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On the morning of his day-trip to Assisi for the feast of St. Francis October 4, Pope Francis visited the Serafico Institute, which provides care for sick and disabled children and young people. He greeted and blessed the residents and their caretakers, and gave a brief, impromptu address, putting aside his prepared remarks.

Pope Francis blesses a disabled person during his visit at the Serafico Institute in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 4. (CNS photo)

A Christian adores Jesus, seeks Jesus, knows how to recognize the scars of Jesus. When Jesus rose he was beautiful. He didn’t have his wounds on his body, but he wanted to keep the scars, and he brought them with him to heaven. The scars of Jesus are here, and they are in heaven before the Father. We care for the scars of Jesus here, and he from heaven shows us his scars and tells all of us, ‘I am waiting for you.’

(CNS photo)

Later in the morning Pope Francis met with some of the poor people of Assisi who had gathered to greet him at the archbishop’s residence. The audience took place in the “stripping room,” where St. Francis stripped himself of his fine garments and returned them to his father before embarking on his life of poverty.

 

Pope Francis leads a meeting with the poor in the archbishop's residence in Assisi. (CNS photo)

The Church is all of us and we all have to strip ourselves of this worldliness. … Our Lord told us: We cannot serve two masters: either we serve money or we serve God. …

Many of you have been stripped by this savage world that does not give work, that does not help, that does not care if children die of hunger…, that does not care if many families do not have anything to eat or money to bring bread home.

The worldly spirit kills; it kills people; it kills the Church. … I ask the Lord that he gives us all the grace to strip ourselves.

Pope Francis then celebrated an open-air Mass in the Piazza San Francesco. During his homily, which can be read in full here, he stressed that the peace St. Francis experienced was not a “saccharine…pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos,” but rather was “the peace of Christ.”

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the piazza outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. (CNS photo)

"We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Teach us to be 'instruments of peace,' of that peace which has its source in God, the peace which Jesus has brought us. …"

A child waves a flag as Pope Francis arrives at the Caritas Center in Assisi. The Holy Father was joined for lunch by poor people who receive assistance from the center. (CNS photo)

Later in the day, Pope Francis met with a group of young adults gathered at outside Assisi’s Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. CNS’ Cindy Wooden reports: “Although Pope Francis already had been in Assisi 10 hours and had celebrated Mass and given five speeches, he energetically ad-libbed and had the crowd roaring with laughter when he told the story of a woman who said her son was in his 30s, had a girlfriend, but wouldn't get married. ‘I told her, “Ma'am, stop ironing his shirts,”’ the pope said.”

Francis X. Rocca reports that the Holy Father said he offers newlyweds this advice: "Argue as much as you want. If the plates fly, let them. But never let the day end without making peace, never." 

Pope Francis greets a young woman during an encounter with youth in the piazza outside the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi. (CNS photo)

“It takes courage to start a family,” Pope Francis said.

[Christian marriage] is a real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life are. Two Christians who marry each other have recognized in their love story the Lord's call, the vocation to form one flesh, one life from the two, male and female.

…Evil is not invincible, and the Christian does not surrender in the face of evil. God is greater than evil. God is infinite love, mercy without limits, and this love vanquished evil at its roots in the death and resurrection of Christ.

 

 
About the Author
Catherine Harmon catherine.harmon@catholicworldreport.com

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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