03/23/2022, 12.32
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Pope: 'Let us bring to Mary the cries of those suffering from war'.

In a letter to the world's bishops the meaning of the act of entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary scheduled for tomorrow. At the general audience: "War is a defeat for humanity: I learned this from my grandfather who fought on the Piave River in 1914". The hope that in catechesis itineraries children can listen to the "narrative of faith" of the elderly.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis' again spoke of the victims of the "inhuman" and "sacrilegious" war in Ukraine, during today's General Audience: "The news of displaced persons, of people fleeing, of people killed, people wounded, of so many soldiers fallen on both sides, is news of death. We ask the Lord of life to deliver us from this death of war," said the Pope at the end of the audience, "that the Lord send us his Spirit to make us understand that war is a defeat for humanity.

The Holy Father, in the aftermath of his telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, wished to address a plea to the rulers of the earth. "Let us pray that they understand that making weapons and buying weapons is not the solution to problems," he said. "The solution is to work together for peace and, as the Bible says, to turn weapons into instruments for peace." 

Today, the Vatican press office also released the text of a letter sent by the pontiff to bishops around the world, on the occasion of the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Russia and Ukraine, which will be held tomorrow. A month after the start of the war in Ukraine, "which is also threatening world peace", Pope Francis is inviting the bishops to join in this act of consecration - which will take place during a penitential celebration in St Peter's Basilica - and has asked them to convene, on the same day, the community of local faithful for a moment of prayer. "This act of consecration is intended to be a gesture of the universal Church, which in this dramatic moment brings to God, through his and our Mother, the cry of pain of all those who suffer and implore an end to violence, and entrusts the future of humanity to the Queen of Peace," he wrote.

In this morning's general audience, the catechesis focused on the theme: "Farewell and inheritance: memory and witness" (Reading: Dt 34:4-5.7.9), as a continuation of the cycle of catechesis on old age. Pope Francis quoted the "Song of Moses" (Dt 32:3-4), "a beautiful confession of faith, but also a memory of history lived with God", whose central point was God's faithfulness. When Moses pronounced this confession of faith he was very old, but he had the ability to see symbolically, as the elderly can. An old person who is granted this lucidity is a precious gift for the generation that is to follow," said Francis. "Listening personally and directly to the story of the faith lived, with all its ups and downs, is irreplaceable".

In this regard, the Pope, deviating from the planned speech, wanted to give his personal testimony: "The hatred and anger for the war was transmitted to me by my grandfather, who had fought at the Piave in 1914. He told me about the suffering of war, and you don't learn that from books". This is why, the Pope said, it is important to go beyond today's mentality that tends to "discard" the elderly.

The transmission of faith must be accompanied by the passion of a "lived history". "The stories of life must be transformed into testimony, and the testimony must be loyal". Thus the Gospels themselves tell the story of Jesus without hiding the mistakes, misunderstandings and even betrayals of the disciples. "And faith is transmitted in dialect, that is, in the family language, between grandparents and grandchildren, between parents and grandchildren, so dialogue is very important".

As children we learn the Word of God in catechism classrooms, but as young people we "learn" the true Church in classrooms and in the global information media. The narration of the history of faith should be like the Canticle of Moses," continued the Holy Father, "like the testimony of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. In other words, a story capable of recalling God's blessings with emotion and our failings with loyalty". The Pope hoped that in catechesis itineraries the habit of listening to the stories of the lived experience of the elderly could be established, which could reveal the blessings received from God, but also their lack of faithfulness. Only in this way, "guided by the Lord Jesus, can elderly and young people enter together into his Kingdom of life and love".

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