“Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.” – Pope Francis (Lumen Fidei, June 29, 2013)
For my final day in Rome, Italy, I had to complete an amazing two-week adventure and spiritual journey with a return visit to Vatican City to see the Pope’s Angelus. Every Sunday at noon the current Pope Francis gives a public address in Vatican Square that is broadcast on national television and on the Vatican website. He gives a message to the thousands of audiences from all over the world, Christian pilgrims and visitors alike, and then recites the Angelus devotion prayer. The Angelus commemorates Jesus Christ incarnate, the divine Son of God made flesh on Earth through holy conception in Mother Mary. (Here’s what the Angelus prayer looks like, in English: https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/Angelus.htm.) The Angelus prayer is broadcasted and recited on radio stations all over the world, from Germany to Ireland to the Philippines. Pope Francis recites the Angelus after the message on every Sunday from his apartment in the Vatican, to an audience of thousands watching from St. Peter’s Square. It’s an incredible moment, and I could not miss it. We got up early on our last day to eat a hearty breakfast at the hostel, before heading to the nearest Metro station to take two subways to Vatican City. We were joined by thousands in the square from all over the world, waving flags and huge banners of their respective organizations and countries. It was one of the most surreal, beautiful experiences I’ve ever had, standing in the middle of the square surrounded by Catholics from all over the world. We met a group coming all the way from Poland, waving a banner from their church in Warsaw. There were people from the U.S., Hong Kong, Argentina, everywhere; all bunched up together waving their “Welcome Papa Francesco!” flags, singing and dancing, eager for a glimpse at the leader of the Catholic Church. An anxious excitement was buzzing in the air, and we could feel it too. Waiting two hours in the cloudy pre-storm weather was so worth it when, at noon sharp, the red banner bearing the IHS Jesuit Order insignia was rolled out and Pope Francis stepped to the podium from the window of his third-story apartment, waving hello. He was a little speck in a window, but I almost cried tears of joy at just seeing his little face and waving arms. It was like he was giving the audience a big, Papa hug. He started speaking the message of the Gospel in Italian and although I couldn’t understand him, I felt a rush of love and blessing. The Gospel that day, the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, was of course one of the most well-known and loved Scripture verses of the Christian Bible, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The audience was hushed, intent on listening to what the Pope had to say to Christians from all over the world. (For a full English translation of Pope Francis’s message, click here.) He spoke about the Holy Trinity, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, as being an example of perfect love for the world. At the end he even said a special Hail Mary prayer for peace in Iraq, and a thank-you to domestic workers and caregivers. I was so amazed by Pope Francis’s humility and thoughtfulness for everyone! By the end of the message, which went about 20 minutes, I felt on fire, humbled by the Spirit and very proud to be a Catholic.
For a full recorded video of the Angelus and message, you can go on the Vatican website or click here!
“We are all called to witness and proclaim the message that “God is love”, that God isn’t far and insensitive to our human affairs. He is close to us, always beside us, walking with us to share our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our struggles. He loves us very much and for that reason he became man, he came into the world not to condemn it, but so the world would be saved through Jesus (cf. Jn 3:16-17). And this is the love of God in Jesus, this love that is so difficult to understand but that we feel when we draw close to Jesus. And he always forgives us, he always awaits us, he loves us so much. And we feel the love of Jesus and the love of God.
The Holy Spirit, gift of the Risen Jesus, conveys divine life to us and thus lets us enter into the dynamism of the Trinity, which is a dynamism of love, of communion, of mutual service, of sharing. A person who loves others for the very joy of love is a reflection of the Trinity.” – Pope Francis, June 15, 2014
And here is a video I recorded live while the Pope was speaking. Don’t mind the shakiness, I was nervous/excited and it was a bit hard to zoom in and focus my camera, haha!
Peace and blessings,