By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at the 102nd edition of Catholic Days (Katholikentag) opening Wednesday evening in the German city of Stuttgart and continuing until Sunday.
The Pope offered his warm greetings in these festive days when they come together “to honour God and to bear witness together to the joy of the Gospel.”
Referring to the motto of the Katholikentag, the Pope noted how God has “breathed his breath of life into humanity,” and in Jesus this “sharing of life” of God reaches its “unsurpassable apex” as “he shares our earthly life to enable us to participate in his divine life.”
We are also called to follow Jesus’ example in caring for the poor and suffering, as we are today close to the people of Ukraine and all those who are threatened by violence, the Pope pointed out, calling on us all to implore God’s peace on all people.
Dedicating our lives to God and neighbour
The Pope said we can make a gift of our lives for God and neighbour in many different ways, whether as dedicated mothers and fathers raising their children or those donating their time in church services and charitable outreach activities. The Pope underscored that “no one is saved alone” and “we are all sitting in the same boat” which makes it imperative we develop an awareness of how we are all “children of the one Father, brothers and sisters” and must be in solidarity with one another.
The shining example of St. Martin
The Pope pointed to Saint Martin, patron of the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, as a “shining example” to follow, who shared his cloak with a poor person suffering in the cold and treated him with dignity and concern, not only offering help.
Offering and receiving gifts
Finally, the Pope observed even the poorest have something they can offer to others, and even the richest may lack something and need other people’s gifts. He noted how sometimes we may find it difficult to accept a gift, since it requires admitting our own imperfection and needs, even if we might think we are self-sufficient. He said we should pray to God for “the humility of being able to accept something from others.”
In conclusion, the Pope pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an example of “this humble attitude towards God,” that must characterise our own attitude. “She implored and awaited the Holy Spirit in the midst of the apostles, and still today, with us and by our side, she implores this gift among gifts.”