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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Angelus with reflections about Jesus, rest for the soul

At noon today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's gospel, Jesus says: Come to me, you who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest (Mt 11:28).  The Lord does not keep this phrase for one of his friends, no, he offers it to all those who are tired and overburdened by life.  Who can consider him- or herself apart from this invitation?  The Lord knows how demanding life can be.  He knows that many things tire out the heart: deceptions and past wounds, weights that we carry and burdens that we bear in the present, uncertainties and preoccupations about the future.

Faced with all of this, the first word Jesus utters is an invitation, an invitation to move, to react: Come.  I am wrong, when things go wrong and I stay where I am, I can just lay down.  This would seem evident, but at times it is difficult to act and to open ourselves!  This is not easy.  In moments of doubt it is natural that we should want to be alone, to think about how unjust life is, how much others are ungrateful and how bad the world seems to be, and so on.  We all know this.  Sometimes, we immediately live such terrible experiences, but in this way, we close ourselves off from others and focus within ourselves, we see everything as black.  Then we manage to get acquainted with the sadness that comes into our homes: this sadness spreads, it is a terrible thing to be sad.  Instead, Jesus wants to draw us out from these mobile sands and therefore he tells us: Come! - Who? - You, you, you ... The way out is through relationships, through holding hands and raising our eyes toward the one who truly loves us.

In fact, going out of ourselves is not enough, we must know where to go, because many of our goals are illusory: they promise refreshment but only distract us a little, they promise to attain peace and to give us pleasure but leave us in the solitude that we were in before: these are only fireworks.  This is the reason why Jesus shows us where to go: Come to me.  Many times, when we are faced by life's weight or a situation that weighs us down, we should try to speak about it with someone who will listen to us - with a friend, with an expert.  It is good to do this, but don't forget Jesus!  Let us not forget to open ourselves to Him and to tell him about our lives, to entrust the people and situations of our lives to him.  Perhaps there are parts of our lives that we have never shared with Him, things about us that have remained in the shadows, things about us that have never been enlightened by the Lord.  Every one of us has our own history.  If someone has such a darkened past, look for Jesus, go to a missionary of mercy, go to a priest, go ... But go to Jesus and tell him all about it.  Today, He says to each of us: Take courage, don't surrender to the weight of life, don't close yourself off because of fear or sinfulness; come to me!

He is waiting for us, he is always waiting, not to solve our problems as though with magic, but to strengthen us so that we can face our problems.  Jesus will not remove the weight from our lives, but rather he removes the anguish from our hearts, he does not separate us from the cross but carries it with us.  With him, every weight becomes lighter (cf Mt 11:30), since he is the refreshment we seek.  When Jesus enters into our lives, peace enters also, a peace that remains even in the midst of trials, in our sufferings.  Let us go to Jesus, let us give him our time, let us meet him every day in prayer, in a trusting personal dialogue; let us familiarize ourselves with his Word, rediscovering his forgiveness without the burden of fear, let us grow hungry for his Bread of Life: let us allow ourselves to feel loved and consoled by Him.

It is he himself who asks us, almost insisting.  He also repeats this invitation at the end of today's gospel passage: Learn from me ... and find rest for your life (Mt 11:29).  In this way, we learn to go to Jesus and, while during these summer months we seek a bit of rest from that which tires out the body, let us not forget to find true restoration in the Lord.  May the Virgin Mary our Mother help us in this quest; she always cares for us when we are tired and oppressed and she accompanies us on our way to Jesus.

After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I warmly welcome all of you, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and from various other countries.  You are courageous, with all this sunshine, with this heat, in the square.  Good for you!

In particualar, I greet the Polish faithful who have come on bicycle from Chełm, the Archdiocese of Lublin (Poland) also with a memory of the great pilgrimage which is taking place today involving the Polish workers from Radio Maria at the Shrine of Częstochowa.  Let us accompany this pilgrimage involving the Polish people by reciting together the Hail Mary.

Hail Mary ...

I joyfully greet the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate and I bless the work of their General Chapter, which begins today: as well as the priests from various countries who are taking part in the course for seminary formators offered by the Sacerdos Institute here in Rome.

A special greeting to all the children who are part of the Puzangalan Choir - which means hope - from Taiwan.  Thank you for your song!  And also the Alpine Choir from Palazzolo sull'Oglio; and greetings to the faithful from Conversano.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye.
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