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Amid pandemic, nurses have given heroic example, pope says


Pope Francis leads a special prayer for nurses on International Nurses Day May 12, 2020, as he begins his morning Mass in the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 


By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service


        VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Marking International Nurses Day May 12, Pope Francis offered his early morning Mass for nurses who "carry out this profession which is more than a profession; it is a vocation, a commitment."

        "May the Lord bless them," he said. "In this time of pandemic, they have given an example of heroism (and) some have given their lives. Let us pray for nurses."

        In his homily, the pope reflected on the day's Gospel reading from St. John, in which Jesus tells his disciples that he will give them a peace that is different from the peace the world offers.

        Jesus' peace, the pope explained, is not the promise of "peace without war, which we all want there to be always," but rather the internal peace of the heart and soul.

        The peace offered by the world often relies on possessions that "isolate you from others," he said.

        "It's a bit selfish: peace for me, enclosed within me. This is how the world gives it. It is an expensive peace because you have to constantly change the 'instruments of peace.' When one thing excites you, one thing gives you peace, then it ends and you have to find another. It is expensive because it is temporary and sterile," the pope said.

        On the other hand, the peace that Jesus gives doesn't isolate one but instead "sets you in motion" and "makes you go out to others," he said.

        "The peace of the world is expensive, the peace of Jesus is free, it is free; it is a gift from the Lord," the pope said.

        The pope recalled a letter he received from a priest who told him that he speaks too little about heaven.

        "He's right," the pope said. "That is why today I wanted to stress this: that peace, this peace that Jesus gives us, is a peace for now and for the future. It is the start of living in heaven with the fruitfulness of heaven. It is not anesthesia."

        Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on all Christians to ask themselves daily whether their peace comes from possessions or from God.

        "The peace of the Lord is fruitful for me because it is full of hope; that is, it looks toward heaven," he said. "May the Lord give us this peace that is full of hope, that makes us fruitful, that makes us communicate with others, that creates community and that always looks toward the definitive peace of paradise."

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