· At the Angelus Pope Francis prays for the victims of the attacks in Dhaka and Baghdad, and that the hearts of the violent may be converted ·
“Let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of the violent blinded by hate”: this was the appeal for prayer that Pope Francis launched in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks which bloodied the capital cities of Bangladesh and Iraq between Friday evening and Saturday night. At the Angelus on Sunday, 3 July, Pope Francis expressed his closeness “to the families of the victims and those injured in the attack that happened yesterday in Dhaka, and also in that which happened in Baghdad”, inviting the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to recite a Hail Mary “for the deceased”.
Earlier, commenting on the Gospel passage of the day, Pope Francis spoke about the tenth Chapte of Luke (1-12,17-20), which makes us “consider how necessary it is to invoke God, 'the Lord of harvest to send out laborers'”. These are missionaries, he explained, whose “task is to proclaim a message of salvation”. Not only those “who go afar” are called to this, but “we too, [are] Christian missionaries who express a good word of salvation”. Moreover, he added, this means “to bring to everyone: a message of hope and comfort, of peace and charity”, for “the Kingdom of God is built day by day and already offers on this earth its fruits of conversion, of purification, of love and of comfort among men”. Hence came the invitation to “not destroy” but to “build”, also with the knowledge “of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality” in which the Christian lives, since – the Pope noted – “hostility is always at the beginning of persecutions”. Moreover, he continued, the Christian must “strive to be free from human conditionings of every kind”, which “means abandoning every motive of personal advantage, careerism or hunger for power”. Because, ultimately, “the Christian's mission in the world is splendid, it is a mission intended for everyone, it is a mission of service, excluding no one”, which “requires a great deal of generosity and above all the gaze and the heart facing upward”. And since “there is a great need of Christians who joyfully witness to the Gospel in everyday life”, the Pope wished to express gratitude for “the dedication of so many men and women who daily proclaim the Gospel: priests – those brave parish priests whom we all know – nuns, consecrated women, men and women missionaries”. In this context, Pope Francis addressed the young people present in the Square, asking if anyone had heard “the Lord's call”, and he encouraged them not to be afraid to respond affirmatively. At the end of the Marian prayer, the Pope also indicated a model to follow during the Jubilee of Mercy: the young martyr Maria Goretti, “who forgave her murderer before she died”, and whose liturgical feast day will be on Wednesday, 6 July. “This brave girl”, the Pope said, “deserves a round of applause”.r
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 19, 2018
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