Vatican City, 22 December 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis met with employees of the Holy See, whom he thanked fervently for their work during the last year. He dedicated some special words to the Italians present, as “during all the history of the Church and the Roman Curia they have worked regularly with a generous and faithful spirit, placing at the service of the Holy See and Peter's Successor their unique laboriousness and filial devotion, offering the Church great Saints, Popes, martyrs, missionaries and artists that no passing cloud in history will be able to obscure”. He also thanked workers from other countries, “who generously work in the Curia, far from their homelands and their families, representing for the Curia the face of the Church's 'Catholicity'”.
The Pope encouraged those present to consider a text that he had mentioned in his discourse to the Roman Curia shortly beforehand, treating it as a “starting point for a fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for the Holy Nativity and the New Year. He exhorted them to receive the Sacrament of Confession “with a docile heart, to receive the mercy of the Lord, who knocks on the door of our heart, in the joy of the family”.
Francis emphasised the word “care” and explained that “caring means manifesting diligent and thoughtful interest, that directs our heart and our activities towards someone or something; it means looking with attention to those who are in need of care without thinking of anything else; it means accepting to give or receive care”. To “transform this Holy Nativity into a true opportunity to heal every wound and every lack”, he urged those present to take care of their spiritual life, their relationship with God, and to look after their family life and relationships with others. This means caring about one's way of speaking, purifying language of offensive words; healing the wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness; caring for one's work, performing it with enthusiasm, humility and passion; curing oneself of envy, lust, hatred and the negative feelings that devour our inner peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people; curing oneself of the rancour that leads us to revenge and the idleness that leads to existential euthanasia. Caring for the poorest, the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and foreigners, and making sure that the Holy Nativity never becomes a celebration of commercial consumerism, appearances and pointless gifts, or superfluous waste, but rather of the joy of welcoming the Lord into the creche of the heart”.
“Imagine how our world would change if each one of us began straight away”, he remarked. “This is the true Nativity: the feast of the poverty of the God Who annihilated Himself, assuming the nature of a slave; of God Who served at the table; of God Who hid Himself from the intelligent and the wise and instead revealed Himself to the smallest, the simple and the poor. It is above all the feast of Peace brought to earth by the baby Jesus, … the peace the Angels sang”. He continued, “Peace needs our enthusiasm, our care, to warm our frozen hearts, to encourage distrusting souls and to brighten jaded eyes with the light of Jesus' face”.
The Pope concluded by asking forgiveness for his shortcomings, and those of his colleagues, and also for the various scandals “that do a great deal of damage”, he commented. “Forgive me and, please, pray for me”.