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Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I warmly greet all of you who are taking part in the 100th Day of Catholics in Leipzig. I am delighted that so many of you are gathered together. You want to show the men and women in Leipzig, and all throughout Germany, that you live the joy of the Gospel. You have good relations with Christians of other denominations and you give an authentic witness of Christ with your solid commitment in favour of the weakest and neediest.

“Behold the man!”. You have gathered together under this motto. This portrays, in a very beautiful way, what really matters. It is not the doing or the outward success that matters, but rather the capacity to stop, to turn our gaze, to be attentive to others and to offer them what they are really lacking. Every human person desires communion and peace, and is in need of a peaceful coexistence. But this can only grow when we also build inner peace in our hearts. Many people live in a constant hurry. In this way they tend to be overwhelmed by all that they have around them. This also affects the way in which we treat the environment. It is a matter of allowing more time for recovering serene harmony with the world, with creation, and also with the Creator (cf. Laudato Si’, 225). Through contemplation and prayer, we seek to reach greater familiarity with God. Slowly we discover that our Heavenly Father desires our good, that he wants to see us happy, full of joy and serene.

It is this familiarity with God that also enlivens our mercy. As the Father loves, so do his children love. As He is merciful, so too are we called to be merciful to others (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 9). Let us also allow ourselves be touched by the mercy of God with a good confession, in order to become ever more merciful like the Father. “Behold the man!”. So often we find mankind mistreated by society. We see how others judge the value of his life and urge him, in old age and disease, to die soon. We see how men are compromised, tossed here and there, and deprived of their dignity, because they do not work or they are refugees. Here we see Jesus suffering and tortured, we see evil and brutality in all of its dimensions, how men suffer or make others suffer in this world.

To those gathered in Leipzig, and to all the faithful in Germany, I hope that they might give more room in their lives to the voice of the poor and the oppressed. Support one another in sharing experiences and ideas on how to bring the Good News of Christ to mankind. Let us implore the Divine Comforter, the Holy Spirit, that he may give us the courage and strength to be witnesses of that hope, which is God for all of humanity. And, please, pray for me. To all of you, who contribute and participate in this celebration of faith, joy and hope, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


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