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Pope Francis: Our encounter with Jesus fills our hearts with joy
(Vatican Radio) (Vatican Radio) “There are so many young people in the Piazza today . . . It seems like Rio de Janeiro.” Those were the words of Pope Francis as he looked over the crowds of people who braved the August heat to take part in Sunday’s weekly Angelus.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
World Youth Day was at the front of the Pope’s mind as he asked the people to “thank the Lord for this great gift for Brazil, for Latin America and for the world.” He reminded his listeners that “World Youth Days are not ‘fireworks’, not just moments of enthusiasm that end in themselves; rather, they are stages of a long journey.” The Holy Father emphasized that the young people who participate in World Youth Day “are not following the Pope, they are following Jesus Christ, bearing His Cross. And the Pope guides them and accompanies them in this journey of faith and hope.”
Pope Francis departed from his prepared remarks to offer his profound thanks to the people of Brazil, whom he described as “a people of great heart . . . a generous people.”
The Pope went on to ask us to pray with him for a special intention: “that the young people that participated in World Youth Day will be able to translate this experience into their daily journey, in their everyday conduct.” He recalled the “provocative” words of Sunday’s first Reading, from the book of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities . . . all things are vanities.” Young people, he said, “are particularly sensitive to the emptiness of meaning and values that surrounds them. And they, unfortunately, pay the consequences.” He warned against the “poison of emptiness that insinuates itself into our society based on profit and having [things], that deludes young people with consumerism.” But there is an alternative: “the encounter with the living Jesus, in the great family that is the Church, fills the heart with joy, because it fills it with true life, a profound goodness that does not pass away or decay.” True wealth, Pope Francis said, “is the love of God, shared with the brothers . . . he who experiences this love of God does not fear death; he receives peace of heart.”
After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims and visitors, especially the many young people in Saint Peter’s Square. He had particular greetings for pilgrims from Croatia and from a number of Italian dioceses, noting that some had come part way to Rome on foot, while others had made the journey to Saint Peter’s on bicycle.
Finally, Pope Francis spoke about several upcoming liturgical feasts. Noting that Sunday was the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of priests, he greeted pastors and all priests of the world, saying “let us be united in prayer and pastoral charity.”
He also noted that on Monday “we Romans” remember our Mother “Mary, Salus Populi Romani” – Mary the Protectress of the Roman People. Pope Francis' devotion to Mary under this title has been on display since the beginning of his pontificate – he has already visited the famous icon in the papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore several times since his election in March.
Finally, Pope Francis noted that Tuesday, the feast of the Transfiguration, is the 35th anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI.
At the end of his remarks, Pope Francis wished everyone a good Sunday and a good August . . . and a good lunch.
Below, please find Vatican Radio's translation of Pope Francis’ remarks at the recitation of the Angelus for Sunday, 4 August 2013:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Sunday found me in Rio de Janeiro. It was the Holy Mass for conclusion of World Youth Day. I think all of us together should thank the Lord for the great gift of this event, for Brazil, for Latin America, and for the whole world. It was a new stage in the pilgrimage of young people across the continents with the Cross of Christ. We must never forget that the World Youth days are not “fireworks”, moments of enthusiasm that end with themselves; they are stages of a long journey, begun in 1985 through the initiative of Pope John Paul II. He entrusted the Cross to young people, saying, “Go, and I will come with you.” And so it was; and this pilgrimage of young people continued with Pope Benedict, and thanks to God I too have been able to live this wonderful stage in Brazil. Let us always remember: the youth are not following the Pope, they are following Jesus Christ, bearing His Cross. And the Pope guides them and accompanies them in this journey of faith and hope. And so I thank all the young people that have participated, even by making sacrifices. And I thank the Lord also for the other encounters I had with the Pastors and the people of the great Country that is Brazil, and also with the authorities and the volunteers. May the Lord reward all those that worked for this great festival of faith.
I also want to emphasize my gratitude, my deep gratitude, to the Brazilian people. A great people, the people of Brazil, a people of great heart. I won’t forget their warm welcome, their greeting, their affectionate gaze, so much joy! They are a generous people. I ask the Lord to bless them greatly.
I want to ask you to pray with me, that the young people that participated in World Youth Day will be able to translate this experience into their daily journey, in their everyday conduct; and that they will be able to translate it in the most important choices of their life, responding to the personal call of the Lord. Today in the liturgy the provocative words of Qoheleth resonate: “Vanity of vanities . . . all things are vanity” (Ecc. 1, 2). Young people are particularly sensitive to the emptiness of meaning and values that surrounds them. And they, unfortunately, pay the consequences. On the other hand, the encounter with the living Jesus, in the great family that is the Church, fills the heart with joy, because it fills it with true life, a profound goodness that does not pass away or decay: we have seen this in the faces of the youths in Rio. But this experience must face the daily vanity, the poison of emptiness that insinuates itself into our society based on profit and having [things], that deludes young people with consumerism. The Gospel of this Sunday reminds us of the absurdity of basing their happiness on ‘having’. “The rich man says to himself: ‘My soul, you have many good things stored up . . . rest, eat, drink, be merry!’ But God says to him: ‘You fool, this very night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’” (cf. Lk 12, 19-20). Dear brothers and sisters, true wealth is the love of God, shared with the brothers. That love that comes from God and makes us share among ourselves, and makes us help one another. He who experiences this does not fear death, and receives peace of heart. Let us entrust this intention, the intention of receiving the love of God and sharing it with our brothers, to the Virgin Mary.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I greet all of you, and thank you for your presence despite the heat.
I am happy to greet in particular several groups of young people: The Carmelite Youth of Croatia; the young people of Sandon and Fossò, from the diocese of Verona; those of Mozzanica, from the diocese of Cremona; those of Moncalieri, who came part of the way on foot; and those of Bergamo, who came by bicycle. Thank you, all of you!
But there are so many young people in the Piazza today! It seems like Rio de Janeiro . . .
I want to assure you of my special regard for pastors and for all the priests of the world, because today we remember their patron saint, Saint John Mary Vianney. Dear brothers, let us be united in prayer and pastoral charity.
Tomorrow, we Romans remember our Mother, “Salus populi Romani” [English: Protectress of the Roman People]. Let us ask that she might protect us. Let us, all of us together, greet our Mother with a ‘Hail Mary’ . . . All together: "Hail Mary. . . " A greeting for our Mother, all together, a greeting for our Mother [applause together with the people].
I am also pleased to remember the liturgical feast of the Transfiguration, which takes place the day after tomorrow, with a thought of profound gratitude for the Venerable Pope Paul VI, who departed this world on the evening of 6 August 35 years ago.
Dear friends, I wish you a good Sunday and a good August . . . and a good lunch! Arrivederci!