By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis on Monday expressed his appreciation to Vatican employees for their work in a spirit of service towards the Church, during the annual pre-Christmas audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
He set the tone of his address noting that the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused “not only a critical health situation but also many economic difficulties for many families and institutions”, has also affected the Holy See, which he said “is making every effort to deal with this precarious situation in the best way possible.”
“It is a question of meeting the legitimate needs of you employees and those of the Holy See: we must meet each other's needs, and we must all strive to overcome this critical moment with good will and patience,” he said.
Pope Francis stressed that "our collaborators and you, who work in the Holy See, are the most important thing: no one should be left out, no one should leave the job". He emphasised the efforts that the Governatorate and the Secretariat of State are making to leave no one behind because "no one should be fired, no one should suffer the ugly economic effect of this pandemic." There is no magic formula, said the Pope, but a shared commitment to continue in mutual aid.
In working together, he continued, the chances of solving our problems will be higher. "Help me with this and I will help you, and all of us together to move forward as one family", said the Pope.
Rediscover, Contemplate, Proclaim
Christmas, Pope Francis continued, is a feast of joy "because Jesus is born for us". It calls us, he said, to shake off “our torpor, boredom, apathy, disinterest and fear, especially in this time of health emergency, in which it is difficult to find the enthusiasm of life and faith.”
We must imitate the shepherds who visited the Child Jesus, the Pope continued, and like them: “Rediscover, Contemplate, Proclaim.”
It is important, he explained, to rediscover the birth of the Son of God as the greatest event in history: twenty centuries have passed and Jesus is more alive than ever!
Those who turn away from Him with their behaviour, he said, fall into evil: into sin, vice, selfishness, violence, hatred.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us: this is the event that we must rediscover,” he said.
With their attitude of contemplation, the Pope continued, the shepherds say: "We see this event which the Lord has made known to us" and we must meditate, contemplate, pray.
And quoting from many examples in the Scriptures, Pope Francis invited those present to reflect on God’s goodness and love, on what it means to become an adopted child of God through baptism, on the fact that God sent us his son to save us, so that “we might become heirs of eternal life in hope."
“This is what we must meditate on, contemplate, what we must reflect on,” he said.
Finally, faced with this reality, Pope Francis said, “we cannot refrain from proclaiming it.”
Here again, he said, the shepherds show us the way: "The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, as they had been told" (Lk 2:20).
Just as the shepherds went back to their everyday lives, he explained, we too must return to our everyday lives transformed: “Christmas is passing. But we must return to family life, to work, transformed, we must return glorifying and praising God for all that we have heard and seen.”
Be witnesses of the Good News
Pope Francis concluded reminding those who work for the Vatican that it is their call to “bring the good news to the world: Jesus is our Saviour: we must tell everyone!”
This is something we must do wherever and whenever possible he said, with the witness of our lives, with the joy and serenity that comes to us from faith and love: joy and serenity in spite of everything, above all else.
“Difficulties and sufferings cannot obscure the light of Christmas, which inspires an inner joy that nothing and no one can take away from us.”