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If God feels distant, consider this from Pope Francis

Pope Nativity manger


Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/01/22

There is one phrase from Scripture that shows how close Jesus is to us, no matter how weak or unworthy we might feel.

Pope Francis prayed the midday Angelus on the January 1 feast of Mary, Mother of God, inviting us to feel very close to Jesus.

Here is a portion of what he said:


Let us begin the new year entrusting it to Mary, the Mother of God.

The Gospel of today’s Liturgy speaks of her, taking us back once again to the wonder of the crib. The shepherds hasten toward the stable and what do they find? The text says they find, “Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger” (Lk 2:16). Let us pause on this scene and let us imagine Mary who, like a tender and caring mamma, has just laid Jesus in the manger. We can see a gift given to us in that act of laying him down: the Madonna does not keep her Son to herself, but presents him to us. She not only holds him in her arms, but puts him down to invite us to look at him, welcome him, adore him. Behold Mary’s maternity: she offers the Son who is born to all of us. Always by giving her Son, showing her Son, never treating her Son as something of her own, no. And so throughout Jesus’ life.

She not only holds him in her arms, but puts him down to invite us to look at him, welcome him, adore him.

And in laying him before our eyes, without saying a word, she gives us a wonderful message: God is near, within our reach. He does not come with the power of someone who wants to be feared, but with the frailness of someone who asks to be loved. He does not judge from his throne on high, but looks at us from below, like a brother, rather, like a son. He is born little and in need so that no one would ever again be ashamed. It is precisely when we experience our weakness and our frailness that we can feel God even nearer, because he appeared to us in this way – weak and frail. He is the God-child who is born so as not to exclude anyone. He did this to make us all become brothers and sisters.

And so, the new year begins with God who, in the arms of his mother and lying in a manger, gives us courage with tenderness. We need this encouragement.  …

Pope Francis
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