Pope says to be like Mary, not asking for help, but offering help
"If we proceed with the tired step of grumbling and gossiping, we will not bring God to anyone. Instead, it is so good to cultivate a healthy humour, as did, for example, St Thomas More or St Philip Neri. Let us ask for this grace, for healthy humour". Prayers for the people of the Philippines affected by typhoon Rai.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - We should not feel sorry for ourselves, but "toss our sad thoughts to God" and look around to see if there is someone to whom we can offer our help, as Mary did when, after the angel's announcement, she "got up and went", "in haste" to Elizabeth. This was Pope Francis' invitation on the last Sunday of Advent to the 20,000 people present in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus.
After the recitation of the prayer which he also invited them to pray for the people of the Philippines, hit by a typhoon.
"Get up and walk quickly," he pointed out. "These are the two movements that Mary made and that she also invites us to make in view of Christmas. First of all, get up. After the angel's announcement, a difficult period loomed for the Virgin: her unexpected pregnancy exposed her to misunderstandings and even severe punishment, even stoning, in the culture of the time. Imagine how many thoughts and worries she had! Nevertheless, she did not become discouraged, she did not lie down, but got up. She does not look down at her problems, but up at God. And she does not think about whom to ask for help, but to whom to bring help".
"Mary always thinks of others. Let us learn from Our Lady this way of reacting: to get up, especially when difficulties risk crushing us. Let us get up, so as not to get bogged down in problems, sinking into self-pity and a sadness that paralyses. But why get up? Because God is great and is ready to lift us up if we reach out to Him. So let us throw away in Him the negative thoughts, the fears that block every impulse and prevent us from going forward".
And then," he added, "let's do as Mary did: let's look around and look for someone to whom we can be of help! Is there any elderly person I know to whom I can give a little company, a service, a kindness, a phone call? By helping others, we will help ourselves to get up from difficulties. The second movement is to walk quickly. This does not mean to proceed with agitation, in a hurried manner: it is instead to lead our days with a happy step, looking ahead with confidence, without dragging ourselves along reluctantly, slaves to complaints, which ruin life, always looking for someone to blame. Going towards Elizabeth's house, Mary proceeds with the quick step of one whose heart and life are full of God, full of his joy. So let us ask ourselves: how is my 'step'? Am I proactive or do I linger in melancholy? Do I move forward with hope or do I stop and feel sorry for myself? If we proceed with the tired step of grumbling and talking, we will not bring God to anyone. On the other hand, it is so good to cultivate a healthy humour, as did, for example, St Thomas More or St Philip Neri. We can ask for this grace, for healthy humour. Let us not forget that the first act of charity we can do for our neighbour is to offer him a serene and smiling face. It is to bring them the joy of Jesus, as Mary did with Elizabeth. May the Mother of God take us by the hand, and help us to get up and walk quickly towards Christmas!"
After the Angelus, Francis expressed his closeness to the people of the Philippines, hit by a typhoon Rai "which destroyed many homes. May the Santo Niño bring consolation and hope to the families most in difficulty; and may he inspire us all with concrete help! The first concrete help is prayer",
Before entering the square for the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis went to the Paul VI Hall to meet (in the photo) about 350 people linked to the activities of the St Martha Paediatric Dispensary, which has been operating for one hundred years.
In a festive atmosphere, marked by the distribution of small Christmas packages made of toys and clothes received in recent days thanks to the solidarity of many, Francis spoke to the children about listening to the needs of the people. He asked: "If I go out into the street and meet a person who is not good or bad, but cold or hungry, what should I do? Do I leave or do I stay? There was a pause before someone answered: 'I'll stop to help'.