Vatican Corner 01-06-19

On December 21, 2018 Pope Francis again held a meeting with the Vatican employees and their families to exchange Christmas greetings. This gathering follows right after the long-held traditional meeting the pope holds with the officials of the Vatican’s administrative institutions. This was the fifth time greeting the workers and their families and it took place in the Paul VI auditorium where many attending wore festive clothes and gave Francis Christmas cards, gifts, and hugs. Francis said he was particularly pleased to see a 93-year old great-grandmother with her daughter and great-grandchildren, and that she deserved an award. He said to those gathered that Christmas is the season of joy because the source of true joy – Christ the savior – has come. “But often we realize that people and perhaps we ourselves are caught up in so many things and, in the end, there is no joy or, if there is, it is very superficial. Why? He said joy comes from being holy or at least trying to be good, being close to Jesus and letting oneself be touched by wonder and “contaminated” by the joy that surrounds him. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and all the others gathered at the manger, gazing at the Christ child, are “overflowing with holiness and, therefore with joy.” He told the employees that his wish for them this Christmas was “to be saints, to be happy.” Be “normal saints,” people who are holy even with all their defects and sins because “we ask forgiveness and go forward,“ he said. It takes just a little to be on the road to holiness, just a small ray of sunshine, “a smile, some attention, a favor, saying sorry.” He said little things like that make the workplace “more breathable,” too. It lightens up that stifling environment “we create with our arrogance, closed-mindedness and prejudices, and people even work better” with better results. Francis also reminded them to avoid criticizing others behind their backs. If something is bothering them, they should confront the person directly and speak frankly, or else just bite their tongue. Do not gossip or backstab, he said, because it destroys “friendships and spontaneity.” The Pope said he has gotten to know many holy people who work at the Vatican. They are “saints who live the Christan life well. If they do something bad, they apologize. But they go forward, “you can live this way.” Often these saints “who live next door” are hard to notice because they are modest, do their jobs well and work well with others. “And they are joyful people, not because they are always laughing, no, because they are very serene inside and they know how to spread it to others. And where does that serenity come from? Always from him, Jesus.” “We are not afraid of holiness, the Pope said. “I can tell you, it is the path of joy.”