Pope Francis celebrated a grand mass at the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Shastin, thus concluding the 34th international pastoral visit. The Pope encouraged the believers present, “We cannot reduce our faith to a candy bar for a sweet life,” and “Before Jesus, we must be cold and warm,’foot on two boats'”.
(Vatican News Network) On the morning of September 15th, Pope Francis presided over Mass at the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Shastin, Slovakia, concluding the 34th international pastoral visit. There were 90 bishops, more than 500 priests and approximately 60,000 believers who attended the ceremony. Earlier, the pope travelled around the venue in a car for nearly half an hour. The faithful waved small flags to greet the pope, cheered him and sang songs.
The Pope not only blessed this devout people, but also explicitly urged them to be “prophetic people” because Slovakia needs such people now. The Pope said, “This is not an enemy to the world, but a sign of opposition in the world (Luke 2:34)”. The Pope mentioned the Virgin Mary, the model of faith, and detailed the three characteristics of this faith: walking, prophecy, and compassion.
The Pope said, “Mary’s faith is the faith that stands up and walks.” The Virgin has been the “first disciple” all her life, “walking” with the Son, Jesus, until he walked under the cross. “Therefore, the Virgin of the Virgin is a model of the faith of the Slovak people: this is the faith of getting up and walking, always on the pilgrimage to find the Lord, inspired by simplicity and pious respect.”
The Pope added, “Walking, you can overcome a static belief that is only satisfied with some rituals or ancient traditions. But you have to go out of yourselves, carry joy and pain on your shoulders, and let your life be toward God. A pilgrimage with brothers and sisters. Please keep walking forever and don’t stop. If the church stops, it will get sick. If the bishop stops, the church will get sick. If the priest stops, the people of God will get sick. “.
Maria’s faith is also prophetic. The girl of Nazareth used her life as a prophecy, saying that “God has displayed great power in human history, and with His mercy overthrew the logic of the world, exalted the humble people, and devalued the arrogant. people”. The flesh and blood of God’s Word Jesus in her arms, as Simeon put it, “made many people in Israel fall and rise, and became a sign of opposition” (Luke 2:34).
The Pope explained, “We must not forget this: we cannot reduce our faith to a candy bar for a sweet life. Jesus is the sign of opposition. He came to bring the light to the place where there is darkness, expose the darkness and force it to yield. . Therefore, darkness always opposes Him.” “Those who accept Jesus and open to Him will be born again; whoever rejects Him will close themselves in darkness and destroy themselves.”
“In front of Jesus, we must be lukewarm,’foot on two boats’. To accept Jesus means letting Him expose my contradictions, my idols, and evil hints; let Him be my resurrection, He is The one who always made me stand up again, took my hand, and made me start again.”
The third characteristic of Maria’s faith is compassion. She called herself “the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38), and she spent a period of “extreme sorrow” on the Mount Carvalho. Nevertheless, she “only stayed” under the cross. The Pope pointed out: “She does not escape, does not try to save herself, does not use human tactics and mental anesthesia to avoid suffering. This is a clear proof of compassion: stay under the cross. Tears will stay there, but she firmly believes that the Son of God will It can change pain and overcome death.”
“The same is true for us. By looking at the Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows, we can open our hearts to compassionate faith. This compassion allows us to share our lives with the wounded, the suffering, and those who are forced to bear a heavy cross.” The Pope emphasized that “this faith does not remain in the abstract, but allows us to care about our own flesh and blood, and unite and help those in need”. This faith is “humble and unassuming”, watering the gulf of history with redemption. The Pope prayed to God that this Slavic nation would always remain “surprised and grateful for the grace of faith”.
After the mass, the pope thanked those who accompanied him during the three days, including the bishops, civil authorities, members of the Christian Association and observers who attended the mass. The Pope said, “I thank people who cooperate in different ways, especially their prayers”. The Pope finally promised: “I take all of you in my heart!”
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Pope celebrates mass at the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Shastin, Slovakia