—FAITH'S AUDIENCE WITH POPE PAUL and His Speech that Day!—"You've Gotta Be a Baby!" October 4, 1972NO.192—GP
Box 31, London WC2E 7LX, England or BP 752, 75123 Paris‚ Cedex 03 France
1. THE DAY WAS BRIGHT WITH A COOL BREEZE. We drove to the Vatican through Rome traffic, and were met by two large bus loads of happy excited Little Sisters of Jesus! We noticed on our Italian calendar that today was a feast day consecrated to St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Italy! The Spirit fell as 74-year-old Little Sister Magdeliene met Faith, greeted us, took her arm‚ then they two walked through the gate and down the long sidewalk to the building.
2. THIS TOOK FAITH BY SURPRISE‚ and she wondered how in the world they would talk to each other with no translator! But as they sat down, the Holy Spirit gave them understanding, and they shared much of the vision for souls, reading together from Ezekiel 34 and Isaiah 58! As we saw them walk off, we were all struck with the impression of them being two of God's pioneers, and Martha compared it in the Spirit to the time when MO got the gift of tongues and came out and blessed Joshua!
3. THE REST OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD AND THE LITTLE SISTERS OF JESUS FOLLOWED through another gate, and took seats about 60 meters from the front row where we spotted Faith and Sister Magdeliene, and waved to them!
4. THE LARGE, MODERN AUDITORIUM WAS PACKED WITH PEOPLE. Behind the chair where the Pope was to sit there was a large painting of the Resurrection of Jesus (instead of the usual crucifix showing a dead Jesus), which depicted the revolution now happening in the Catholic Church!
5. ANNOUNCERS IN SEVERAL LANGUAGES GAVE THE PATTERN OF THE POPE'S AUDIENCE, asked everyone to cross themselves, which we did, and requested that no one crowd to the centre aisles when the Pope is carried in. Little Sister Magdeliene told Faith that the Pope is very simple, and does not like to be carried on this throne-like chair, but the people demand it of him so that they can see him.
6. THE LITTLE SISTER NEXT TO ME GAVE ME A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE TWO LATEST POPES: Pope John was a poor peasant boy who arose in the church to become Pope. He was very simple and childlike and spoke with an honesty that opened many doors and made many friends. This paved the way for the present Pope Paul(now 75 years old)‚ who is very educated‚ speaking six languages, to step through these doors and travel to every continent with a vision of Christian unity.
7. THE DISCUSSION WAS CUT SHORT, AS THE CENTRE LIGHT WENT ON, and the Pope was carried down the aisle waving and blessing the people! As he passed us, one of the attendants picked up little BBB Rachele from Syria's arms, lifted her up to the Pope, and he laid hands on her and blessed her!
8. HE WAS DRESSED SIMPLY IN WHITE, and came and sat down and began to speak. He gave greetings to many groups present and blessed the assembly. When he greeted and blessed the Little Sisters of Jesus, we stood up with them. Two of the subjects he spoke on the most (Emmanuele translated for us) were having the experience of faith, and that you must be like a child to go to heaven!
9. HE SAID, "WHAT IS THE REAL NEED OF A CHURCH TODAY? FAITH! If a church doesn't have faith, it has no life. The question is, `How to keep faith today, and not get entangled in worldliness?' Theology and philosophy are not important! God waits, He waits for us to be humbled. This experience gives you joy and peace‚ and prepares you to have the experience of faith!"
10. DURING HIS LONG SPEECH, Faith saw that Little Sister Magdeliene was getting very tired, and she was reminded of Grandmother right before she died.
11. WHEN THE POPE FINISHED SPEAKING, HE DESCENDED, as was his custom, to talk to those in the front row. Everyone was crowding and pushing‚ and grabbing his hand, but Little Sister Magdeliene and Faith waited for him. He greeted them and gave each of them his hand to kiss, and Little Sister Magdeliene introduced Faith.
