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Monday, June 10, 2013


Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study at noon today to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He first noted that the month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the greatest human expression of divine love”.

Popular piety,” he said, “embraces many symbols and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God's mercy. It is not, however, an imaginary symbol but a real symbol that represents the centre, the source from which flows the salvation for all of humanity.” Among various references in the Gospels to the Heart of Jesus, the Pope emphasized the witness of Christ's death according to St. John. When Jesus was already dead, a soldier pierced his side with a lance and immediately blood and water flowed out. “John recognized in that, apparently random, sign the fulfilment of the prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed upon the Cross, spring forth forgiveness and life for all humanity.”

But Jesus' mercy is not just a feeling. It is a force that gives life, that brings humanity back to life! Today's Gospel reading says the same thing, in the story of the widow of Nain. Jesus, with his disciples, is arriving in Nain, a village in Galilee, at exactly the moment of a funeral. A young man, the only son of a widowed woman is being carried out to be buried. Jesus' gaze immediately fixes upon the crying mother. The Gospel writer Luke tells us: 'When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her'. This compassion is God's love for humanity. It is mercy, that is, God's attitude in contact with human misery, with our indigence, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term 'compassion' recalls the maternal womb: indeed, a mother feels a reaction all her own when faced with her children's pain. That is how God loves us, Scripture says.”

And what is the fruit of this love, this mercy? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain: 'Do not weep', and he called to the dead son and woke him as if from sleep. Let's think about this. It's beautiful. God's mercy gives life to the man, raises him from the dead. The Lord always looks upon us with mercy … awaits us with mercy. Let us not be afraid to draw near to him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy!”

After the Marian prayer, the Bishop of Rome noted that today, in Krakow, Poland, two Polish nuns are being beatified: Zofia Czeska-Maciejowska, who founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first half of the 17th century, and Malgorzata Lucja Szewczyk, who founded the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God (Seraphic Sisters) in the 19th century. “With the Church in Krakow, let us give thanks to the Lord!”

Lastly he addressed a group of pilgrims from the Italian city of Ortona where relics of the Apostle Thomas are venerated, thanking them for the journey “from Thomas to Peter” that they had undertaken.

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