Sunday, December 1, 2019

Visiting in Greccio

This afternoon, the Holy Father, Pope Francis made a brief visit to the Franciscan Shrine at Greccio, the place where Saint Francis of Assisi built the first Manger scene.

During his visit, the Holy Father offered the following words to the Franciscan Friars who are resident in that place.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
offered to the Franciscan community at Greccio

Pope Francis
The greatest of Francis' messages is witness.  That phrase: Preach the gospel, and if necessary also with words.  It is not a matter of proselytism, of convincing.  The least, the small ones, sinners ... witness.  He made us from the earth, as the Book of Genesis tells us, He made us from the soil, we are earth ... He fell in love with our earth ... The witness of the love of Jesus ... Poverty, humility ... Thank you.

Thank you for your visit!  We are praying for you ...

Pope Francis
I need your prayers.

Our Father ...


The Holy Father also offered the following brief meditation to the faithful who were gathered for his visit.

Brief Meditation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the visit to Greccio

How many thoughts crowd the mind in this holy place! And yet, before the rock of these mountains that were so dear to Saint Francis, what we are called to do is, first of all, to rediscover simplicity.

The nativity scene, which Saint Francesco created for the first time in this small space, in imitation of the narrow cave of Bethlehem, speaks for itself. Here, there is no need to multiply words, because the scene that is placed before our eyes expresses all the wisdom we need in order to capture what is essential.

Kneeling before the crib we discover how important it is for our life, which is so often frenetic, in order to find moments of silence and prayer. Silence, to contemplate the beauty of the face of the child Jesus, the Son of God born in the poverty of a stable. Prayer, to express our thank you and to be amazed by this immense gift of love that is given to us.

The great mystery of our faith is manifested in this simple and admirable sign of the nativity scene, which popular piety welcomed and has passed on from generation to generation: God loves us to the point of sharing our humanity and our life. He never leaves us alone; he accompanies us with his hidden yet not invisible presence. In every circumstance, in joy and in pain, He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Like the shepherds in Bethlehem, we welcome the invitation to go to the cave, to see and to recognize the sign that God has given us. Then our hearts will be filled with joy, and we will be able to take that joy to places where there is sadness; our hearts will be filled with hope, to be shared with those who have lost all hope.

Let us recognize ourselves in the person of Mary, who laid her Son in the manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. With her and with Saint Joseph, her husband, we look to the Child Jesus. His smile, which blossomed in the night, scatters indifference and opens hearts to the joy of those who feel loved by our Father who is in heaven.
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

Apostolic Letter of His Holiness, Pope Francis entitled Admirabile Signum (Admirable Sign), on the meaning and the importance of the Nativity scene

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