During Mass at the Mother of God shrine in Aglona, Latvia, last Monday, Pope Francis said: “Mary ‘stands near the cross of Jesus,’ close to her son. She stood there, at the foot of the cross, with unwavering conviction, fearless and immovable.

“Mary also shows us how to ‘stand near’ these situations; it demands more than simply passing by or making a quick visit, engaging in a kind of ‘tourism of solidarity, …Rather, it means that those in painful situations should feel us standing firmly at their side and on their side.

“We too are called to ‘touch’ the sufferings of others. Let us go out to meet our people, to console them and accompany them.”

A Churchon the move

During Mass at Santakos Park in Kaunas, Lithuania, last Sunday, Pope Francis said: “A Church on the move is unafraid to go out and get involved, even when it might seem that we pour ourselves out, lose ourselves, in going forth to the weak, the neglected, those dwelling at the margins of life.

“The thirst for power and glory is the sign of those who fail to heal the memories of the past and, perhaps for that very reason, to take an active part in the tasks of the present.

“It is a fruitless and vain attitude that refuses to get involved in building the present, since it has lost contact with the struggles of our faithful people. We cannot be like those spiritual ‘sages’ who only judge from afar and chatter constantly about ‘what ought to be done’.”

Meaning of identity

At a meeting with young people in Vilnius, Lithuania, last Saturday week, Pope Francis said: “Who we really are has to do with our being part of a people. Identity is not the product of a laboratory; that does not exist; it is not concocted in a test tube; a ‘pure blood’ identity: this does not exist.

An identity exists in walking together, in struggling together, in loving together. Identity exists in belonging to a family, to a people. An identity that exists gives you love, tenderness, concern for others… An identity that exists gives you the strength to struggle and at the same time the tenderness to caress.

“Each one of us knows how beautiful it is to belong to a people, but also how tiring it is – it is great that young people get tired; it is a sign they are working – and even, at times, painful; you know this. But that is the basis of our identity; we are not rootless. We are not rootless people.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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