The Vatican

"Let us pray for the children who lose their smiles in war."

During today's Audience, Pope Francis prayed for the suffering children who have lost their smiles in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel, and once again prayed for peace. He also recalled the upcoming Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the deaths in Papua New Guinea, the memory today of St. Paul VI, inviting us to read his letter 'Evangelii Nuntiandi', and Bl. Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński.  

Francisco Otamendi-May 29, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope children May 2024

The Pope greets a little girl on World Children's Day, at Mass at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, 25.V.2024 @OSV

On the day of the liturgical memorial of St. Paul VI, whom he called "an ardent pastor of love for Christ," Pope Francis began the liturgy with a speech in which he said: "I am a great pastor of love for Christ. Audience This morning we will begin a new cycle of catechesis, with the theme "The Spirit and the Bride", "in which we will meditate that the Holy Spirit guides the People of God to the encounter with Jesus, our hope". The Bride is the Church, he added.

To do this, according to the Holy Father, we will go through "the great stages of salvation history: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the time of the Church".

In these first catecheses on the Spirit in the Old Testament, "we will not do 'biblical archaeology'. On the contrary, we will discover that what is given as a promise in the Old Testament has been fully realized in Christ. It will be like following the path of the sun from dawn to noon," the Pope stressed.

From chaos to cosmos, from confusion to harmony

In the Genesis account of creation, "the Spirit of God manifests himself as a mysterious power that transforms the world from chaos to cosmos, that is, from confusion to harmony, transforming the formless, empty and dark earth into a beautiful, clean and orderly place. This same Spirit continues to act in us today, ready to bring order to the chaos that can exist in our lives and in our surroundings," the Pontiff said.

The apostle Paul introduces a new element in this relationship between the Holy Spirit and creation. He speaks of a universe that 'groans and suffers as with birth pangs,'" according to Romans 8:22. "It suffers because of man who has subjected it to the 'slavery of corruption'. It is a reality that concerns us closely and dramatically. The Apostle sees the cause of creation's suffering in the corruption and sin of humanity that has dragged it into its estrangement from God. This remains as true today as it was then," Francis added.

"We see the havoc that humanity has wreaked and continues to wreak on creation, especially on that part of it that has the greatest capacity to exploit its resources. St. Francis of Assisi shows us a way out, to return to the harmony of the Creator Spirit: the path of contemplation and praise. The Poor Man wanted the creatures to raise a song of praise to the Creator: 'Praise be to you, my Lord...'. 

Veni creator Spiritus, start with each one of us.

"Brothers and sisters," the Pope continued, "the Spirit of God, who in the beginning transformed chaos into cosmos, is at work to bring about this transformation in every person. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promises: 'I will give you a new heart; I will put a new Spirit within you... I will put my Spirit within you' (Ezek 36:26-27)."

"There is an external chaos -social and political- and an internal chaos within each one of us. The former cannot be cured if we do not begin to cure the latter! May this reflection awaken in us a desire to experience the Creator SpiritFor more than a millennium, the Church has put on our lips the cry to ask: 'Veni creator Spiritus', Come, O Creator Spirit! Visit our minds. Fill the hearts you have created with heavenly grace'".

Corpus Christi

In his words to the pilgrims of different languages, Pope Francis recalled that we are "close to the solemnity of the feast of St. Peter. Corpus Christi. Let us ask the Lord that his Spirit of love may make of us a permanent offering, for the glory of God and the good of his holy People. May Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament bless you and the Blessed Virgin, the most pure tabernacle of his presence, watch over you.

Also to German-speaking pilgrims: "Dear German-speaking pilgrims, the imminent Solemnity of Corpus Domini invites us to adore with living faith the Body and Blood of Christ. In the mystery of the Eucharist he makes himself present through the Holy Spirit to remain with us always and to transform our lives".

To Polish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope addressed "a special thought to the pilgrims gathered in Rome in prayerful memory of the Blessed Cardinal Stefan WyszyńskiHe is for the Church in Poland and in the world a model of fidelity to Christ and Our Lady. Let us learn from him the generosity to respond to the poverty of our time, including that caused by the war in many countries, especially in Ukraine".

Already in Italian. Francis, who has prayed for the victims of the landslide in Papua New Guineasaid a prayer "for the martyred Ukraine, for the girls and boys who have suffered all kinds of physical problems because of the war, children who have to relearn how to walk, to move around, who have lost their smiles. It is very ugly when a child loses his or her smile".

"Let us pray for the Ukrainian children, for those in Palestine and Israel, for the war to end..., and let us not forget Myanmar, and so many countries that are at war. Children in war suffer. Let us ask the Lord to be close to all of them and let us pray for peace", the Pope concluded.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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