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Pope Francis  General Audience 08.04.20
The True Face of God


God's True Face

In these weeks of apprehension about the pandemic that is causing the world to suffer so much, among the many questions we ask ourselves, there may also be one about God: what does he do before our pain? Where is he when everything is going wrong? Why doesn't he solve the problems immediately? These are questions we ask about God. The account of the Passion of Jesus, which accompanies us in these holy days, helps us.
Let us ask ourselves today: what is the true face of God?
He came close, came to meet us and at Easter he completely revealed himself. And where did he reveal himself completely? On the cross. There we learn the features of God's face. Let us not forget, brothers and sisters, that the cross is the chair of God. He is the one who does not point a finger at someone, not even against those who are crucifying him, but opens his arms to all; who does not crush us with his glory, but lets himself be stripped for us; who does not love us in words, but gives us his life in silence; who does not force us, but frees us; who does not treat us as strangers, but takes our evil upon himself, takes our sins upon himself. 
In these days, all quarantined and at home, closed in, let us take these two things in our hands: the Crucifix, let's look at it; and open the Gospel. This will be for us – let's say – like a great domestic liturgy, because these days we cannot go to church. The Crucifix and the Gospel.
When is the identity of Jesus solemnly proclaimed in the Gospel? When the centurion says, "Truly this man was the Son of God." It is said there, as soon as he gave his life on the cross, because we can no longer be mistaken: we see that God is omnipotent in love, and not in any other way. It's his nature, because he's like that. He is Love.
The power of this world passes while love remains. Only love protects the life we have, because it embraces our weaknesses and transforms them. It is the love of God who at Easter healed our sin with his forgiveness, who made death a passage of life, who changed our fear into trust, our anguish into hope. Easter tells us that God can turn everything into good. That with him we can really trust that all will be well. And this is not an illusion, because the death and resurrection of Jesus is not an illusion: it is a truth!
Brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts to him in prayer this week, these days: with the Crucifix and with the Gospel. Don't forget: The Crucifix and Gospel. The domestic liturgy, this is what it will be. Let us open our hearts in prayer, let his gaze be on us and understand that we are not alone, but loved, because the Lord does not abandon us and never forgets us. And with these thoughts, I wish you a Holy Week and a Holy Easter.





Pope Francis Celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 05.04.20

Palm Sunday - Passion of the Lord

God saved us by serving us. We often think we are the ones who serve God. No, he is the one who freely chose to serve us, for he loved us first. But – just one question – how did the Lord serve us? By giving his life for us. The Lord served us to the point of experiencing the most painful situations of those who love: betrayal and abandonment.
When we have our back to the wall, when we find ourselves at a dead end, with no light and no way of escape, when it seems that God himself is not responding, we should remember that we are not alone.

Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: “Courage, open your heart to my love. You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you".
The tragedy we are experiencing at this time summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love.
May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need. May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others.


Pope Francis  General Audience 01.04.20
Catechesis on the Beatitudes 
 Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God

our Heart

Today we read together the sixth Beatitude, which promises the vision of God and has as a condition purity of heart.
We know God by hearsay, but we move forward with our experience , forward, forward and eventually we know Him directly, if we are faithful ... And this is the maturity of the Spirit.
How can we get to this intimacy, to know God with our eyes? When the heart is foolish and slow, you don't see things. You see things as cloudy. Here lies the wisdom of this Beatitude: in order to contemplate it is necessary to look deep within our hearts and make room for God. 
To see God we must free the heart from its deceptions!
This is a decisive maturation: when we realize that our worst enemy is often hidden in our hearts. The noblest battle is against the inner deceptions generated by our sins. Because sins change the inner vision, they change the evaluation of things, they makes us see things that are not true, or at least that are not so true. 
But what does pure in heart mean? The pure in heart live in the presence of the Lord, preserving in their hearts what is worthy of the relationship with Him. 
The purified heart is therefore the result of a process that involves liberation and renunciation. This inner purification implies the recognition of that part of the heart that is under the influence of evil. To learn the art of letting oneself always be taught and guided by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who guides us to make this journey. 
There is also another dimension. To recognize His presence in the sacraments, His presence in our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and suffering.
This Beatitude begins a journey of liberation that lasts all life and leads to Heaven.





