On the day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Francis underlines the value of Mary's "here I am!": "It is being open to the Lord, it is the cure for selfishness, the antidote to disatisfaction with life, when we feel that there is always missing something". Today, Bishop Peter Claverie and eighteen religious comrades killed in hatred of the faith are beatified in Algeria.
Francis began a cycle of catechesis dedicated to the "Our Father", highlighting how Jesus was "a man of prayer". "Even if we have been praying for so many years, we must always learn!". "And we do not even know if the prayers we address to God are actually those that He wants to hear."
"Do not talk about others". "If all of us were doing just that - not talking about others - peace would succeed. May the Lord prepare our hearts for the Christmas of the Prince of Peace. But, prepare us by doing us all, our part, to pacify: pacify my heart, my soul, pacify my family, the school, the neighborhood, the workplace ".
"Reaching the two-state solution". "Recognizing and preserving the identity and universal value" of Jerusalem, "combating all forms of extremism and fundamentalism".
It is a period that has "three dimensions": past, present and future. It serves to "purify the faith", to "purify hope" and to "purify vigilance", because the Lord will return.
Pope Francis lit a candle during the Angelus as a sign of hope for the children of Syria. "May God our Lord forgive those who make war, who make weapons to destroy themselves; may the Lord convert their hearts,” he said inviting the faithful to recite a Hail Mary together for his “beloved Syria". Staying awake and praying is how to experience Advent. “But if we think about Christmas as a worldly festival, of consumerism, Jesus will pass by and we shall not see him."
A book-length interview with Francis is about to be released. “Clericalism is the root of many problems, as we can see. Clericalism is also behind the cases of abuse, as well as immaturity and neuroses. We need to pay close attention to this during training.”
Francis sent the Ecumenical Patriarch a letter for the feast day of Saint Andrew. "Our Churches,” he writes, “have safeguarded the Apostolic tradition with great care, along with the teaching of the first Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers, despite the differences that developed in local traditions and in theological formulations, which need to be more deeply understood and clarified.”
Anyone who says he is a Christian but lives as a pagan is "so bad for the people of God". On today's feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, patron of the Church of Constantinople, Francis invites us to be "close to the Church of Andrew", praying "for the unity of the Churches".
The paintings are the work of artist Mauro Valsangiacomo. The exhibition will be open from 15.30 to 18.30 every weekday from December 12 to 23. The Mediterranean as a place of encounter and clash of cultures and peoples; synthesis of civilizations gradually enriched through the contribution of those who have settled down through the millennia. Even today, there are migrants who come from the South and the Middle East in search of the well-being and tranquility enjoyed by Europe.