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Wedneday, 11 February 1948


Dear children, you have heard many times - at home and school and in church - how happy it always made Our Lord to stop and talk with little ones like you; boys and girls He hoped and prayed would grow up to be strong and holy members of the big and wonderfully holy family He began to build, when He came to live with men long ago in His home with Mother Mary and St. Joseph.

But Our Lord did more than just stop and talk with His little ones. He prayed with them, and enjoyed their games and happy laughter. He answered their questions, – some of them very serious questions, that only a child can ask. He dried their tears and settled their little quarrels; for He had come to bring all men together, and not to tear them apart. He shared with them what little He had to eat; for though He was a " carpenter's son " (Matth. 13, 55) and poor from the day He was born, He knew, and wanted them to know, that the bread and other good things of life were meant for all of God's children, the needy ones especially; and that the Father in Heaven blesses you even more, when you give than when you receive.

Catholic school-children will not need to be told that Our Lord is the Teacher, as well as the Friend of the little ones in His family. They are His pupils as well as the innocent lambs of His flock. He teaches them from His Sacred Heart, in language children can easily understand, His one great lesson; the one lesson we cannot learn from books, but only from Him, whether we are young or old, parents or teachers, priests or bishops, presidents or kings, or just plain children : His one great lesson of love. " You will not be happy, and Our world will not be happy ", you can almost hear Him say to the children as they gather about Him in the green meadows of Galilee, " unless you love one another; unless you love every one of your neighbours near and far, whatever may be the colour of his skin, the country he lives in, the language he speaks; unless you love him all the more, the more he needs your love; unless you love him well enough to pray for him always, to suffer a little and save a little for him sometimes, when you know he is in trouble ". That is the way Christ the Teacher always talked to His little ones. That is the way He talks to His little ones today, in every Catholic home and church and school-room from Rome to Tokyo, from Argentina to Alaska, and so around the world He loved enough, and more than enough, to die for all of its children on the Cross.

This is the Holy Father's second radio-visit to your class-room, beloved children of Our dear America. Last year as Lent began, you will remember, you listened while We told you of the cold, sick and hungry thousands, all over the Lord's wide world, calling to His holy family, calling especially to you, for help and hope. But last year you did more than listen. You showed that you know, like your generous mothers and fathers, your bishops, priests and teachers, what Jesus really means by love. You prayed, as We asked you to, for the little ones in need. And you gave and gave and gave, out of your little hearts and little pockets, so that food and coal and medicine, your pennies and your packages, could help to bring back a bit of a smile to the faces of Our Lord's little favourites. From Europe, Asia and almost every spot the horrible war had touched, they cried to you. You have made them your friends forever by answering from your hearts. Their parents and priests thank God that they can call children like you their very own brothers and sisters in Christ. The Holy Father, in the midst of all His work and worry for the great world-family of Christ, is proud of you.

Best of all, dear children, you have not disappointed the Sacred Heart of Our Lord. He is glad you have learned so well His one great lesson of love. He is sure He can count on you again this year. The Bishops are telling you once more of other little ones still in need. Pray for them every day for a little while longer, especially when you gather around the Lord at Mass and receive Him into your hearts at Holy Communion. And show them, show the world each day of Lent, by making the little sacrifice that hurts so little and helps so much, " how these Christians love one another "!

As We broadcast this message to your hundreds of American class-rooms and school-halls from Our home in Rome, Our heart, like Jesus' own, is full of warm affection for you and your teachers and all your dear ones.

To give you one more proof of Our affection, and to show you how high are Our hopes for the success of this children's crusade of study, prayer and sacrifice, which has already done so much to bring back peace to the Lord's wide world, We gladly call down His favour for you all with Our Apostolic Blessing.

*Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII, IX,
 Nono anno di Pontificato, 2 marzo 1947- 1° marzo 1948, pp. 455-457
 Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana


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