Pope prays for grieving families following terror attack in France

By Junno Arocho Esteves

— Remembering the victims of the tragic terrorist attack in Nice, France, Pope
Francis prayed that God may give comfort to grieving families and foil the plans of
those who wish to harm others.

“May God, the
good father, receive all the victims in his peace, support the wounded and
comfort the families; may he dispel every plan of terror and death so that no
man dares to spill his brother’s blood ever again,” the pope said July 17 after reciting the
Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St.
Peter’s Square.

pope spoke following the July 14 attack during Bastille Day celebrations along
Nice’s seaside promenade that killed 84 people. The French government declared
three days of mourning beginning July 16.

a message following the attack signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican
secretary of state, the pope condemned the Bastille Day attack as an “act
of blind violence” and expressed his “deep sorrow” and
“spiritual closeness” with the French people.

Before leading a moment of silent
prayer at his Angelus address, the pope said the pain in the aftermath of the massacre in
Nice, “in which so many
innocent lives, even many children were mowed down, is still alive.”

“I give a
paternal and fraternal embrace to all the residents of Nice and to the whole
French nation. And now, all together, let us pray thinking about this massacre,
the victims, and the families,” he said.

his remarks before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading in
which Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.

The pope noted that the sisters welcomed Jesus in
different ways: Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his word while
Martha busied herself “preparing things” and forgetting “the
presence of her guest.”

“If you welcome
a guest in your house and
continue doing things, you will have him sit there — both of you silent — as
if he were a rock; a guest made of rock,” he said.

Instead, Christians are called to be like Mary and
listen to Jesus whose word “enlightens and sustains all that we are and
all that we do.”

“If we are
going to pray, for example, before a crucifix, and we talk and talk and talk
and then we leave, we don’t listen to Jesus. We don’t allow him to speak to our
hearts,” he said.

Reminding the faithful that hospitality is a work of
mercy, Pope Francis warned that it is also a virtue that “runs the risk of
being left aside,” often due to the hustle and bustle of daily life in
which people “don’t have time to listen.”

“I ask you to learn to listen and to dedicate
more time to this. The root of peace lies in our capacity to listen,” the
pope said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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