In his Wednesday general audience this morning, Pope Francis stressed the importance of humility and service in the Christian life.
“It is an ugly thing when one sees a Christian who does not want to lower himself, who does not want to serve, a Christian who parades around everywhere. It’s terrible, no? That person isn’t a Christian: he is a pagan! The Christian serves (and) lowers himself,” said the Pope on Dec. 18 in St. Peter’s Square.
With Christmas approaching, Pope Francis focused on the great ‘gift’ of God in sending his son, who came humbly as a baby in Bethlehem.
“In Christmas, God reveals himself not as one who stands above and who dominates the universe, but as He who lowers himself,” explained the Pontiff.
“God lowers himself, coming down to earth as little and poor, showing that in order to be similar to him we must not place ourselves above others, but rather lower ourselves, place ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small, poor with the poor.”
The incarnation of God made man, encouraged Pope Francis, should be a model for every Christian.
“We must make it so that our brothers and sisters never feel alone. Our presence in solidarity to their side expresses not only with words but with the eloquence of gestures that God is close to all.”
Moreover, God did not expect or demand perfection. “The presence of God in the midst of humanity is not carried out in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by many good and bad things, marked by division, cruelty, poverty, abuse, and war,” noted the Pope.
Still, “he chose to live our history as it is, with all the weight of its limitations and dramas. In so doing, he demonstrated in an unparalleled way his merciful inclinations and overflowing love toward his human creatures.”
“Jesus is God with us,” emphasized the Pontiff, making the crowds repeat with him, “Jesus is God with us.”
During this time of Advent, Pope Francis urged the faithful to prepare their hearts for the birth of Jesus as a “celebration of faithfulness and of hope that overcomes uncertainty and pessimism.”
“This is the reason for our hope,” he explained, “God is with us and God is still faithful to us!”
“Think carefully about this: God comes to live with men, he chooses the earth as his dwelling in order to stay together with find where man passes his days in joy and or in sorrow. Therefore the earth is above all not a ‘valley of tears’ but a place where God himself has pitched his tent. It is the place of meeting for God with man, of solidarity of God with men.”