Pope: without humility one cannot look to God, but only to oneself, like in a mirror
“May each one of us draw near to the creche in our own homes or in the church or in another place, and try to make an act of adoration, inside: ‘I believe you are God, that this baby is God. Please, grant me the grace of humility to be able to understand’.” The pontiff urges Europe to open its heart to migrants. Francis also met with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke to about 5,000 people gathered in the Paul VI Hall for today’s general audience, dedicated to the upcoming Christmas and the birth of Jesus, “the event history cannot dispense with”.
In his address, the pontiff said that we must ask for the “grace” of humility, without which we do not look to God, but to ourselves, as in a mirror. He also urged each of us to approach the manger scene to perform an act of worship to God. He also called on non-believers to “see” Jesus as well.
“I would like to accompany to Bethlehem all those who have no religious restlessness, who do not pose the question of God, or who may even fight against religion, all those who are improperly identified as atheists.
“I would like to repeat to them the message of the Second Vatican Council: ‘The Church holds that the recognition of God is in no way hostile to man's dignity, since this dignity is rooted and perfected in God. […] Above all the Church knows that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart’ (Gaudium et Spes, 21).”
“It was an angel who announced the birth of Jesus, and he did so to some lowly shepherds. And it was a star that showed the Magi the way to Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2:1, 9.10). An angel is a messenger from God. The star reminds us that God created the light (Gn 1:3) and that the Baby would be ‘the light of the world’, as He would define himself (cf. Jn 8:12, 46), the ‘true light that enlightens every man’ (Jn 1:9).
“The shepherds personify the poor of Israel, lowly people who interiorly live with the awareness of their own want. Precisely for this reason, they trust more than others in God. They were the first to see the Son of God made man, and this encounter changed them deeply. The Gospel notes that they returned ‘glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen’ (Lk 2:20).
“The Magi are also around the newborn Jesus (cf. Mt 2:1-12). The Gospels do not tell us who the kings might have been, nor how many there were, nor what their names were. The only thing we know for certain is that they came from a distant country in the East (perhaps from Babylonia, or Arabia, or Persia of that time), they set out on a journey seeking the King of the Jews, whom they identified with God in their hearts because they said they wanted to adore him.
“The Magi represent the pagan peoples, in particular all those who have sought God down through the ages, and who set out on a journey to find Him. They also represent the rich and powerful, but only those who are not slaves to possessions, who are not ‘possessed’ by the things they believe they possess.”
“May each one of us draw near to the creche in our own homes or in the church or in another place, and try to make an act of adoration, inside: ‘I believe you are God, that this baby is God. Please, grant me the grace of humility to be able to understand’.”
“[W]e must ask for the grace of humility: ‘Lord, that I might not be proud, that I might not be self-sufficient, that I might not believe that I am the centre of the universe. Make me humble. Grant me the grace of humility. And with this humility, may I find You’. It is the only way; without humility we will never find God: we will find ourselves.”
“The reason is that the person who is not humble has no horizon in front of him or her. They only have a mirror in which to look at themselves. Let us ask the Lord to break this mirror”.
“Humility is the only way that leads us to God. At the same time, specifically because it leads us to Him, humility leads us also to the essentials of life, to its truest meaning, to the most trustworthy reason for why life is truly worth living. [. . .] Without humility we are ‘cut off’, we are cut off from understanding God and from understanding ourselves.”
At the end of his address, Francis said, “During my visit to Cyprus and Greece, I was able to once again personally touch wounded humanity in refugees and migrants. I also noted how only some European countries are bearing most of the consequences of this migratory phenomenon in the Mediterranean area, while in reality, a shared responsibility is necessary from which no country can exempt itself.”
The pontiff thanked Italian authorities for allowing him to bring a group of people he met during his visit. “[S]ome of them are here among us today. Welcome!
“As a Church, we will take care of them during the coming months. This is a small sign that I hope will serve as a stimulus for other European countries, so that they might allow the local ecclesial communities to take care of other brothers and sisters who are in urgent need of being relocated.
“In fact, there are many local Churches, religious congregations and Catholic organizations who are ready to welcome and accompany them toward a fruitful integration. All that is needed is an open door!”
This morning, before the general audience, Francis met with the Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk in the study of the Paul VI Hall. In this regard, the Holy See Press Office released a statement.
“During the conversation conducted in a spirit of fraternity, some topics of shared concern were discussed, for which both share a commitment to seek concrete human and spiritual answers.
“During the meeting, the Holy Father thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for his greetings and those of Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday. For his part, the Pope expressed sentiments of affection and closeness to the Russian Church and to Patriarch Kirill himself, who recently celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday”.
Francis also remembered “with gratitude the journey of fraternity undertaken together and the conversation they had in Havana in 2016.”