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Pope says the Church is not a haven for sad people, it is the house of joy



December 16, 2013 - For Pope Francis, the Church is not a haven for sad people. It is the house of joy; and this joy of the Gospel is motivated by the awareness that we are wanted and loved by God. The Pope made the point during his weekly midday ‘Angelus’ prayer in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square on the Third Sunday of Advent. Among the thousands of pilgrims and visitors he addressed from his studio window overlooking square, were hundreds of Roman children who brought their statues of Baby Jesus to be blessed and later placed in their nativity scenes at home. The Pope told them: "When you pray in front of your crib, remember me like I remember you. Thank you, and Merry Christmas". Reminding the faithful of the third Sunday of Advent, also called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ or ‘Sunday of Joy’, the Holy Father explained that the Christian message is called "Gospel" that is "good news," a proclamation of joy for all people. He said that despite our sinfulness, difficulties, weaknesses, sadness and tears, God gives us the strength to go ahead. He is always with us to help us move forward. This joy, he said, is evident also amidst suffering, because it is not superficial, but descends into the depths of the person who trusts in God and entrusts his or her self to Him. Christian joy, like hope, has its foundation in the faithfulness of God , knowing that He always keeps His promises. Therefore, when a Christian becomes sad we could say that he or she has turned away from Jesus. But then, the Pope exhorted other Christians, “we must not leave him alone, we must pray for him, and let him feel the warmth of the community".




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