Pope Francis Angelus 29.03.20
Pope Francis Talks about Restoring Life where there is Death

Lazarus

The Gospel of this fifth Sunday of Lent is that of the resurrection of Lazarus (cf. John 11:1-45).  
In the midst of grief, continue to have faith, even if death seems to have won. Remove the stone from your heart! Let the Word of God restore life where there is death.
Even today Jesus repeats to us: "Take away the stone." God did not create us for the tomb, he created us for life, beautiful, good, joyful. But "death has entered the world through the devil's envy"(Wis 2:24), says the Book of Wisdom, and Jesus Christ has come to free us from its bonds.
Therefore, we are called to remove the stones of all that it smacks of death: for example, the hypocrisy with which faith is lived, is death; destructive criticism of others is death; offense, slander, is death; the marginalization of the poor, is death. The Lord asks us to remove these stones from our hearts, and then life will flourish again around us.

May each of us be close to those who are in difficulty, becoming for them a reflection of God's love and tenderness, which frees us from death and makes life victorious.



Pope Francis  General Audience 25.03.20  
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord - the value of human life 

Annunciation of the Lord

Twenty-five years ago, on this same date of 25 March, which in the Church is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, St. John Paul II promulgated the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, on the value and inviolability of human life.

Today, we find ourselves reviving this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the world economy. A situation that makes the words with which the encyclical begins feel even more challenging. Here they are: "The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Welcomed by the Church every day with love, it must be proclaimed with courageous fidelity as a good news story to people of all ages and cultures"  

 And I think with gratitude of the silent testimony of so many people who, in various ways, are caring for the sick, the elderly, those who are alone and most destitute. They live the Gospel of life, like Mary who, after accepting the angel's announcement, went to help her cousin Elizabeth who needed her. 

In fact, the life we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in the flesh: a newly conceived child, a poor outcast, a sick person alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or can't find work, a migrant rejected or ghettoized... Life manifests itself in concrete people.



Pope Francis Angelus 22.03.20  

 Talks about Light   

Light

At the centre of the liturgy of this fourth Sunday of Lent is the theme of light. The Gospel (cf. John 9:1-41) tells the story of the man blind from birth, to whom Jesus gives sight. This miraculous sign is confirmation of Jesus' affirmation of : "I am the light of the world" (v. 5), the light that illuminates our darkness. This is who Jesus is. 

He operates illumination on two levels: a physical one and a spiritual one: the blind man first receives the sight of the eyes and then is led to faith in the "Son of Man" (v. 35), that is, in Jesus. His path of enlightenment is a metaphor for the path of liberation from sin to which we are called. Sin is like a dark veil that covers our face and prevents us from clearly seeing ourselves and the world; the Lord's forgiveness takes away this blanket of shadow and darkness and gives us new light. The Lent we are living is an opportune and valuable time to approach the Lord, asking for His mercy.   

But it is not enough to receive light, it is necessary to become light. Each of us is called to receive the divine light in order to manifest it with our whole life. Be a child of light; for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, justice, and truth"(Eph 5:8-9). The seed of new life placed in us in Baptism is like a spark of a fire, which purifies us first, burning the evil that we have in our hearts, and allows us to shine and illuminate. With the light of Jesus.
 




Pope Francis  General Audience 18.03.20 
Catechesis on the Beatitudes - Blessed are the merciful, because they will find mercy

Mercy

Today we dwell on the fifth Beatitude, which says: "Blessed are the merciful, because they will find mercy"(Mt 5:7).
In this Beatitude there is a peculiarity: it is the only one in which the cause and the fruit of happiness coincide, mercy. Those who exercise mercy will find mercy. 
This theme of the reciprocity of forgiveness is not only present in this Beatitude, but is repeated in the Gospel. And how could it be otherwise? Mercy is God's very heart!  
"If you in fact forgive others for their faults, your Father who is in heaven will forgive you too; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions"(Mt 6:14-15). 
There are two things that cannot be separated: the forgiveness given and the forgiveness received. But so many people are in difficulty, they can't forgive. So often the evil received is so great that being able to forgive seems like climbing a very high mountain: a huge effort; and one thinks: you can't, you can't. We alone cannot, we need the grace of God, we must ask for it.  
We're all indebted. All. To God, who is so generous, and to our brothers and sisters. Every person knows that he or she is not the father or mother they should be, the husband or wife, the brother or sister that they should be. We are all "deficient" in life. And we need mercy. We know that we too have done evil, there is always something missing from the good that we should have done. 
Therefore God precedes us and forgives us first. By receiving his forgiveness, we become capable in turn of forgiving. Mercy is not a dimension among others, but it is the centre of Christian life: there is no Christianity without mercy.  