12. FAITH LOOKED INTO HIS EYES AND SAW GREAT COMPASSION, and she said, "Dio ti benidica!" (God bless you!) He put his hand on her head and prayed almost fervently. Because only a few words were able to be spoken because of the crowds, the Holy Spirit bore witness who she was! As he turned to go, Faith said "Pray for the Children of God!", and he turned around and put his hand on her head again the second time and prayed!
13. WHEN HE WALKED ON, THE PEOPLE NEARBY BEGAN WONDERING, "IS SHE A MOVIE ACTRESS, or a singer?"; and they came to shake her hand! Little Sister Magdeliene introduced her to many people saying, "This is my very good friend!" And Faith was telling everyone about Little Sister Magdeliene and her Little Sisters!
14. WHEN IT WAS ALL OVER, FAITH TOLD US MORE OF WHAT THE LORD HAD SHOWN HER: "THIS WAS THE POPE'S DAY OF BLESSING as well as ours.... He is a king!... Also, this was Little Sister Magdeliene's day of blessing—her coronation!...No one looked humbler today than Little Sister Magdeliene, but to God, she was a queen!... Her blessing also was to see the Pope bless me before she died."
—Ruthie of Atlanta
POPE PAUL'S SPEECH—VATICAN CITY ROME Oct. 4, 1972
(Translated on tape by Emmanuele. This was his speech the day Faith had an audience with him for the first time with Little Sister Magdeliene of the Little Sisters of Jesus:)
15. To see so many people together, the whole Church together‚ it's beautiful! It's spiritually good to be together! It's like every person has a ray coming to me. Providence has put us in the centre of the church, so from every one of you comes a ray of light to me‚ and a wish, and a blessing to me. So you may be sure that all of you are received with my open heart and my prayer, and I greet you with my benediction.
16. We would like to name off some of the Bishops that are here: The Archbishop of Bari (applause), Malta, Brazil‚ etc. A blessing to all the people you brought, and to your people of the assemblies that you represent. So we'll bless all the assembly. (Then were introduced Italian groups of nuns, nurses, monks‚ etc.)
17. (Introduced were a group of children's nurses:) I'd like to have a long time to talk about the beautiful things about your profession of taking care of babies! It's an art, you know, You must see that you've got to be like a baby!—And babies are the image of Jesus, when He was a baby. Every baby represents Christ. You must love Him, help Him, and protect Him, like as if you had a sacred thing in front of you, because he is sacred! A baby is the image that we all must admire, because if you don't become like a little baby, you cannot go into the Kingdom of Heaven. So you must love them, and we bless you all. (Applause.)
18. Now I'll give a little speech in Italian. So I'll choose a subject, an important subject, easy to remember. I was looking for a theme to talk about, and asked, "What is the real need of the Church?—And, I said, It's faith! If the church doesn't have any faith, it doesn't exist anymore! It's a necessity to have faith!
19. Last week when I was talking, I felt there was an objection; they were feeling like: "Is it possible to keep your faith today?" There are so many objections against faith! We all get so distracted and attracted to worldly things, so one doesn't even want to look at the sky anymore, at Heaven! And so I asked myself, "Is it possible to reaffirm our faith under these conditions in which we now live?" We don't answer.—We want you to answer: How can I conserve my faith?
20. We've got to know what faith is, and how to defend it‚ and how to fortify and grow in it. This is the problem that must concern all of us. Once we know that we must have faith, now we must learn how it is possible to keep it, and grow in it. Is it possible to grow in the faith today amidst so many worldly things?...And all our duties, and everything is so oriented to the world! How must we behave? How shall we do to keep and grow in faith?
21. Because of these difficulties that we have, we must feel even more strengthened by them. So that's what we must do: Be strengthened by the difficulties that we have! Looking at the scene of the world: We must find a reason to defend always more our faith.
22. We are all tempted to do two kinds of searches: First of all, the difficulties. Where is it that I find difficulty to my faith? And the second search is: where do I find it possible, where do I find the open door, where do I find the stimulus to grow?—The need of faith we feel for the world. It's like an invitation to have faith, not for me‚ but to be an apostle for the others! So everyone should think by himself of this double side of the problem.
