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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis says children offer an example of true freedom

The protagonist of the General Audience this week wasn't Pope Francis, but rather a little boy who approached him.

They offered him a chair to sit next to the Pope, but the boy had something else in mind.

He wanted the Pope's cap. And Pope Francis gave him one.

"I was reminded of what Jesus said about the spontaneity and freedom of children, when this child had the freedom to approach me, to act as if he were at home. And Jesus tells us, “You too, if you do not behave like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The courage to approach the Lord, to be open to the Lord, not to be afraid of the Lord."

At the General Audience, the Pope explained that freedom goes hand in hand with charity and service, and that it does not mean doing whatever we want, which leaves the heart empty. Real freedom means choosing what is genuinely good for oneself and for others, even if it requires sacrifice.

That's why Pope Francis said that the modern conception of “my freedom ends where yours begins” is wrong.

"Those who have received the gift of freedom brought about by Jesus cannot think that freedom consists in keeping away from others, as if they were a nuisance; they cannot see a human being cooped up alone, but rather as part of a community."

During the greetings, the Pope recognized a group of nuns in the crowd. They are the “Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick,” the congregation founded by Mother Maria Soledad Torres Acosta.

"These sisters spend nights caring for the sick, and they sleep for a bit during the day. They are an example of serving until the end, with no concern for themselves. Continue on this path. Thank you for what you do."

Before leaving, the Pope sent a special greeting to the elderly and to the sick following the Audience remotely.

Among those present was Cardinal Celestino Aos of Santiago de Chile, who exchanged a few words with the Pope.