Pope Francis Angelus 08.03.20 

The Transfiguration  

Transfiguration

Jesus does not choose according to our criteria, but according to His plan of love. Jesus' love has no measure: it is love, and He chooses with that design of love. It is a free, unconditional choice, a free initiative, a divine friendship that asks for nothing in return. And as He called those three disciples, so even today he calls some to be close to Him, so that He can bear witness. Being witnesses of Jesus is a gift that we do not deserve: we may feel inadequate, but we cannot back out with the excuse of our incapacity.

We have not been on Mount Tabor, we have not seen the face of Jesus shining like the sun with our own eyes. However, the Word of Salvation has also been given to us, faith has been given to us and we have experienced, in different ways, the joy of meeting Jesus. Jesus also says to us: "Stand up and do not be afraid"(Mt 17:7). 

In this world, marked by selfishness and greed, God's light is obscured by the concerns of everyday life. We often say: I do not have time to pray, I am not able to carry out  a service in the parish, to respond to the requests of others... But we must not forget that the Baptism we have received has made us witnesses, not because of our own capacity, but because of the gift of the Spirit.



Pope Francis Angelus 01.03.20 

Temptations and the devil  

Temptations

Jesus, after having been baptised in the Jordan River, "was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil". He is preparing to begin his mission of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. He does so with a forty-day fast. This is the beginning of Lent. 

At the end of this period of fasting, the tempter, the devil, breaks in, and three times tries to put Jesus to the test. Jesus does not dialogue with the devil. Jesus responds to the devil with the Word of God, not by His own words.

In temptation, we often begin to dialogue with temptation, to dialogue with the devil: "Yes, but I may do this..., then I confess, then this, that one...". Never dialogue with the devil.  Even today Satan breaks into people's lives to tempt them with his tempting proposals; he mixes his voice with the many other voices that try to tame our conscience. : "But, do this, there is no problem, then God forgives! But a day of joy take it..." – "But it is a sin!" – "No, it is nothing like this". This is an alternative route to God's path, and these give us the sense of being  self-sufficient, of the enjoyment of life as an end to itself.

But all this is illusory: we soon realize that the more we distance ourselves from God, the more defenceless and helpless we feel in the face of the great problems of existence. 




Pope Francis Holy Mass Basilica of Santa Sabina 26.02.20 Ash Wednesday 

Ash Wednesday

We begin the Lenten Season by receiving ashes, it reminds us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are weak, frail and mortal. We are dust, earth, clay, but if we allow ourselves to be shaped by the hands of God, we become something wondrous. We were put in this world to go from ashes to life. 
The ashes we receive on our foreheads should affect the thoughts passing through our minds. “What am I living for?” If it is for the fleeting realities of this world, I am going back to ashes and dust, rejecting what God has done in my life. 
If I live only to earn money, to have a good time, to gain a bit of prestige or a promotion in my work, I am living for dust. If I am unhappy with life because I think I do not get enough respect or receive what I think is my due, then I am simply staring at dust.  Our love for God and neighbour is our passport to heaven. Our earthly possessions will prove useless, dust that scatters, but the love we share – in our families, at work, in the Church and in the world – will save us, for it will endure forever. 
Hypocrisy is the filth that Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that we have to remove. how often do we do things only to be recognized, to look good, to satisfy our ego! How often do we profess to be Christians, yet in our hearts readily yield to passions that enslave us! How often do we preach one thing and practice another! All this is dust that besmirches, ashes that extinguish the fire of love. 
We need to be cleansed of all the dust that has sullied our hearts. How?  “Be reconciled to God!”  Holiness is not achieved by our efforts, for it is grace! By ourselves, we cannot remove the dust that sullies our hearts. The embrace of the Father in confession renews us from inside and purifies our heart. May we allow ourselves to be reconciled, in order to live as beloved children, as forgiven and healed sinners.