23. The stimulus to this search is simple: First of all we must believe that acts of faith depend on three things: First of all, is:—What do we believe in?—The Creator, our belief, our reality, on which we found our adherence. Sometimes we're defective in this because we're not instructed, we don't know. But now, what is revelation? What is this revelation that talks about all of what the world is? But we don't know. We know just a little of revelation, and it's just a little bit. We can even easily forget it.
24. So the first thing in faith is to know, know what faith is itself, because a crisis of faith is due to ignorance of it. We deny what we do not know. For today, for us, because that we believe we are modern people of a modern would, it's not serious to deny what we do not know about. It's not good to be ignorant today, especially on things so important. It's not good to be ignorant. How can we be indifferent to such a thing?
25. Most people are blind when they walk. Open your eyes, I say‚ and see!—See what could be the light of your life and the sense of your DESTINY, and of your ultimate ends! This is what most people don't do.
26. So in this effort to know and instruct ourselves in religion, we can find lots of problems on this. And if we would stop studying, we should indue it to become more profound.
27. Like early Christian literature, second century after Christ, during full persecution, someone started to write, and he was an African lawyer who is famous‚ very famous, because he almost lost that faith that he was preaching! He defended himself as a lawyer: His book is called the "Apologetica", and in the first chapter of this book, (his name was Tertulliano), he said a word that has remained a famous sentence, which says, so that we may learn to name the right of a matter, a sentence which means: "You cannot condemn that which you do not know!" How can you condemn, when you don't even know? That's very important. This is why, why we can't have scruples or doubts, because first we must know! Our faith must be conserved and fortified.
28. And there is a second element of faith, a second characteristic of faith. This is a subjective element. It's not just what you believe in, it's the soul that accepts faith; it's the answer that a person gives that is informed somehow of the good news of freedom and of the doctrine, when he says, "Yes!"... That is a very important moment in our life! It is a moment of the grace and the gift of God! So now that we want to know, how do we accept this thing?
29. You are like a photographic machine, in that even though we perceive, we must get the vision that we see, we must get it into our hearts! It's like a camera has to be tuned up to get a good picture: so with our soul. If our soul is full of other feelings‚ other thoughts, other ideas, if it's full of material interests and passions‚ it cannot receive the picture, it can't take the picture.
30. And so from the moment our seat of faith is founded on the authority and the witness of God, only then can we understand faith. Not like the other things, because with faith, you've got to believe on the Word, and only accept that you've been saved just on the Word. Accept it just on itself! This is a weak argument against the cultural and intellectual people‚ because they want to touch and see. But we only accept just because of the Word. And this is all that saves us, not the other exterior things!
31. God wants to be believed, because we believed on His Word that He has announced in the books of the Gospel, and then we see it all in Jesus, to Whom all the prophecies bring us, to a revelation of the Old Testament, and all the tradition of faith of the New Testament. So if we only want experimental, intellectual rational knowledge, a base only on what we can reach with our own strength, we don't give to our soul that light that God wants to give us.
32. We are disciples of God. But if we don't want to be, then we'll be abandoned; we won't be in communication with Him. Because He wanted to be in communication with us as His children and in His sharing... Charity is not just talk. We must remember the words that come from Pasquale, the philosopher of the 17th century when he says, "We must put in practice!"
33. We don't have to study philosophy for this; you just have to use your good sense and have a clear reasoning, logic‚ free from other passions and interests: "I want to see the truth". We must make an effort to think good. One puts himself in this position.... Faith is not an effort anymore, but it's a Light, and you see, and you can understand much more of everything. Because if you strive to make it an effort to think good and in the Spirit of our Lord, you'll learn much more.
34. Can we with our poor strength, with our poor minds, with our intelligence, can we come to this point and say "Yes"? The theologians have talked for years and years and years about this, had Councils about it, and made a microscopic analysis of the act of faith, but we see there is a direct intervention of God. It's God that helps us to say "Yes." Also I believe it means I'm already saved!
