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To Bear Patiently with Bothersome People

Catechesis by Pope Francis in the Jubilee of Mercy
General Audience, Wednesday 16 November 2016, St Peter's Square - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
We dedicate today’s catechesis to a work of mercy that we all know very well, but that perhaps we do not put into practice as we should: bearing wrongs patiently. We are all very good at identifying something that can be bothersome: it happens when we encounter someone on the street, or when we receive a phone call.... We immediately think: “How long will I have to listen to this person’s complaints, gossip, requests or boastings? It also happens, at times, that the bothersome people are those who are closest to us. There is always someone among our relatives; the workplace is not without them; not even in our free time are we spared. What are we supposed to do with people who annoy us? But often we also annoy others. Why was this also added among the works of mercy? Bear wrongs patiently.

In the Bible we see that God himself must employ mercy in order to bear the lamentings of his people. For example, in the Book of Exodus the people become truly unbearable: first they cry because they are slaves in Egypt, and God frees them; then, in the desert, they complain because there is nothing to eat (cf. 16:3), and God sends them quails and manna (cf. 16:13-16), but nevertheless the complaints do not cease. Moses served as mediator between God and the people, and several times he too would have annoyed the Lord. But God had patience and thus he taught Moses and also the people this essential dimension of faith.

Therefore a first question arises spontaneously: do we ever conduct an examination of conscience in order to see if we too, at times, might be annoying to others? It’s easy to point a finger against the faults and shortcomings of others, but we must learn to put ourselves in their shoes.

Above all let us look to Jesus: how much patience he had to have in the three years of his public life! Once, while he was walking with his disciples, he was stopped by James and John’s mother, who said to him: “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom” (Mt 20:21). The mother was lobbying for her sons, but she was their mother.... Even from that situation Jesus is inspired to give a fundamental lesson: his is not a kingdom of power, it is not a kingdom of glory like those on earth, but of service and charitable giving to others. Jesus teaches to always go to the essential and to look further in order to accept our mission responsibly. Here we can see the reference to two other spiritual works of mercy: that of admonishing sinners and that of instructing the ignorant. Let us think about the great effort that can be made when we help people to grow in faith and in life. I think, for example, of catechists — among whom are many mothers and many women religious — who devote time to teaching young people the basic elements of the faith. How much effort, especially when the kids would prefer to play rather than listen to the catechism!

To accompany in the search for the essential is beautiful and important, because it makes us share the joy of savouring the meaning of life. It often happens that we encounter people who linger on superficial, ephemeral and banal things; at times because they have never met anyone who spurs them to seek something else, to appreciate the true treasures. Teaching to look to the essential is a crucial help, especially in a time such as ours which seems to have lost its bearings and pursues short-lived satisfaction. Teaching to discover what the Lord wants from us and how we can correspond means setting out on the path to grow in our own vocation, the path of true joy. This is how Jesus’ words to James and John’s mother, and then to the whole group of disciples, points the way to avoid falling into envy, ambition and adulation, temptations which are always lurking even among us Christians. The need for counseling, admonition and teaching must not make us feel superior to others, but obligates us first and foremost to return to ourselves to verify whether we are coherent with what we ask of others. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Lk 6:41). May the Holy Spirit help us to be patient in bearing [wrongs], and humble and simple in giving counsel."


"Je suis heureux d’accueillir les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les membres de l’Œuvre d’Orient, les prêtres de l’Union Apostolique du Clergé et du diocèse d’Agen, avec l’évêque Mgr Herbreteau, ainsi que les pèlerins venus de France, de Belgique et de République Démocratique du Congo. En cette Année Jubilaire qui s’achève, je vous invite à ne pas fermer les portes de la miséricorde de votre cœur, mais à être toujours plus patients, humbles et simples dans l’accueil de vos frères et de vos sœurs. Que Dieu vous bénisse!

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Malta, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that these final days of the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an alle Pilger deutscher Sprache. Gott ist mit uns immer barmherzig und hat uns ein Beispiel gegeben, damit auch wir so handeln. Ich wünsche euch einen guten Aufenthalt in Rom und segne euch alle von Herzen.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los venidos de España y Latinoamérica. Les animo a poner en práctica las obras de misericordia, corporales y espirituales, para que todos puedan experimentar la presencia y ternura de Dios en sus vidas.

