Vatican City, Dec 31, 2019 / 10:35 am
It is an act of love to spend time with others, to listen to them and their needs, and to try to see them as Christ sees them, Pope Francis said on New Year’s Eve.
“We are called to meet others and listen to their life, their cry for help,” he said Dec. 31. “Listening is already an act of love!”
In his homily during vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope said “having time for others, dialoguing, recognizing with a contemplative gaze the presence and action of God in their lives, witnessing the new life of the Gospel with deeds rather than words, is truly a service of love which changes reality.”
He also said, addressing residents of Rome in particular, that doing so will bring “new air” to the city and to the Church.
And no one, Francis argued, should feel afraid or think they are not enough to fulfill this important mission.
“Let us remember: God does not choose us because of our ‘skill,’ but precisely because we are and we feel small,” he said.
First Vespers was prayed at the Vatican in anticipation of the Jan. 1 Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The prayer was followed by Eucharistic adoration and benediction, and by the singing of the “Te Deum,” a Latin hymn of thanksgiving from the early Church.
After the service, the pope visited the nativity in St. Peter’s Square, greeting those gathered nearby.