35. It's God that gives us the strength‚ it's the Holy Ghost that is blown into our soul, and with which He gives us the strength to say "Yes". But how can we accept if we don't understand anything‚ We don't know anything about the Holy Trinity? You know nothing!—How can we say "Yes"? Because there's a supernatural instant that makes me to say "Yes", and then I will understand, the first understanding which is spontaneous, which is supernatural, and which brings us happiness!
36.—Happiness because we hear and accept the Word of God! So we get out of the dilemma of all these difficulties of faith where my soul has so many problems! So how can I find peace? How can I feel good?—Only by the help of God!
37. And so now we can end up by saying: If faith is a gift of God, the first thing we have to do is just desire it and be anxious, and get desperate! Everyone before he meets God must get desperate. So we must say: "God, I must be humble, I must listen!—Like if I go to any teacher and he teaches me, I must have the humility to listen and to be Your disciple!" I must realise the love of the Spirit of God that speaks to my intelligence, and pray, "Lord make me see: Lord show me; Lord, give me understanding!"
38. We must pray, we must pray! Many people take a long time to have this crisis, and in torment they wait, and they wait, and wait! And God makes people wait. He waits too. He has patience. He waits for us to meet Him at the rendezvous of His love. It's not important, this theology or philosophy!—God waits! He waits for us to be humbled, if we pray.
39. Some people say, "I don't feel peace anymore with my former friends."—But I say, "Good, good!"—Because only a true religious experience will give you peace and life! But prayer, like the Mass, can give you this joy. Prayer, like the Mass, prepares you for the full joy of faith. And this is what we wish with our
40. (He gives lengthy greeting to the Little Sisters of Jesus and Children of God and says:)..."The Church sends you to be witnesses in the world!...as a sample of His love among the people!"...
41. THIS WAS DEAR POPE PAUL'S SINCERE AND THOUGHTFUL MESSAGE TO US AND THE LITTLE SISTERS of Jesus and all those present that day of our audience with him! Would that this message could be given to the whole world! It is virtually the same message that we ourselves are trying to give them constantly! It was very obvious that he had our presence in mind. After speaking of our togetherness and greeting some of the dignitaries present, and having just personally blessed one of our own little babies, Syria's Rachele, with the laying on of his hands as he came down the aisle, he commended the work of nursing children and the care of babies, saying‚ "You've got to be like a baby!" It was evident he was thinking of relating his own message to our theme song, "You Gotta Be a Baby!", which we rose and sang for him during our audience! He also quoted the Scripture, "become as a little child".
42. THEN, AS YOU'LL NOTE, HE GAVE THE MOST REMARKABLY SIMPLE LITTLE MESSAGE ON SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH CHILDLIKE FAITH AND AN INSTANTANEOUS ACCEPTANCE OF JESUS FOUNDED SOLELY ON THE WORD OF GOD! We couldn't have put it better ourselves! He spoke of how faith must grow in spite of the cares and oppositions of this life‚ not only for our own sake, but to help others, and that it must come not only by revelation, but by personal experience—knowing what we believe! How true it is that people deny what they don't know—like those who condemn us who don't know us! How often lack of faith is due to ignorance!—Or the failure to say "yes" to God!
43. HIS SIMPLE LITTLE ILLUSTRATIONS, like the camera, and his spontaneous asides to explain or quote, reminded us so much of some of our own Letters! It was all so simple and child–like, we could all understand‚ like a father to his children! His emphasis on faith for salvation in God's Word alone‚ and nothing else‚ was remarkable, as well as minimising the value of intellectuality, rationalism, theology, philosophy and our own works when it comes to salvation. He made it plain that salvation was clearly a miracle of God through His Spirit by His Word and our faith! God even helps us to say "yes" and to know we're saved in a supernatural instant! All we have to do is hear and accept, and God does all the rest!—It's a gift! The only reason we wait is because God waits for us to be humbled and pray for help. How true! He closes with the warning that it will make a difference in our relationships with our former associates, but give us peace and life and joy as we witness God's love to others by being a living sample to people of the world! Hallelujah? Amen! It sounds to me like Pope Paul preaches the same Gospel we do! God bless him!—And I'm sure God has, and will bless him even as he has blessed us! God bless the Catholics!