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General Audience, 20.09.2017

Catechesis of the Holy Father

Greetings in various languages


This morning’s General Audience took place at 9.40 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.

In his address in Italian the Pope focused on the theme “Educating in hope”.

After summarising his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present.

The General Audience concluded with the recital of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.


Catechesis of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today’s catechesis has the theme: “Educating in hope”. And For this reason I will address it directly, using the word “you”, imagining that I am speaking as an educator, as a father, to a young person, or any person willing to learn.

Think: wherever God has sown you, hope! Always hope.

Do not give in to the night; remember that the first enemy to subdue is not outside you: it is within. Therefore, do not grant space for bitter or dark thoughts. This world is the first miracle that God worked, and God has placed in our hands the grace of new wonders. Faith and hope proceed together. Believe in the existence of the highest and most beautiful truths. Trust in God the Creator, in the Holy Spirit that moves everything towards good, in the embrace of Christ Who awaits every man at the end of his existence; believe, He awaits you. The world turns thanks to the vision of many men who have opened breaches, who have built bridges, who have dreamed and believed; even when around them they heard words of derision.

Never think that the battle you fight down here is entirely useless. At the end of existence, shipwreck does not await us; within us there is a seed of the absolute. God does not let us down: if He has placed hope in our hearts, He does not want to cut it down with continuous frustrations. Everything is born to flourish in an eternal spring. God also made us to flourish. I remember that dialogue, when the oak asked the almond tree, “Speak to me of God”, and the almond tree blossomed.

Wherever you are, build! It you are on the ground, get up! Never remain on the ground, get up, let yourself be helped up onto your feet. If you are seated, start walking! If boredom paralyses you, drive it away with good works! If you feel empty and demoralised, ask the Holy Spirit to fill the void once more.

Work in peace among men, and do not listen to the voice that spreads hatred and divisions. Do not listen to those voices. Human beings, as different from each other as they are, were created to live together. In conflicts, be patient: one day you will discover that everyone is the depository of a fragment of truth.

Love people. Love them one by one. Respect the path each one takes, linear or troubled as it may be, because each person has their tale to tell. Each one of us has his own story to tell. Every child who is born is the promise of life that once again shows itself to be stronger than death. Every love that arises is a power for transformation that yearns for happiness.

Jesus granted us a light that shines in the darkness: defend it and protect it. That single lamp is the greatest wealth entrusted to your life.

And above all, dream! Do not be afraid of dreaming. Dream! Dream of a world that we do not yet see, but which will certainly come. Hope leads us to believe in the existence of a creation that extends up to its definitive fulfilment, when God will be everything in all. Men capable of imagination have given scientific and technological discoveries to mankind. They have crossed the oceans, walked on lands where no-one had ever set foot. The men who have cultivated hopes are also those who have defeated slavery, and brought better conditions of life on this earth. Think of these men.

Be responsible for this world and for the life of every man. Think that every injustice against a poor person is an open wound, and diminishes your very dignity. Life does not cease with your existence, and in this world generations will come that will succeed ours, and many others again. And every day, ask God for the gift of courage. Remember that Jesus conquered fear for us. He conquered fear! Our most treacherous enemy can do nothing against faith. And when you find yourself afraid, faced with some difficulty in life, remember that you do not live only for yourself. In Baptism your life was immersed in the mystery of the Trinity and you belong to Jesus. And if one day you are gripped by fear, think simply that Jesus lives in you. And it is He Who, through you, with His gentleness, withes to overcome all the enemies of mankind: sin, hatred, crime, and violence; all our enemies.

Always have the courage of the truth, but remember: you are superior to no-one. Remember this: you are superior to no-one. Even if you were to be the last to believe in the truth, do not seek refuge from the company of man for this reason. Even if you were to live in the silence of a hermitage, carry in your heart the suffering of every creature. You are Christian: and in prayer consign everything to God.

And cultivate ideals. Life for something greater than man. And even if one day these ideals ask you to pay a heavy price, never stop carrying them in your heart. Faith achieves everything.

If you make a mistake, get up again: nothing is more human than committing errors. And those same errors should not become a prison for you. Let us not be caged in by our mistakes. The Son of God came not for the healthy, but for the sick; so He came for you too. And if you make more mistakes in the future, do not fear, get up again! Do you know why? Because God is your friend.

