Pope Francis leads a vigil to pray for peace in Syria Sept. 7 in St. Peter's Square. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Below is the full text of Pope Francis’ Angelus address for
September 8, delivered this morning in Rome to the assembled crowd in St. Peter’s
Square, the morning after the Holy Father led a
prayer vigil for peace in Syria in that same space. Translation via
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In the Gospel for today, Jesus reiterates the conditions for
being his disciples: not putting anything before your love for Him, carrying
your cross, and following Him. Many people came up to Jesus, wanted to be one
of His followers; and this would happen especially in the wake of some
prodigious dream, that indicated Him as the Messiah, the King of Israel. But
Jesus doesn’t want to create illusions for anyone. He knows full well what
awaits Him in Jerusalem, the road that the Father is asking Him to take: it’s
the road of the cross, of sacrificing Himself for the redemption of our sins.
Following Jesus doesn’t mean taking part in a triumphal parade! It means
sharing in His merciful love, becoming part of His great mission of mercy
towards each and every man. The mission of Jesus is precisely a mission of
mercy, of forgiveness, of love! Jesus is so merciful! And this universal
forgiveness, this mercy, comes through the cross.
Jesus doesn’t want to carry out this mission alone: He wants
to involve us too, in the mission that the Father entrusted to Him. After the
resurrection, He will say to His disciples. “As the Father sent me, so am I
sending you… If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven” (John 20, 21.22).
A disciple of Jesus gives up all his or her goods, because he or she has found
in Him the greatest Good, within which every other good receives its true worth
and meaning: family relations, other relationships, work, cultural and economic
wealth, and so forth… A Christian detaches from everything, and then finds
everything in the logic of the Gospel, the logic of love and service.
To explain this requirement, Jesus uses two parables: the one
of the tower to be built, and the one of the king who goes to war. The second
parable goes like this: “What king, marching to war against another king, would
not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up
to the other, who was advancing against him with twenty thousand? If not, then
while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for
peace” (Luke 14, 31-32). Here Jesus doesn’t want to discuss war, it’s only a
parable. But at this moment in time, when we’re strongly praying for peace,
this Word of the Lord affects us closely, and fundamentally it says: there’s a
deeper war we must fight, all of us! It’s the strong and brave decision to
renounce evil and its seductions, and to choose good, fully prepared to pay
personally: that’s following Christ, that’s taking up our cross! This deep war
What’s the point of fighting wars, many wars, if you’re not
capable of fighting this deep war against evil? There’s no point! It’s no good…
This means, among other things, this war against evil means saying no to
fratricidal hatred, and to the lies that it uses; saying no to violence in all
its forms; saying no to the proliferation of arms and their sale on the black
market. There are so many of them! There are so many of them! And the doubt
always remains: this war over there, this other war over there because there
are wars everywhere is it really a war over problems, or is it a commercial
war, to sell these arms on the black market? These are the enemies we must
fight, united and coherent, following no other interests but those of peace and
of the common good.
Dear brothers, today we also remember the Nativity of the
Virgin Mary, a celebration particularly beloved by the Oriental Churches. And
all of us, now, can send our warm greetings to all the brothers, sisters,
bishops, monks, nuns of the Oriental Churches, Orthodox and Catholic: our warm
greetings! Jesus is the sun, Mary is the first light that announces its
dawning. Yesterday evening we kept vigil, calling on Her intercession in our
prayer for peace in the world, especially in Syria and in the whole of the
Middle East. We invoke Her now as Queen of Peace. Queen of Peace, pray for us!
Queen of Peace, pray for us!
below an English translation of Pope Francis’ post-Angelus appeal:
I would like to thank everyone who, in various ways, joined
in the Vigil of Prayer and Fasting yesterday evening. I thank the many people
who united the offering of their sufferings. I express my gratitude to the
civil authorities, as well as to the members of other Christian communities and
of other religions, and to men and women of good will who have undertaken, on
this occasion, periods of prayer, fasting and reflection.
But the task remains: we move forward with prayer and works
of peace. I invite you to continue to pray so that the violence and devastation
in Syria may cease immediately and that a renewed effort be undertaken to
achieve a just solution to this fratricidal conflict. Let us pray also for
other countries in the Middle East, in particular for Lebanon, that it may find
its hoped-for stability and continue to be a model of peaceful co-existence;
for Iraq, that sectarian violence may give way to reconciliation; and that the
peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians may proceed with
determination and courage. Finally, let us pray for Egypt, that all Egyptians,
Muslims and Christians, may commit themselves to build up together a society
dedicated to the good of the whole population.
The search for peace is long and demands
patience and perseverance! Let us keep praying for this!