Thursday, October 02, 2014
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Vatican City, Oct 2, 2014 / 07:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily for the Feast of Holy Guardian Angels, Pope Francis told those gathered for daily Mass to be like children who pay attention to their “traveling companion.”

The doctrine of the angels, the Holy Father stressed, is not imaginary, but “reality.” Citing what Jesus has said, “I send an angel before you to protect you, to accompany you along the path, so that you do not make mistakes!”

According to the tradition of the Church, each of us has a guardian angel who protects us and helps make us aware of things, the Pope said at the Santa Marta residence Oct. 2. Often times, we have the feeling that “I should do this, this is not right, be careful.” This, he said, “is the voice of” our guardian angel: our “traveling companion.”

Our guardian angel will “carry us” throughout our entire life. For this reason, he said we should “listen to his voice, don't rebel against it.”

We all have this tendency toward rebellion and the will for independence, the Holy Father continued. “It is pride,” the same which “our father Adam had in the earthly Paradise.”

“Do not rebel: follow his advice.”

“No one walks alone and none of us can think that he is alone,” because “this companion” is always with us.

Not listening to our guardian angel's advice, the Pope said, is like telling him to go away. “It is dangerous to chase away our traveling companion,” he said, “because no man, no woman can advise themselves. I can give advise to another, but I cannot give advise to my self.”

“The Holy Spirit  advises me, the angel who advises me. This is why we need him.”

Turning to the readings of the day, Pope Francis noted how there are two images which are presented: the angel and the child.

God has given us angels to protect us, the Pope said. “If one of us were to believe he could walk along, he would make many mistakes,” the Pope said. Such a person would succumb to “that most ugly mistake which is pride,” into the belief in one's own greatness, and “self-sufficiency”.

Recalling the Gospel scene in which “the disciples argued over who among them was the greatest,” the Pope describe this “internal dispute,” as “careerism.”

These first bishops, he said, were tempted toward careerism. Their behavior set a bad example, “but it is the reality.”

In contrast to the “careerist” mentality, Jesus teaches the disciples to have the attitude of children: “the docility, the need for guidance, the need for help.”

The child is the symbol of docility and helplessness, he said, adding that this is way forward – not the question of “who is greater.”  Those whose attitude is more like that of a child are “closer to contemplation of the Father.”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis put forward the following question: “How is my relationship with my guardian angel? Do I listen to him? Do I wish him good morning? Do I say: 'protect me during sleep'? Do I speak with him? Do I ask his advice? He is at my side.”

“We can respond to this question today, each and everyone of us: “How is my relationship with this angel who the Lord has sent to protect and accompany me along the way, and who always sees the face of the Father who is in the heavens?”

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Vatican City, Oct 2, 2014 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a private audience between Pope Francis and the survivors and family members of the 368 migrants who perished in a tragic shipwreck last fall, the pontiff asked the world to be open to those who suffer.

“I feel things that I can't tell you because I can't find the words to say them,” the Pope said during the Oct. 1 encounter. “All that you have suffered should be contemplated in silence, crying and looking for a way to be close to you.”

“Sometimes when it seems you have arrived at the port, there are very difficult things to face. You find closed doors and you do not know where to go,” he continued. However “there are many people who have an open heart for you,” and “the door of the heart is the most important in these moments.”

“I ask all men and women of Europe to open the doors of the heart! I want to say that I am close to you, I pray for you (and) I pray for closed doors because they open!”

The audience, which took place in a small hall adjacent to the large chamber of the Paul VI Hall, commemorated an Oct. 3 shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa last year that killed 368 migrants, most of whom hailed from Eritrea – a small country in the Horn of Africa.

During the encounter, the 37 participants, including more than 20 of the 155 survivors, presented the Pope with a letter asking him to do all that he can to support migrants fleeing their homeland in search of a better life.

Also included in the letter was a plea for the Roman Pontiff to intercede in helping to obtain from the Italian government the ability to identify the remains of their loved ones, some of whom have not yet been recognized.

The Eritrean spokesman for the delegation, who identified himself as Adal, lost his younger brother Abraham in the incident, and was the only one to address to the Pope during the encounter, which lasted roughly 30 minutes.

“I told the Pope about Joni and we asked the Pope if he can help us to identify our beloved ones,” he told CNA Oct. 1 after the audience. “He promised that he can do everything he can to help us.”

Accompanied by his sister, Adal referred to how Pope Francis has often spoken about the plight of migrants and refugees, and how he even visited the island of Lampedusa himself after a shipwreck last spring.

“He has sent messages to refugees who come and to the rest of the world to treat people with humanity and with fraternity,” he said. “What else would you like him to do in addition to what he is doing now?”

Adal, who wore around his neck the rosary that Pope Francis had given to each of the participants, was able to identify the remains of his brother last year because of a bible found in a pocket on the corpse’s clothing, although he said he still wasn’t one hundred percent sure due to the poor state the body was in.

Those who haven’t yet been able to identify the remains of their loved ones were given a form to fill out by Italian officials, who will go on to search the remaining bodies in search of the ones that fit each description most accurately.

Before greeting each of the participants personally, Pope Francis was presented by the delegation with an iron sculpture depicting a bottle floating in the sea, in which a family is enclosed, the image of which is depicted on the t-shirts they wore.

A legal bill has also been presented in the last few days asking to officially mark Oct. 3 as the “Day in memory of the victims of the Sea.”

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Copyright by St. Francis Borgia