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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Meeting with the Nomadelfia Community

At noon today in Rome, in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the Nomadelfia community.

Speech of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the meeting with members of the
Nomadelfia community

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

I am happy to share this meeting with you and to be able to learn a bit more about your experience of community life.  I was touched by your testimonies and I thank you for what you have said.

The Advent season helps us to meditate on the mystery of the Son of God who came in the flesh, who with his birth, restored light and peace to the world.  In the mystery of Christmas, God reveals himself not as the one who is on high and who dominates over the universe, but as the one who made himself small and cae down, taking on the fragile form of a child.  In this way, God teaches us that we should not place ourselves above others, but rather that we are called to lower ourselves, to serve even the needy out of love, to make ourselves small with those who are weak.  If God, through the coming of his Son to the earth, shared himself with us, to the point of making himself like one of us, with the exception of sin, it follows that, according to the words of Jesus, whatever we may have done to one of the least of these, we have done it to Him (cf Mt 25:40 ff).

Father Zeno Saltini, your founder, understood these things very well and, even in the midst of difficulty and misunderstanding, he kept on trusting and going forward, with the aim of bringing the good seed of the gospel even to the most arid lands.  And he succeeded!  Your community of Nomadelfia is proof of that.  Father Zeno comes to us today as a faithful disciple of Christ who, imitating his divine Master, bent down to be close to the sufferings of those who were most in need and those who were poor; thus he became a witness of inexhaustible charity.  In his courage and his perseverance, you are guided in your daily commitment to help the seeds of good he abundantly sowed to spout, inspired by evangelical passion and sincere love for the Church.  Whoever has fed, clothed, welcomed one of the poorest among men, has fed, welcomed, loved the same Son of God.  On the contrary, those who have driven them away, abandoned or forgotten about one of the smallest of God's poor, has sinned against God himself.  As Saint John says: If you do not love your brother who you can see, how can you love God who you cannot see? (cf 1 Jn 4:20).

Dear brothers and sisters, your spiritual patrimony is tied in a special way to the life of fraternity, characterized especially by welcoming children and taking special care of the elderly.  I encourage you to give this example to society, an example of solicitude and of tenderness that is very important.  Children and the elderly are builders of the future of a people: children, because they carry history forward; the elderly, because they pass on the experience and the wisdom of their lives.  Never grow tired of cultivating and feeding this dialogue between various generations, transforming faith into your North star and taking the Word of God as your principal source of lessons about how to incorporate and live these truths concretely in your daily lives.  In this way, you will always be able to imitate more and more closely the closeness of God to all men and to contemplate the image of the child Jesus in the face of every person, especially the poor and the weak.

I wish you all a good journey toward Christmas, and that you will be able to celebrate with joy and peace in your hearts.  May the Lord bless you and may the Virgin Mary protect you.  And I ask you, please, pray for me.
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