Saúdo a todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular aos sacerdotes e fiéis do Rio de Janeiro, bem como os de Votuporanga e Patos de Minas. Queridos amigos, nesta última semana do Jubileu Extraordinário da Misericórdia, Jesus nos chama a levar a alegria e a consolação do Evangelho a todos os homens, como suas autênticas testemunhas misericordiosas! Que Deus vos abençoe a todos!

أتوجه بتحية حارة للحجاج الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة القادمين من‏ الأردن، ‏ومن سوريا ‏ومن ‏لبنان. ‏إن تحمل الأشخاص ‏المزعجين بصبر هو عمل من أعمال الرحمة الروحية علينا ‏أن ‏القيام به بدون تكبر وبدون شعور بالتعالي، بل بتوفق مع الذات وبتواضع. ‏لنتذكر دائما بأنه ‏بنفس ‏الكيل الذي سنتحمل به الآخرين وسنكيل لهم، سيكال لنا.‏‏ ليبارككم الرب ‏جميعا ويحرسكم ‏من ‏الشرير!‏

Serdeczne pozdrowienie kieruję do polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, za kilka dni zostanie zamknięta Brama Święta Jubileuszu Miłosierdzia. Nie zamyka się jednak miłosierne serce Boga, nie gaśnie Jego czułość wobec nas grzeszników, nie przestają płynąć strumienie Jego łaski. Tak też nie mogą się zamknąć nasze serca i nie możemy przestać pełnić dzieła miłosierdzia wobec potrzebujących. Doświadczenie miłosierdzia Bożego, jakie przeżywaliśmy w tym Roku Jubileuszowym niech pozostanie w was jako natchnienie do ofiarnej miłości bliźniego. Niech wam towarzyszy błogosławieństwo Pana!

Van harte begroet ik de gelovigen uit Nederland die deelnemen aan deze Audiëntie, vergezeld door hun bisschoppen, bij gelegenheid van de bedevaart van de Nederlandse bisdommen in dit jubeljaar. Het Buitengewone Heilig Jaar, dat bijna ten einde loopt, is bij uitstek een tijd geweest om het belang van Gods barmhartigheid in het christelijk leven opnieuw te ontdekken. Laat ons, gegrepen door Jezus Chistus (vgl. Fil. 3,12), altijd boodschappers zijn van Gods liefde in deze wereld, door het beoefenen van de lichamelijke en geestelijke werken van barmhartigheid. De Heer zegene u en al uw dierbaren."


"Domenica prossima, 20 novembre, si celebrerà la Giornata mondiale dei diritti dell’infanzia e dell’adolescenza. Faccio appello alla coscienza di tutti, istituzioni e famiglie, affinché i bambini siano sempre protetti e il loro benessere venga tutelato, perché non cadano mai in forme di schiavitù, reclutamento in gruppi armati e maltrattamenti. Auspico che la Comunità internazionale possa vigilare sulla loro vita, garantendo ad ogni bambino e bambina il diritto alla scuola e all’educazione, perché la loro crescita sia serena e guardino con fiducia al futuro.

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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Saluto la Federazione Maestri del lavoro, che ricorda il sessantesimo di fondazione ed auspico che la ricorrenza contribuisca a favorire l’inclusione sociale ed economica, specialmente delle fasce più deboli della popolazione.

Saluto la Comunità dei Figli di Dio di Firenze; la Croce Rossa di Spoltore; l’Associazione “Arance di Natale” di Camisano Vicentino; i gruppi parrocchiali e gli studenti. Nell’imminenza della fine del Giubileo Straordinario ciascuno ricordi quanto è importante essere Misericordiosi come il Padre e che l’amore verso i fratelli ci rende più umani e più cristiani.

Porgo un saluto speciale ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. Nel mese di Novembre la liturgia ci invita alla preghiera per i defunti. Non dimentichiamo quanti ci hanno voluto bene e ci hanno preceduto nella fede, come anche coloro dei quali nessuno si ricorda: il suffragio nella Celebrazione Eucaristica è il miglior aiuto spirituale che noi possiamo offrire alle loro anime. Ricordiamo con particolare affetto le vittime del recente terremoto nel Centro Italia: preghiamo per loro e per i familiari e continuiamo ad essere solidali con quanti hanno subito dei danni."