Pope: The saints, authoritative witnesses of Christian hope
During the Angelus, Pope Francis called on the faithful to live the Beatitudes, bearing witness, like the saints. "against the tide" of the world’s ideals. The pontiff urged the warring parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to engage in active talks; he also turned his thoughts to the peoples of the Aegean hit by an earthquake. Francis also mentioned the beatification of Fr Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis offered his reflections on the solemnity the Church celebrates today, All Saints.
“The Saints and Blesseds are the most authoritative witnesses of Christian hope,” the pontiff said, “because they lived it fully in their lives, amidst joys and sufferings, putting into practice the Beatitudes that Jesus preached and which resound in the Liturgy.”
In his address to the few hundreds of faithful in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayers, Francis reminded them of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh; he also called on the warring parties to engage in active talks. In this war-torn region, ceasefires between Armenians and Azeris are routinely violated.
The Pope turned his thoughts to the peoples of the Aegean region, hit by an earthquake two days ago.
With respect to today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12), Francis focused on two beatitudes, the second and fourth.
“The second one is this: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Mt 5:4). These words seem contradictory because mourning is not a sign of joy and happiness. Death, illness, moral adversity, sin and mistakes are reasons for mourning: simply everyday life, fragile, weak, marked by hardships; a life wounded at times and pained by ingratitude and misunderstandings.
“Jesus proclaims blessed those who mourn this reality, and who, despite everything, put their trust in the Lord and place themselves under His shadow. They are not indifferent, nor do they harden their hearts when they are in pain, but they patiently hope for God’s comfort. And they experience this comfort even in this life.
“In the third Beatitude, Jesus states: ‘Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth’ (Mt 5:5). Meekness is characteristic of Jesus, who said of Himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). The meek are those who know how to control themselves, who leave space for others, listening to others, who respect others’ way of living, his or her needs and requests.
“They do not intend to overwhelm or diminish others, they do not want to be on top of or dominate everything, nor do they impose their ideas or their own interests to the detriment of others. These people, not appreciated by the world and its mindset, are, instead, precious in God’s eyes. God gives them the promised land as an inheritance, that is, eternal life. This beatitude also begins here below and is fulfilled in Heaven.”
Urging the faithful to live the Beatitudes, Francis said that they are a way of going “against the tide" of the world’s mindset. Above all he stressed "meekness" as something needed in today’s society, so inclined towards conflict and violence. “We need meekness to go forward on the path of holiness,” he explained. “Listening, respecting, not attacking: meekness.”
“Today’s solemnity that honours All the Saints reminds us of the personal and universal vocation to holiness, and proposes us sure models for the journey, which everyone undertakes in their own unique and unrepeatable way, following the ‘imagination’ of the Holy Spirit.”
“This immense family of Christ’s faithful disciples has a Mother, the Virgin Mary. We venerate her under the title of Queen of All Saints, but she is first and foremost the Mother who teaches everyone how to welcome and follow her Son. May she help us nourish the desire for holiness, walking along the path of the Beatitudes.”
Following the Marian prayer, Francis mentioned the beatification of Fr Michael McGivney, an American priest who founded the Catholic association of the Knights of Columbus.