Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass this morning in the chapel of the St. Martha Residence in the Vatican that a spirit of humility is necessary for anyone who wishes to have a fruitful spiritual life. “Humility is necessary for faithfulness, the humility to say to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am barren, I am a desert’ ...come to give us life, come to save us, because only You can. Alone, I cannot!” the Pope exclaimed.
The Holy Father compared Old Testament accounts of barren women being given children by God and deserts becoming life-giving forests “But can the desert blossom? Yes. Can the barren woman give life? Yes. This is the promise of the Lord: ‘I can! I can, from the dryness, from your dryness, bring forth life, salvation. From your aridity I can make fruit grow!’” the Pontiff declared. The barren woman and the image of the desert represent those "who do not have the hope of life, but salvation brings to us the intervention of God who makes us fruitful, who gives us the capacity to give life.”
“It is the action of God that brings us salvation. It is the agency of God that helps us on the path to holiness. Only he can. But what can we do on our part?” Francis asked. “First, to recognize our dryness, our incapacity to give life - know this. Second, to ask: ‘Lord, I want to be fruitful. I want my life to give life. Let my faith be fruitful and go forward and be able to give it to others.’ Each Christian must say, 'Lord, I am barren, I can’t. you can. I am a desert: I can’t, You can.'"
Pope Francis encouraged the congregation to daily recite the "O Antiphons" which are said during Advent Vespers each year from December 17th-23rd. “O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom - today - O root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come to give us life. And with this humility, the humility of the desert, the humility of a barren soul, we can receive grace, the grace of blossoming, of bearing fruit and of giving life,”