May Our Lady similarly melt cold hearts ....
As is his custom, Pope Francis met in Kazakhstan with representatives of the local Church: bishops, religious, priests, seminarians and lay leaders.
In these addresses, he often urges the faithful to find hope in the memory of what Jesus has done for them, including in their first call, and in the history of their people.
To the small Kazakh Church, he also had a word of encouragement since they represent only 1% of the country’s population.
… the Gospel says that being “little,” poor in spirit, is a blessing, a beatitude, and indeed the first of the beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3). For once we acknowledge our littleness, we can humbly hand ourselves over to the power of God, who teaches us not to base our ecclesial activity on our own abilities.
This is a grace! I repeat: There is a hidden grace in being a small Church, a little flock, for instead of showing off our strengths, our numbers, our structures and other things that are humanly important, we can let ourselves be guided by the Lord and humbly draw close to others.
Rich in nothing and poor in everything, let us walk with simplicity alongside our sisters and brothers, bringing the joy of the Gospel into the situations of everyday life. Like the leaven in the dough and like the smallest of seeds sown in the earth (cf. Mt 13:31-33), may we immerse ourselves in the joyful and sorrowful events of the society in which we live, in order to serve it from within.
A miracle from the Queen of Peace
At the end of his address, the Pope expressed his affection as Successor of Peter: “Please know that I am close to you. I encourage you to embrace your spiritual inheritance with joy and to bear generous witness to it, so that all whom you meet may realize that there is a promise of hope meant for them as well. I accompany all of you with my prayers.”
And then he mentioned the miracle that is at the heart of the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Ozernoye, the only Marian shrine in Central Asia.
Let us commend ourselves in a particular way to the Heart of Mary Most Holy, whom you greatly venerate as Queen of Peace. I have learned of a beautiful sign of her maternal love that took place at a time of hardship when many people were deported and others forced to starve and to freeze. As a tender and caring Mother, she listened to the prayers that her children offered to her. In the midst of a bitterly cold winter, the snow quickly melted to reveal a lake full of fish, which fed many famished people.
May Our Lady similarly melt cold hearts, fill our communities with a renewed fraternal warmth, and grant us new hope and enthusiasm for the Gospel! I thank each of you and with great affection I give you my blessing. And I ask you, please, to pray for me.