It’s important to follow the example of St. Therese's “little way,” trusting in God and his consolation with the faith a small child, Pope Francis said Saturday, which marked the feast of the young saint and Doctor of the Church.
Quoting from her autobiography, he said St. Therese “shows her
'little way' to God, the trust of a little child who falls asleep
without fear in his Father’s arms, because 'Jesus does not demand great
actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude.'”
“To receive God’s love we need this littleness of heart: only little
ones can be held in their mothers’ arms,” the Pope said during his
homily at M. Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi, Georgia Oct. 1.
“Here in Georgia there are a great number of grandmothers and mothers
who unceasingly defend and pass on the faith,” he said, adding that
they “bring the fresh water of God’s consolation to countless situations
of barrenness and conflict.”
Tbilisi is the Pope’s first stop during his Sept. 30-Oct. 2 visit to
Georgia and Azerbaijan. Expected to largely focus on the topics of
peace, ecumenism, and interreligious dialogue, the trip is seen as a
conclusion of his Caucasus tour, following his visit to Armenia in June.
In Georgia, Eastern Orthodox make up 84 percent of the population,
Muslims 10 percent, Apostolic Armenians close to three, and Catholics
less than one percent.
The Pope's homily at the public Mass centered on the comfort of God as being like the comfort of a father to his children.
“As he looks at us, he is always moved and becomes tender-hearted,
with a love from the depths of his being, for beyond any evil we are
capable of, we always remain his children; he wants to take us in his
arms, protect us, and free us from harm and evil,” he said.
It is God's presence that frees us and gives us joy, even amid
conflict or turmoil in our lives, Francis said. “For this reason, if we
want to experience his consolation, we must give way to the Lord in our
“There are doors of consolation which must always be open, because
Jesus especially loves to enter through them: the Gospel we read every
day and carry around with us, our silent prayer in adoration,
confession, the Eucharist. It is through these doors that the Lord
enters and gives new flavor to reality.”
“When the door of our heart is closed, however, his light cannot enter in and everything remains dark,” he added.
Pope Francis noted also the importance of community, saying that “in
the Church we find consolation, the Church is the house of consolation:
here God wishes to console us.”
“It is when we are united, in communion, that God’s consolation works
in us,” he said, explaining that we must ask ourselves if we who are in
the Church truly bring God’s consolation to others and welcome them,
consoling the tired and disillusioned.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us take up this call: to not bury
ourselves in what is going wrong around us or be saddened by the lack of
harmony between us.”
“It is not good for us to become accustomed to a closed ecclesial
micro-environment,” but rather “to share wide horizons open to hope,
having the courage to humbly open our doors and go beyond ourselves,”
The Pope also stressed the need to always trust and hope in the
surprises of God. Doing this, he said, “will help us to remember that we
are constantly and primarily his children.”
We are “not masters of our lives, but children of the Father; not
autonomous and self-sufficient adults, but children who always need to
be lifted up and embraced, who need love and forgiveness,” the Pope
“Blessed are those Christian communities who live this authentic
gospel simplicity!” he said. “Blessed are the Shepherds who do not ride
the logic of worldly success, but follow the law of love: welcoming,
“Blessed is the Church who does not entrust herself to the criteria
of functionalism and organizational efficiency, nor worries about her
image,” he added.
Pope Francis offered encouragement to the “little and beloved flock
of Georgia,” telling them to receive the encouragement of the Good
Shepherd who “takes you on his shoulders and consoles you.”
“The true greatness of man consists in making himself small before
God,” he said, adding that God is not known through “grand ideas and
extensive study, but rather through the littleness of a humble and
“To be great before the Most High does not require the accumulation
of honor and prestige or earthly goods and success, but rather a