Pope Francis explains why the baby Jesus was born in a manger

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In his weekly Catechesis, Pope Francis announced the publication of an apostolic letter dedicated to St. Francis de Sales. He also explained the meaning of the manger found in St. Luke's Gospel. It “shows us God's 'style,' which is closeness, compassion and tenderness,” Pope Francis said.


Dear brothers and sisters:

In this Christmas season, our reflections on Jesus’ birth can be enhanced by some thoughts of the great Doctor of the Church, Saint Francis de Sales. Today, on the fourth centenary of his death, I have published a new Apostolic Letter to recall some of the richness of his teaching. For Francis de Sales, the mystery of Christmas directs our gaze to the poverty and simplicity of the manger as the sign of Christ’s true identity as God among us. God, who knows our weaknesses, our sins and our hardness of heart, chose to draw us to himself by bonds of love, coming into our world as a newborn child. The birth of Jesus thus reveals God’s utterly free, gracious and indeed “disarming” love.

Saint Francis teaches us to welcome the Lord

into our hearts by joyfully imitating his detachment from worldly wealth and power, and, like the infant Jesus, by learning “to desire nothing and to refuse nothing, to accept everything that God sends us,” with complete confidence in his loving providence. May the lowly manger of Bethlehem inspire us to imitate that boundless love of God, made flesh in the Child of Bethlehem, the Savior of the world.

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the United States of America. To all of you and your families, I offer my prayerful good wishes for a blessed Christmas season and a new year filled with joy and peace.

God bless you!

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