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Pope visits the Poor Clares Convent in Assisi Pope visits the Poor Clares Convent in Assisi  (ANSA)

Pope Francis to Poor Clares in Assisi: pray for the Church

Speaking to the Poor Clares in Assisi on Friday, Pope Francis focused on the need for prayer so that the Church might not be affected by sin, stressing that God "only asks our humility to ask for forgiveness.”

Vatican News staff writer

Before going to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi to meet the poor on Friday morning,  Pope Francis visited the Poor Clares Convent, where he met privately with the cloistered nuns serving the Church in prayer.

Peace of mind

In his speech he asked the Franciscan nuns to pray for the Church so that it may not be corrupted by sin, calling on them to be attentive contemplatives. Pope Francis said attentiveness to the Lord requires having peace of mind, serenity of the heart and serenity of the hands, lest we miss Him when He passes by. It is not watching the world pass by and chatting from a window, but being aware of what is going on with a pure mind, thinking well and not badly of people, he remarked.

Serene heart

The Holy Father went on to say that this attentiveness further requires a "serene heart", which implies going back in memory to the origin of religious vocation, to the reason of God’s call, that is to love and let ourselves be loved, he remarked.

Serenity of the hands

There is also the serenity of the hands: hands must move not only to pray, but also "to work," Pope Francis said, recalling St. Paul’s words in his Letter to the Thessalonians: "Whoever does not work, must not eat".

When mind, heart and hands do what they have to do, consecrated people may find a balance which is “full of love and passion”, making it easy not to miss what the Lord tells us when He passes by, Pope Francis stressed

Bringing the sins of the Church before the Lord 

Hence he pointed to the core of the Poor Clares’ contemplative work: “You carry on your shoulders the problems of the Church, the pains of the Church and also - I dare say - the sins of the Church, our sins, the sins of the bishops, we are all sinful bishops; the sins of the priests; the sins of consecrated souls ... And bring them before the Lord”, he said.

Sin and God's forgiveness

Reflecting on sin, the Holy Father noted that the real danger in the Church is not being a sinner, but allowing oneself to be corrupted by sin, to the point of seeing sin as "a normal attitude" and not feeling the need to ask for God’s forgiveness. Pope Francis therefore called on the cloistered nuns to pray that corruption might not affect the Church, stressing that God "only asks our humility to ask for forgiveness.”

Praying for the the Church

Concluding his speech, Pope Francis asked the Poor Clares to think and pray for the elderly, who are often considered "disposable", for those families struggling to make ends meet so they can bring up their children well, and for young people and children exposed to so many threats and dangers in today’s world.

Finally he asked them to pray for the Church, in particular for priests and bishops so they consider themselves pastors and not “heads of office”.

 

13 November 2021, 13:05