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With a piece of Elijah's mantle

· ​Pope Francis at the close of the Spiritual Exercises ·

The meditations this morning, Friday 27 February, in Ariccia were the last of the Spiritual Exercises in which the Pontiff and members of the Roman Curia participated. Meditations were led by Carmelite, Fr Bruno Secondin, in the chapel of the House of Divin Maesto belonging to the Pauline Fathers. At the end of his reflection Friday morning, Pope Francis wanted to thank the preacher. “On behalf of everyone, myself included,” the Pope said, “ I would like to thank the Father, for his work with us in the exercises. It isn't easy to lead priests in exercises! We are all a little complicated, but you managed to do some sowing. May the Lord make these seeds that you gave us grow. And I wish for myself and I wish for us all that we may leave here with a little piece of Elijah's mantle, in our hands and in our hearts. Thank you, Father”.

The last stop of the itinerary of reflection and prayer proposed by Fr Secondin was centered on the biblical narrative in the Second Book of Kings (2:1-14) which describes Elijah's final farewell to his disciples and to Elisha, his ascent in the chariot of fire and the start of the mission of Elisha, who disrobes himself and puts on the mantle of his master and, on the River Jordan, he is recognized as the true heir of the prophet. It is an intense story, filled with tenderness, in which the characteristic hardness of Elijah melts a little. The Prophet learns in some way learns – and we too should learn, Fr Secondin suggested “to offer embraces of hope and tenderness” - from his disciple who is affectionate and patient.

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