Francis: “Please stop! Enough with all these child deaths

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/27/2014 - 20:29

“Enough with all these child deaths! It's time to stop!” At his Sunday Angelus, July 27, the Pope sent out an appeal for three crisis-stricken parts of the world: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. “May God give the people and their leaders the wisdom and strength to carry along the path of peace with determination, resolving all disagreements with the tenacity of dialogue.”

The Pope urged the world to “bear in mind the lessons of the past”, allowing “dialogue” and “peaceful reasoning” to prevail. With the centenary of the First World War just a day away, the Pope recalled the tragedy of the conflict. “I hope the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Francis said.

“All is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. No more war. I think above all of the children, whose hope and future are wrenched away from them; dead children, wounded children, orphaned children, children who play with remnants of the war and are not able to smile; please stop, I ask you this with all my heart.” The Pope underlined the importance of “not putting personal interests at the centre but the common good and respect for each individual.”

“Let us remember,” Francis said speaking off the cuff, “that all is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. No more war!” Meanwhile, Vatican Radio has published some excerpts from the Pope's discussion with the bishops of Caserta, the southern Italian city he visited yesterday: “Unity among bishops is important for the unity of the Church,” he said in one remark.

“Some Church historians say that in some of the first Councils fist would fly but bishops eventually reached an agreement. It is bad news when bishops start gossiping about one another and form groups,” the Pope said. “This is not good because the unity of the Church is broken, when we bishops should act as an example of Church unity.” “We are so often a Church full of angry people: this brings sadness and bitterness and there is no joy.” When we meet a priest who is constantly angry and tense, we think this man must drink vinegar for breakfast, eat pickled vegetables at lunch and have a long tall lemonade at dinnertime,” teh Pope joked. “This kind of life is not good because it gives the image of an angry Church.” “Joy is the right way to go. Feeling angry is normal, it's ehalthy to feel angry now and again. But living in a constant state of anger is not what the Lord wants and it leads to sadness and division.” “What we need to do is to open up to people and say the right thing, with patience.”

But the most striking reflection Francis shared with his audience today, was that about children in conflict areas being denied their childhood: “Let us remember taht all is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. Brothers and sisters: no more war, no more war. I think above all of the children, whose hope of a respectable life and of a future are wrenched away from them; dead children, mutilated children, children who play with remnants of the war instead of toys please stop, I ask you this with all my heart, stop, please.”

“Christians cannot keep their faith a secret because it permeates through every word and every gesture, even the simplest daily gestures: the love God gave us through Jesus comes through.” So “let us pray for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that her Kingdom of love, justice and peace may live within us and in the entire world,2 he stressed. “The Gospel introduces you to the real Jesus, to the living Jesus; it speaks to your heart and changes your life. So leave everything. You can cnage your way of life or continue what you were doing before when you are someone else, you are reborn: you will have found what it is that gives meaning, taste and light to everything, even to hardship, suffering and death.” “Everything has a meaning, even sickness and death, when you find this treasure which Jesus calls the Kingdom of God, God reigns in your life,in our life, that is; Love, peace and joy reign in every person, in all people.”

The Pope urged faithful to read the Gospel every day, to carry it in their pocket or keep it on their bedside table, because reading the Gospel is what brings us joy. Today Francis reflected on the parables of the treasure hidden in the field and the valuable pearl, which he defined as “two mini masterpieces”. “They show us that the discovery of God's Kingdom can happen all of a sudden, as it did in the farmer's case, when he unexpectedly discovered a treasure as he was ploughing the soil; or it can happen after a long time searching, as it did in the pearl mearchant's case. In both cases, the treasure and the pearl are worth more than any other possession. When the farmer and the merchant find their treasures they give up everything else in order to have them. They don't dither or reflect, they are immediately aware of the unequaled value of what they have discovered and are willing to lose everything in order to have it.”

The same applies to the Kingdom of God,” the Pope said. “Those who find it have no doubts; they feel that it is what they were looking for, what they were waiting for and that it is the exact response to their deepest aspirations. And it really is like this: those who know Jesus, those who meet him in person are fascinated and drawn in by his goodness, all the truth, all the beauty all the humbleness and simplicity.” “So many people, so many saints have been so struck by Jesus when they have read the Gospel with an open heart, that they have converted to Him,” Francis observed quoting St. Francis of Assisi who “was a 'rose water' Christian”. “When he read the Gospel in a key moment of his youth, he found Jesus and discovered the Kingdom of God. And that was when all his dreams of earthly gloy vanished,” said Francis, the first ever Pope to name himself after the saint.

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By Giacomo Gwleazzi