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Pope makes a heartfelt appeal for those dying in the English Channel, Belarus and Africa – AsiaNews


Francis hopes that “understanding and dialogue can finally prevail over every type of manipulation and direct the will and efforts towards solutions that respect the humanity of these people.” He urges the faithful not to be “sleeping Christians” and “not to allow the heart to become lazy and the spiritual life to soften into mediocrity.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today issued a “heartfelt appeal” for “solutions that respect the humanity” of migrants.

Speaking after the Angelus, the pontiff renewed his call “to those who can contribute to the resolution of these problems, in particular to the civil and military authorities, so that understanding and dialogue can finally prevail over every type of manipulation and direct the will and efforts towards solutions that respect the humanity of these people.”

How many migrants “are vulnerable, even now, to very serious dangers, and how many lose their lives at our borders! I feel pain upon hearing reports about the situation in which so many of them find themselves: those who died in the English Channel; on the borders of Belarus, many of whom are children; those who drown in the Mediterranean.

“[I feel] So much pain thinking about them. For those who are repatriated, to North Africa, captured by traffickers, who turn them into slaves, selling the women, torturing the men… For those who, also this week, tried to cross the Mediterranean looking for a land of well-being and found, instead, a tomb. And many others.”

Earlier, speaking before the recitation of the Marian prayer, informed by today’s Gospel in which Jesus warns us to be ready for his return, Francis warned the faithful not to be “sleeping Christians,” and “not to allow the heart to become lazy and the spiritual life to soften into mediocrity.”

In his address to the almost 20,000 people present in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, Francis said that “Jesus announced desolate events and tribulations, but precisely at this point he invited us not to be afraid. Why? Because everything will be fine? No. Because He will come. He promised it. As he said: ‘stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand’ (Lk 21:28).”

Jesus, the pontiff noted, invited us to be vigilant and pray. “From Christ’s words we see that vigilance is tied to attention: be careful, do not be distracted, i.e., stay awake! Being vigilant means as follow: not to allow the heart to become lazy and the spiritual life to soften into mediocrity.

“Pay attention because we can be ‘sleeping Christians’, without spiritual impulse, without ardour in praying, [who] pray like parrots, without enthusiasm for the mission, without passion for the Gospel, unable to look at the horizon. This leads to ‘dozing off’, keeping things going by inertia, falling into apathy, indifferent to everything but what suits us.” This “is a sad life.”

“We need to be vigilant so as not to drag our days by habit, not to be weighed down, as Jesus put it, by ‘the anxieties of life’ (Lk 21:34). Hence, today is a good opportunity to ask ourselves: What weighs down my spirit? What makes me sit in the chair of laziness? It is sad to see Christians in armchairs.”

In view of this, the Pope calls on the faithful to ask themselves: “What are the mediocrities that paralyse me, the vices that crush me to the ground and prevent me from raising my head? With regard to the burdens that weigh on the shoulders of my brothers, am I attentive or indifferent?”

Such questions are good for us “because they help guard the heart against sloth, which is a great enemy of spiritual life. Sloth is that laziness that plunges us into sadness, which takes away the taste for life and the desire to do things. It is an evil spirit that nails the soul into torpor, stealing its joy.”

Prayer is the remedy against this “drift” towards sadness. “It is prayer that keeps the lamp of the heart lit. Especially when we feel enthusiasm cools, prayer rekindles it, because it brings us back to God, to the centre of things. It awakens the soul from sleep and focuses it on what matters, on the purpose of existence.

“Even on the fullest of days, let us not neglect prayer. Prayer from the heart can help us, by often repeating brief invocations. During Advent, [let’s] get used to saying, for example: ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. Just that. Let us repeat this prayer throughout the day” and “the soul shall remain alert!”





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