is the full text of Pope Francis’ Angelus address, delivered today to a large
crowd assembled in St. Peter’s Square. Via
brothers and sisters,
Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in the life of Christ:
the moment in which, as St. Luke writes, “[Jesus] steadfastly set His face to
go to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is the final destination, where Jesus, in his last
Passover, must die and rise again, and so to fulfill His mission of salvation.
that time forth, after the steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the
finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to [be allowed to]
follow Him, He says clearly what are the conditions: not having a permanent
abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing
to nostalgia for the past.
also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem
to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing
welcome, they are [simply] to proceed further, to move on. Jesus never imposes.
Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: “If you want, come.” The humility
of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose.
this makes us think. It tells us, for example, the importance, even for Jesus,
of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father’s voice, and following it.
Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, “remote-controlled”: He was
the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm
decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last timea decision taken in His
conscience, but not on His own: with the Father, in full union with Him! He
decided in obedience to the Father, in profound intimate attunement to the
Father’s will. For this reason, then, was the decision was steadfast: because
it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the
strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free
one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which
comes from this dialogue with the Father, this dialogue with God. Jesus wants
neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God,
nor weak Christians, without will: “remote-controlled” Christians, incapable of
creativity, who seek ever to connect with the will of another, and are not
free. Jesus wants us free, and this freedomwhere is it found? It is to be
found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian does not
know how to talk with God, does not know how to listen to God, in his own
conscience, then he is not freehe is not free.
we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this
does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever
suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the
interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the
voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to
our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and
once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.
Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense. When the Lord had made
it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a
great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of
God that spoke to his heartand this example of our father does much good to
all of us, as an example to follow.
Our Lady, with great simplicity, listened to and meditated deep within
herself upon the Word of God and what was happening to Jesus. She followed her
Son with deep conviction, with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become more
and more men and women of consciencefree in our conscience, because it is in
conscience that the dialogue with God is givenmen and women able to hear the
voice of God and follow it with decision.