, which means earth. It is paradoxical: in order to reach the top, in Heaven, one must remain low, like the earth."
Francis invited everyone to make this teaching their own through some questions: "How humble am I? Do I seek to be recognized by others, to affirm myself and be praised, or do I think of serving? Do I know how to listen, like Mary, or do I just want to talk and receive attention? Do I know how to be silent, like Mary, or am I always chattering? Do I know how to take a step back, to defuse quarrels and discussions, or do I just try to excel?"
"Mary - continued the pontiff - is the full of grace precisely because of her humility . For us, too, humility is the starting point, the beginning of our having faith. It is fundamental to be poor in spirit, that is, in need of God. He who is full of himself does not give room to God". Recalling the definition of the poet Dante in Paradise, who defines Mary as "humble and high more than a creature," Pope Francis dwelt on the days of the full of grace, which "were not very striking. They often followed one another in the same way, in silence: externally, nothing extraordinary. But God's gaze always remained on her, admiring her humility, her availability, the beauty of her heart never touched by sin."
This is a great message of hope for all. "For you," Pope Francis concluded, "who live tiring and often difficult days. Mary reminds you today that God is also calling you to this destiny of glory. These are not pretty words, this is not an artfully created happy ending, a pious illusion or a false consolation. No, it is pure reality, alive and true as Our Lady assumed into Heaven. Let us celebrate her today with the love of children, joyful but humble, animated by the hope of one day being with her in Heaven".
Along with the people of Afghanistan, Pope Francis also expressed his concern for also to the Caribbean island of Haiti, struck yesterday by a devastating earthquake with hundreds of victims. "I express my closeness - he commented - and may the solidarity of all may alleviate the consequences of the tragedy."
On this Feast of the Assumption, he also dedicated his thoughts to those who cannot go on vacation because of their difficult conditions: "the sick, the elderly, the imprisoned, the unemployed, refugees, people who are alone and in difficulty, may Mary extend her protection to each one". Finally, he invited everyone to visit a Marian shrine on this Solemnity of the Assumption to venerate Our Lady.