Pope waves to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square during the Angelus (Vatican Media)

At the Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis speaks of the importance of not feeling burdened when offering a warm welcome and a sense of fraternity to those in need as a way of combining contemplation and action.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis focused his catechesis at the Angelus, Sunday, on the importance of not allowing life’s events to overwhelm us, encouraging the faithful to listen to the Lord, whose voice is a guidance.

The day’s Gospel describes Jesus’ visit to the house of Martha and Mary. The two sisters welcome Him, and whilst one sister, Mary, sits at His feet – with the desire to listen to each and every word He speaks – the other sister, Martha, tends to Jesus’ needs.

The Pope expressed the importance of Mary’s actions, explaining that when we really listen to Him, the Lord surprises us, “the clouds disappear, doubts give way to truth, fears to serenity…”. The Pope underlined the importance of always making room for the Lord, as listening to Him will help us “carry out well the tasks that life assigns to you”.

Service without anxiety

Pope Francis then turned his reflection to Martha, who upon doing her best to make everything perfect for her special guest, becomes irritated at her sister who is doing nothing to help her. Upon realizing this, Jesus says to her “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things”.

Pope Francis explained that with these words, Jesus “does not intend to condemn the attitude of service, but rather the anxiety with which it is sometimes experienced”. Instead, he said “we express Martha’s concern” and we follow her example in order to make sure that in our communities “there is a sense of welcome”, so that “everyone can feel ‘at home’, especially the little ones and the poor”.

Wisdom can combine contemplation and action

The Pope went on to explain that the story of Jesus’ visit to these two sisters “reminds us that the wisdom of the heart lies in knowing how to combine these two elements: contemplation and action.” He explained that Martha and Mary show us that both attitudes must go hand in hand in order for us to “savour life with joy”: we must listen to Jesus, as “He reveals to us the secret to everything” whilst still being “ready in hospitality, when He passes by and knocks on our door”.

Pope Francis concluded his reflection with a prayer to the Virgin Mary, asking that she “give us the grace to love and serve God and our brothers and sisters with the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary, so that by always listening to Christ we may be artisans of peace and hope.”

21 July 2019, 13:35

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