If you are afflicted by bitterness, believe firmly in all the people who still work for good: in their humility there is the seed of a new world. Frequent people who have kept their heart like that of a child. Learn from wonder, cultivate awe.

Live, love, dream, believe. And, with God’s grace, never despair.


Greetings in various languages


I cordially greet French pilgrims, in particular the groups from the Pontifical Mission Societies, accompanied by Msgr. Patrick Le Gal. God never lets us down! He has placed hope in our hearts to make it prosper, not to mortify us with continual disappointments. Let us renew our adhesion to and our trust in Jesus Who lives in our hearts, to overcome our weaknesses and our trials. God bless you.


Dear Brothers and Sisters: in our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to reflect on how we teach the virtue of hope.  So I will speak directly, person to person, especially to our young people, with a few words of guidance and encouragement.  First and foremost, wherever the Lord has planted you, stand firm in hope; never lose heart!  Trust in God’s fatherly care, the love of Jesus and the power of the Spirit to transform and renew all things.  Never yield to the negativity that tears things and people down, but keep building, trying to make this world conform ever more fully to God’s plan.  Keep your eyes open to the beauty all around you, keep the lamp of faith burning in your heart, and trust in the fulfilment of God’s promises.  Use your God-given gifts of mind and heart to help our human family to grow in freedom, justice and dignity.  Jesus has won the victory and he asks us to follow his example by bringing his love and mercy to a world wounded by sin, hatred and division.  Be faithful to your ideals, get up whenever you fall, and never despair.  In a word: live, love and believe!  And with God’s grace, be beacons of hope to all around you.


A cordial welcome to all German-speaking pilgrims! I address a special greeting to the students of the Collegium Canisianum of Innsbruck and to the large group of students of the Gymnasium Bad Essen. In particular to you young people, present in such large numbers, I ask, stay united with Jesus, to give witness of Christian hope to all the world. God bless you all.




I cordially greet Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, in particular Brazilian faithful and groups of benefactors, historians and editors of the literary work “Portugal católico”, encouraging them always to seek the gaze of Our Lady who comforts those in distress and keeps open the horizon of hope. In entrusting you and your families to her protection, I invoke God’s blessing upon you all.


I address a cordial welcome to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, do not give in to the night. Work for peace in the midst of men and respect the path of all people, as each person has his story to tell. May the Lord bless you!


I cordially greet Polish pilgrims. On Monday in Poland you celebrated the memorial of St. Stanislaus Kostka, patron of children and the young. Wishing to give a higher purpose to his life, joined closely to God, he entered the Jesuits against the will of his parents. Continuous prayer, frequent confession, daily Mass, spiritual work on himself, formed his sanctity even at a young age. May his example remind parents and the young that the prospect of reaching a social position should not close their ears to the call of the Lord. Jesus Christ be praised.


I address a cordial welcome to Slovakian-speaking faithful. In particular I greet the participants in the twelfth pilgrimage of the Ordinariate of the Armed Forces and the Armed Corps, led by the military Ordinary, Msgr. František Rábek. Dear brothers and sisters, I hope you will be courageous witnesses of Christ in the particular environment in which you live and work. I gladly bless you, your service and your loved ones at home. Jesus Christ be praised!


I address a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am glad to welcome the seminarians from the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae of Rome, the Consolata Missionaries, the women religious of the Society of Mary Our Lady and the Benedictine nuns of Vetralla. I greet parish groups, the many devotees of St. Charbel Maklouf, families and managers of the companies participating in the “Un Fiocco in Azienda” initiative of Manageritalia, the Italian Federation of Ancient Games and Flag Sports, members of the Archconfraternity Maria Santissima Assunta in Cielo of Terravecchia-Serra San Bruno. May the visit to the Tombs of the Apostles promote in all of you the sense of belonging to the ecclesial family and inspire increasingly active service.

I greet the young, the sick and newlyweds. Tomorrow will be the Feast of St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist. May his conversion be an example to you, dear young people, to live your life according to the criteria of faith; may his gentleness support you, dear people who are sick, when your suffering seems unbearable; and may his abandonment of the calculations of the world remind you, dear newlyweds, of the importance of the logic of love in the married life you have undertaken.