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Pope Francis at Tbilisi Mass: God’s consolation calls us to be childlike

Written by on October 2, 2016

(Vatican Radio)  In Tbilisi Saturday, Pope Francis offered words of consolation to Georgia’s small Catholic community  and invited the faithful to be like little children who are so lovingly embraced by God.

Celebrating Mass at Tbilisi’s Mikheil Meskhi Stadium on day two of his pastoral visit to the country, Pope Francis spoke of the “importance of women” as one of the nation’s many treasures.

Quoting Saint Therese of the Child Jesus whose feast is celebrated on this day, the Pope said, “‘they love God in much larger numbers than men do.’”  He noted the “great number of grandmothers and mothers who unceasingly defend and pass on the faith” in Georgia, whose female Saint Nino is credited with first evangelizing in the fourth century.

As a mother takes upon herself the burdens and weariness of her children, “ the Pope stressed, “so too does God take upon himself our sins and troubles” in his infinite love for us.

Keep the door of consolation open to Jesus

God, he said, is always ready to offer us consolation in times of need, “amid the turmoil we experience in life.”  It “liberates us from evil, brings peace and increases our joy.”

But, he warned, we must leave the “doors of consolation” open to Jesus, through daily reading of the Gospel, silent prayers in adoration, confession and receiving  the Eucharist.

When the door of our heart is closed, he said, we “get accustomed to pessimism” and “end up absorbed in our own sadness, in the depths of anguish, isolated.”

God best consoles us, he noted, “when we are united, in communion” and the Church is “the house of consolation” to which we should turn.

Pope Francis urged the faithful to offer to others the same consolation that  they receive.  “Even when enduring affliction and rejection,” he said, “a Christian is always called to bring hope to the hearts of those who have given up, to encourage the downhearted, to bring the light of Jesus…and his forgiveness.”

“Countless people suffer trials and injustice and live in anxiety,” he continued.  And though God’s consolation cannot take away our problems, he said, it “gives us the power to love, to peacefully bear pain.”

Consolation: the Church’s urgent mission

Receiving and bringing God’s consolation, he stressed, is the Church’s “urgent” mission.

And in order to do this, he said, we must become, as Jesus tells us, like a little child.  “For God is not known through grand ideas and extensive study,” he noted, “but rather through the littleness of a humble and trusting heart.”  Likewise, prestige and earthly success mean little to God who wishes us to empty ourselves of such things.  “A child has nothing to give and everything to receive,” the Pope went on: “the one who becomes like a little child is poor in self but rich in God.”

We are not the masters of our lives:  live in simplicity like children

Children have much to teach us, he observed: they show us that God “accomplishes great things in those who put up no resistance to him, who are simple and sincere, without duplicity.”

The Pope reminded the faithful that we are all children of the Father: “not masters of our lives” or “autonomous and self-sufficient adults,” but children “who need love and forgiveness.”

In the same way, Christian communities who live the Gospel with this simplicity may be “poor in means” but “are rich in God.”  And blessed are those “Shepherds,” the Pope said, “who do not ride the logic of worldly success, but follow the law of love: welcoming, listening, serving.”  Blessed too, he observed, is the Church “who does not entrust herself to the criteria of functionalism and organizational efficiency, nor worries about her image.”

Again quoting St. Theresa, Pope Francis concluded his Homily by inviting the faithful to “bear with the faults of others” and delight in the “smallest acts of virtue we see them practice.”  Charity, he said, “cannot remain hidden in the depths of our hearts.”

Courtesy: Vatican Radio News

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