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Pope recounts joy, kindness and humility he saw in Mongolia

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he knows people are wondering why he traveled nearly 6,000 kilometers to Mongolia to visit a Catholic community of just 1,450 people.

“Because it is precisely there, far from the spotlight, that we often find the signs of the presence of God, who does not look at appearances but at the heart”, he declared in front of thousands of people gathered in Saint- Peter for his celebration. weekly general audience on September 6.

Pope Francis greets visitors from the popemobile as he strolls around St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican ahead of his weekly general audience on Sept. 6, 2023. (CNS Photo/Lola Gomez)

Following his usual habit of talking about a trip during the first audience after his return, the pope said that during his stay from September 1 to 4 in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital, he met “a humble church and joyful, which is in the heart of God”, but who was excited to find himself in the center of the attention of the universal Church for a few days.

“I have been in the heart of Asia and it has done me good,” the pope said.

The missionaries who arrived in Mongolia in 1992 “did not go there to proselytize,” the pope said. “They went to live like the Mongolian people, to speak their language, the language of the people, to learn the values ​​of this people and to preach the Gospel in a Mongolian style, with Mongolian words. »

The universality of the Catholic Church, he said, is not something that “homogenizes” the faith.

“This is catholicity: an incarnate universality, which embraces the good where it is and serves the people with whom it lives,” the pope said. “This is how the Church lives: witnessing to the love of Jesus with gentleness, with life before words, happy with its true riches, which are the service of the Lord and of our brothers. »

The Catholic Church recognizes God at work in the world and in others, he said. His vision and his heart are as vast as the sky above the Mongolian steppe.

The international group of missionaries working in Mongolia discovered “the beauty already there”, he said. “I, too, was able to discover something of this beauty” by meeting people, hearing their stories and “appreciating their religious quest”.

“Mongolia has a great Buddhist tradition, with many people living their religiosity sincerely and radically, in silence, selflessness and mastery of their own passions,” the pope said. “Just think of the many hidden seeds of goodness that make the garden of the world bloom, when we usually only hear the sound of falling trees!” »

People naturally notice what is loud and outrageous, the pope said, but Christians must try to discern and recognize what is good in others and in the world around them.

“Only in this way, starting from the recognition of what is good, can we build a common future,” he said. “Only by valuing others can we help them improve.”

Pope Francis said one thing was very clear: the Mongolian people “cherish their roots and traditions, respect the elderly and live in harmony with the environment”.

“As we think of the endless, silent expanses of Mongolia, let us be moved by the need to expand the boundaries of our gaze – please expand the boundaries, look wide and high, look and don’t get caught up in the little things “, did he declare. said the pope. This is the only way to “see the good in others and to be able to broaden our horizons and also broaden our hearts to understand and be close to each people and each civilization”.

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Copyright © 2023 Catholic News Service/American Conference of Catholic Bishops


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