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POPE’S ANGELUS ADDRESS: On Letting Jesus’ Fire Change Our Hearts, Renew Our Lives (FULL TEXT)

August 18, 2019. ‘May Mary, Most Holy, help us to let our hearts be purified by the fire brought by Jesus, to propagate it with our life, through decisive and courageous choices’

Here is a ZENIT working translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today’s Gospel (Lk 12:49-53), Jesus warns the disciples that the time to make a decision has come. His coming into the world, in fact, coincides with the time to make decisive choices: choosing the Gospel cannot be postponed. And to better understand His call, He uses the image of fire that He Himself came to bring to earth. Thus, He says: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing”. These words are intended to help the disciples abandon any attitude of laziness, apathy, indifference and closure, to welcome the fire of God’s love; that love which, as Saint Paul reminds us, “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). Because it is the Holy Spirit that makes us love God and makes us love our neighbor; it is the Holy Spirit that we all have inside.

Jesus reveals to His friends, and also to us, His most ardent desire: to bring to earth the fire of the Father’s love, which lights up life and through which, man is saved. Jesus calls us to spread this fire in the world, thanks to which, we will be recognized as His true disciples. The fire of love, lit by Christ in the world through the Holy Spirit, is a fire without limits. It is a universal fire. This has been seen since the early days of Christianity: the witness to the Gospel has spread like a beneficial fire, overcoming every division between individuals, social categories, peoples and nations. Witness to the Gospel burns. It burns every form of particularism and maintains charity open to everyone, with a preference for the poorest and the excluded.

Adhering to the fire of God’s love, envelops our entire existence and requires a willingness to serve others. I think with admiration of the many communities and groups of young people who, even during the summer, dedicate themselves to serving the sick, the poor, and the disabled. To live according to the spirit of the Gospel, it is necessary that, faced with the ever new needs that are emerging in the world, that there are Christ’s disciples who know how to respond with new initiatives of charity. In this way–in adoring God and serving our neighbors–both together, adoring God and serving neighbors–that Gospel truly manifests itself as a saving fire, that changes the world starting with each person’s change of heart.

In this perspective, one also understands the other affirmation of Jesus reported in today’s passage, which at first glance, can disconcert: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division “(Lk 12:51). He came to “separate with fire.” Separate what? Good from evil, right from wrong. In this sense, He came to “divide”, to put in “crisis” – but in a healthy way – the life of His disciples, breaking the easy illusions of those who believe they can combine Christian life and worldliness, Christian life and compromises of all kinds, religious practices and attitudes against others. Some think you can combine true religiosity with superstitious practices: how many [self-styled] Christians go to the fortune teller to get their hands read! And this is superstition. It is not of God. It is a question of not living in a hypocritical way, but of being willing to pay the price for coherent choices – this is the attitude that each of us should look for in life: consistency – paying the price to be consistent with the Gospel. Consistency with the Gospel. Because it’s good to call ourselves Christians, but above all, we must be Christians in concrete situations, bearing witness to the Gospel which is essentially love for God and for our brothers and sisters.

May Mary, Most Holy, help us to let our hearts be purified by the fire brought by Jesus, to propagate it with our life, through decisive and courageous choices.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT Sr Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov]

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

I address a cordial greeting to all of you, Roman faithful and pilgrims who have come from Italy and from different countries.

In particular, I greet the “Divino Amore” (‘Divine Love’) group from Canada; the Scouts of Rio de Loba, Portugal; and Polish faithful.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT Sr Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov]