During today's general audience, Pope Francis continued his reflections on the theme of the Church as mother, saying that it is she who accompanies and intercedes for us in life.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters: today I wish to return to the image of the Church as our Mother,” he told those gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sept. 18, “by reflecting on all that our earthly mothers do, live and suffer for their children.”
The Pope reflected on how our mothers, through their “tenderness and love,” show us which path to follow in life, “so that we may grow into adulthood.”
“So too the Church orients us on the path of life, indicating the way that leads to maturity.”
Our mothers know both “how and when to accompany us with understanding,” Pope Francis said, observing that it is this companionship that “leads us back when we wander off the right path.”
“The Church also accompanies us in mercy, in understanding, never judging us or closing the door, but offering forgiveness to help us return to the right course.”
The pontiff then emphasized how mothers “never grow tired of interceding for us, no matter our failings,” and how the Church also “stays with us and, through prayer, puts into the hands of the Lord all our situations, difficulties and needs.”
“And so we see in the Church a good Mother who indicates the path to walk in life, who always accompanies us in patience, mercy and understanding, and who places us in God’s hands.”
Pope Francis also spoke of the “international Day of Peace” which the United Nations celebrates each year on Sept. 21, encouraging all of the pilgrims to continue praying for peace in the most vulnerable places of the world.
“I invite Catholics from around the world to join with other Christians to continue to ask God for the gift of peace in the most troubled parts of our planet,” he said.
“May peace, the gift of Jesus, always live in our hearts and support the intentions and actions of the leaders of nations and all people of good will.”
The pontiff asked the pilgrims and audience members to commit themselves to “encouraging all efforts for a diplomatic and political solution of all the focus points of war that still are a cause for concern.”
He expressed that his thoughts, “go especially to the dear people of Syria, whose human tragedy can only be resolved through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for justice and the dignity of every person, especially the weakest and most defenseless.”
The Pope then gave the final blessing, welcoming all those who were present from other countries, including Argentina, England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, India, Canada, Poland and the United States.