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General Audience of Pope Francis on November 13: appeal from Ukraine

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On the occasion of the general audience of November 16, Pope Francis took the opportunity to launch a new appeal from the bottom of his heart for Ukraine. At the end of the catechesis, which this week returns to the theme of discernment, the Holy Father refers to the more than 100 rockets that have hit the European country in the past few hours.

On November 16, the catechesis on the occasion of the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square returns to the theme of discernment. After his tour in the popemobile, where he now welcomes five children as usual, the Holy Father addresses all the faithful who listen to him.

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On this Wednesday of prayer, the Pontiff addresses the theme of desolation, considering it a necessary step to face the fullness of life. But at the end of his catechesis, the Holy Father, referring to the latest attack on Ukraine in recent hours, returns to address an appeal from the bottom of his heart to this country to which he has attributed, for nine months now, the epithet ” beaten”. .

The theme of desolation in general audience

The general audience of Wednesday, November 16 opens with a feeling of desolation. The moment, as Pope Francis defines it, when “all is dark and sad in the heart”. And while it’s a symbol of sadness, it can actually turn into an opportunity for growth. The Pontiff, in fact, emphasizes that the ability to know how to live solitude with oneself, without escaping it, is a way of living the fullness of life. On the contrary, we risk “always remaining on the surface of things”, far from the center of our existence. In fact, desolation shakes the soul and drives away the “wind of whim”, bringing vigilance and humility closer together.

“Indispensable conditions for progress in life, and therefore also in the spiritual life. A perfect but aseptic serenity, without feelings, when it becomes the criterion of choices and behaviors, makes us inhuman. We cannot not pay attention to feelings, we are human and feelings are part of our humanity”. Living without feelings means living immersed in indifference. A condition that not only does not make us understand pain of others, but which does not allow us to welcome our own suffering.” This is not life – underlines Pope Francis – it is as if we were living in a laboratory, closed so as not to have microbes, diseases”.

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The Unpredictable Results of Prayer

As difficult as it may seem, desolation actually allows us to build more beautiful and mature relationships with the Lord and with others. Live without expecting anything in return, but be in a relationship because we are happy to know each other. And in this respect, the Holy Father clarifies: “The spiritual life is not a technique at our disposal, it is not a program of interior well-being that it is up to us to plan. No. Spiritual life is the relationship to the Living, to God, the Living, irreducible to our categories”.

“And desolation is then the clearest answer to the objection that the experience of God is a form of suggestion, a mere projection of our desires.” Conversely, if it were a simple projection of desires, it would always be possible to foresee, “we would always be happy forever”. Instead, those who pray know the results are unpredictable. It is for this reason, exhorts the Pontiff, that there is no reason to fear desolation, on the contrary it is necessary “to pursue it with perseverance, not to flee”. And in desolation, try to find the heart of Christ, find the Lord. And the answer always comes.”

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Appeal of Pope Francis for Ukraine and Istanbul

At the end of the catechesis and before addressing his greetings in the different languages ​​of the world, Pope Francis launches an appeal from the bottom of his heart for what, for nine months now, he has been calling “the bruised Ukraine”. Referring to the latest attack that the European country has suffered in recent hours, the Holy Father urges us not to forget Ukraine at war. “God converts the hearts of those who still bet on war”. The trail of blood and brutal violence crosses the Bosphorus and connects the victims of the November 13 terrorist attack in Istanbul’s Taksim district with residents of kyiv, Lviv and other Ukrainian cities that were affected by more than 100 missiles. Similarity that Pope Francis also makes in his appeal at the end of the general audience.

Fearing an escalation of the conflict, Pope Francis urges peace and not encouraging war. “I learned with pain and concern the news of a new and even more powerful missile attack against Ukraine which caused deaths and damage to numerous civilian infrastructures. Let us pray that the Lord will convert the hearts of those who are still betting on war and make the desire for peace prevail for the tormented Ukraine, to avoid any escalation and open the way to a ceasefire and dialogue”. And in the appeal of the Holy Father, there is no lack of thought for Istanbul which two days ago suffered a suicide attack in one of the central areas, killing eight people and injuring more of 80. A prayer for the victims and once again a great cry for peace and fraternity conclude the catechesis of Pope Francis.

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