Live your lives as a gift, and do not be ashamed to be a precious treasure of the Church.
This was the heartfelt advice Pope Francis gave to the sick he greeted this morning after the Mass, during which he declared canonized saints, Jacinta and Francesco Marto. The Holy Father has just concluded his May 12-13 Apostolic Pilgrimage to Fatima, marking his 19th Apostolic Visit abroad and 28th country visited.
The Holy Father reminded the ill before him, in Portuguese, how the Lord “comforts us and he gives us strength, as he did to Saint Francisco Marto and Saint Jacinta, and to the saints of every time and place.”
He also reminded them of the ‘Church’s ministry,’ which he said consists of “asking the Lord to comfort the afflicted like yourselves, and he comforts you, even in ways you cannot see.”
“He comforts you in the depths of your hearts and he comforts you with the gift of strength.”
The Virgin Mary, Pope Francis encouraged those before him, “asks all of us the same question that, a hundred years ago, she asked the shepherd children: ‘Do you want to offer yourselves to God?’ Their answer – ‘Yes, we do!’ – makes us able to understand and imitate their lives.”
To those who are sick, Francis said, “I invite you to live your lives as a gift.”
“Like the shepherd children, tell Our Lady that you want to offer yourselves to God with all your heart. Don’t think of yourselves simply as the recipients of charitable solidarity, but feel that you share fully in the Church’s life and mission.”
The Holy Father invited them to entrust to the Lord their sorrows, sufferings, and all weariness.
“Count on the prayer of the Church, which from every corner of the world rises up to heaven for you and with you.”
“God is our Father,” Pope Francis concluded saying, “He will never forget you.”
After the Mass and the procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the Pope goes to lunch with the Portuguese bishops, and then boards his flight with his papal entourage and press to return to Rome. On his flight to Rome, the Holy Father will respond to some questions of press aboard. Zenit will bring you the text of their conversation on Monday.