On Saturday, Pope Francis gave his Christmas address, and spoke of the birth of Christ, as well as world events in need of prayer.
“The Word of God, who created the world and who gives meaning to history and to humanity’s journey, became flesh and came to dwell among us,” Francis began. “He came like a whisper, like the murmur of a gentle breeze, to fill with wonder the heart of every man and woman who is open to this mystery.”
The Pope continued, noting that God doesn’t desire a monologue, but a “dialogue” with his followers, and that the coming of Jesus into the world was His way of showing us “encounter and dialogue.”
Francis stated that in this time of the pandemic, we have been strained.
“Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together,” the Pope said, adding that the idea of dialogue also applies to “international” affairs.
“We have become so used to them [conflicts, crises and disagreements] that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence; we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters,” Francis continued.
The ongoing war in Syria, struggles in Iraq and in Yemen, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the difficulty in Lebanon were all mentioned by Francis as things for listeners to keep in mind.
“Let us ask him for the strength to be open to dialogue. On this festive day, let us implore him to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation and fraternity. Let us now turn to him in prayer,” the Pope said before asking Jesus to provide comfort to the Afghans, “sustain” the people of Myanmar, and prevent conflict in Ukraine.
“Be a source of light and support for all those who believe in and strive, despite all obstacles, to advance encounter and dialogue,” Francis said.
He continued, offering prayer for those in North Africa, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
“Son of God, comfort the victims of violence against women, which has increased in this time of pandemic. Offer hope to young children and adolescents suffering from bullying and abuse,” the Pope stated. “Show consolation and warmth to the elderly, especially those who feel most alone. Give serenity and unity to families, the first educators of their children and the basis of the fabric of society.”
He prayed for help in the pandemic, that vaccines and medical care are available to those who need them; and for “military and civilian prisoners of war.”
Concluding, Pope Francis said:
Dear brothers and sisters, amid all the many problems of our time, hope prevails, “for to us a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the word of God, who became an infant, capable only of crying, and in need of help for everything. He wished to learn how to speak, like every other child, so that we might learn to listen to God, our Father, to listen to one another and to dialogue as brothers and sisters. O Christ, born for our sake, teach us to walk beside you on the paths of peace.
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