· Vatican City ·

After the Marian prayer, the Pope invites people to pray the Rosary especially for Ukraine

May the leaders of nations listen to the desire for peace of the people who suffer

 May the leaders of nations listen to  the desire for peace of the people who suffer  ING-019
12 May 2023

After praying the Regina Caeli with the faithful on Sunday, 7 May, the eve of the traditional Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii, Pope Francis invited everyone to pray the Rosary during the month of May, asking Our Lady for the gift of peace, in particular for Ukraine. Earlier he had reflected on the day’s Gospel reading of John which recounts Jesus’ farewell discourse. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words which he delivered in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Gospel of today’s Liturgy (Jn 14:1-12) is taken from Jesus’ last discourse before his death. The disciples’ hearts are troubled, but the Lord speaks reassuring words to them, inviting them not to be afraid: do not be afraid. Indeed, he is not abandoning them, but is going to prepare a place for them and to guide them towards that destination. The Lord today thus shows all of us the wonderful place to go, and, at the same time, tells us how to get there; he shows us the path to travel. He tells us where to go and how to get there.

First of all, where to go. Jesus sees the disciples’ distress, he sees their fear of being abandoned, just as happens to us when we are forced to separate from someone we care for. And so, he says: “I go to prepare a place for you … that where I am you may be also” (vv. 2-3). Jesus uses the familiar image of home, the place of relationships and intimacy. In the Father’s house — he says to his friends, and to each one of us — there is room for you, you are welcome, you will be received forever with the warmth of an embrace, and I am in Heaven to prepare a place for you! He prepares for us that embrace with the Father, the place for all eternity.

Brothers and sisters, this Word is a source of consolation, and it is a source of hope for us. Jesus did not separate himself from us, but rather opened the way for us, anticipating our final destination: the encounter with God the Father, in whose heart there is a place for each one of us. So, when we experience fatigue, bewilderment and even failure, let us remember where our life is headed. We must not lose sight of the destination, even if today we run the risk of overlooking it, of forgetting the final questions, the important ones: where are we going? Where are we headed? What is worth living for? Without these questions, we flatten our life only into the present. We think we must enjoy it as much as possible and end up living day by day, without purpose, without a goal. Instead, our homeland is in heaven (cf. Phil 3:20); let us not forget the greatness and the beauty of our destination!

Once we have discovered the destination, we too, like the apostle Thomas in today’s Gospel, wonder: how can we get there? What is the way? At times, especially when there are major problems to face and there is the sensation that evil is stronger, we wonder: what should I do, what path should I follow? Let us listen to Jesus’ answer: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). “I am the way”. Jesus himself is the way to follow to live in truth and to have life in abundance. He is the way and therefore faith in him is not a “package of ideas” in which to believe, but rather a road to be travelled, a journey to undertake, a path with him. It is following Jesus, because he is the way that leads to unfailing happiness. Following Jesus and imitating him, especially with gestures of closeness and mercy towards others. This is the compass for reaching Heaven: loving Jesus, the way, becoming signs of his love on earth.

Brothers and sisters, let us live the present, let us take the present in hand, but let us not be overwhelmed. Let us look up, let us look to Heaven, let us remember the goal, let us think that we are called to eternity, to the encounter with God. And, from Heaven to the heart, let us today renew the choice of Jesus, the choice to love him and to walk behind him. May the Virgin Mary, who following Jesus, has already reached the destination, sustain our hope.

After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday two Beatifications were celebrated. In Montevideo, in Uruguay, Bishop Jacinto Vera, who lived in the 19th century, was beatified. A pastor who took care of his people, he bore witness to the Gospel with generous missionary zeal, promoting social reconciliation in the tense atmosphere of the civil war. In Granada, in Spain, the young Maria de la Concepción Barrecheguren y García was beatified. Confined to bed by a serious illness, she bore her sufferings with great spiritual fortitude, inspiring admiration and consolation in all. She died in 1927 at the age of 22. A round of applause for the two Blesseds!

I heartily greet you all, people of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and many countries, in particular the faithful from Australia, Spain, England and students from Saint Thomas College in Lisbon.

I greet the Meter Association and its founder Don Fortunato Di Noto, who continue their commitment to prevent and combat violence against minors. Today they are marking the 27th Day of Child Victims. For 30 years they have been defending childhood from abuse and violence. I am close to you, brothers and sisters, and I accompany you with my prayers and affection. Never tire of being on the victims’ side. The Christ Child is there waiting for you. Thank you!

I greet the group of fibromyalgia patients of the Medical Area of the Vicariate of Rome; the Sisters of Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo; the Lay Association of Mercy; the Lay Camillian Family; the faithful of Pozzuoli, Caraglio and Valle Grana; and the choirs of Empoli and Ponte Buggianese.

A special greeting goes to the new Swiss Guards, their families and friends, and the Swiss authorities who took part in celebrating this distinguished Corps. A round of applause for the Guards, everyone!

Tomorrow in Pompeii the traditional Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary will be raised, in the Shrine which Blessed Bartolo Longo wished to dedicate to peace. In this month of May, let us pray the Rosary, asking the Blessed Virgin for the gift of peace, especially for battered Ukraine. May the leaders of nations listen to the desire of the people who suffer and who want peace!

I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!