Pope Francis  General Audience 19.02.20 

Catechesis - Lent: entering the desert 

Lent

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the Lenten journey. I would like to speak to you today about the spiritual significance of the desert. What the desert means spiritually to all of us, even us who live in the city. 

The desert is the place of detachment from the din that surrounds us. It is the absence of words to make room for another Word, the Word of God, which as a light breeze caresses our heart. In the desert we find intimacy with God. Jesus loved to retreat every day to deserted places to pray. He taught us how to look for the Father, who speaks to us in silence. 

Lent is a good time to make space for the Word of God. It's the time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It's a time to disconnect from your phones and connect to the Gospel. 

We struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord who speaks to us, the voice of conscience, the voice of good. Jesus, calling us into the desert, invites us to listen to what matters, to the important, to the essential. To the devil who tempted Him He replied, "It is not only by bread alone that man lives, but by every word that comes out of God's mouth" (Matthew 4:4). Like bread, more than bread we need the Word of God, we need to speak with God: we need to pray. Here is the desert, a place of life, not of death, because dialogue in silence with the Lord gives us life. 

The desert is the place of the essential. Let's look at our lives: how many useless things surround us! We chase a thousand things that seem necessary and are not really. How good would it be for us to get rid of so many superfluous realities, to rediscover what matters, to find the faces of those around us! Jesus also sets an example on this, fasting. Fasting is to know how to give up the vain things, the superfluous, to go to the essentials. Fasting is not just about losing weight, fasting is going to the essentials, it is seeking the beauty of a simpler life. 

The desert is the place of solitude. Even today, near us, there are many deserts. They are lonely and abandoned people. How many poor and elderly people stand by us and live in silence, without any noise, marginalized and discarded! Talking about them doesn't create an audience, ratings. But the desert leads us to them, to all those who are silenced, silently ask for our help. So many silent glances asking for our help. The journey through the Lent desert is a journey of charity to those who are weakest.

Prayer, fasting, works of mercy: this is the path in the Lenten desert. 

Let us enter the desert with Jesus, and we will come out of it savouring Easter, the power of God's love that renews life. The same will happen to us that happens in the deserts that bloom in spring, making buds suddenly, "out of nothing", buds and plants. Take courage, let us enter this desert of Lent, follow Jesus into the desert: with him our deserts will flourish.







Pope Francis Holy Mass Bali - Love your Enemies 23.02.20 

Retaliation

If someone thinks badly of me, if someone hurts me, why can I not repay him with the same currency? “No”, says Jesus. Nonviolence. No act of violence. 
Our Father, continues to love everyone, even when his love is not reciprocated. If we want to be disciples of Christ, if we want to call ourselves Christians, this is the only way; there is no other. Having been loved by God, we are called to love in return; having been forgiven, we are called to forgive; having been touched by love, we are called to love without waiting for others to love first; having been saved graciously, we are called to seek no benefit from the good we do. 
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  
He asks of us the extremism of charity. This is the only legitimate kind of Christian extremism: the extremism of love. 
Love your enemies. We do well today, at Mass and afterwards, to repeat these words to ourselves and apply them to those who treat us badly, who annoy us, whom we find hard to accept, who trouble our serenity. 
For those who love God have no enemies in their hearts.  
The worship of God is contrary to the culture of hatred. And the culture of hatred is fought by combatting the cult of complaint. How many times do we complain about the things that we lack, about the things that go wrong! Jesus knows about all the things that don’t work. He knows that there is always going to be someone who dislikes us. Or someone who makes our life miserable. All he asks us to do is pray and love. 
Evil can only be conquered by goodness. Ask God for the strength to love.




Pope Francis  General Audience 19.02.20 Beatitudes - Blessed are the meek  

Meekness

In today's catechesis, we face the third of the eight Beatitudes of Matthew's Gospel: "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth"(Mt 5:5). 

The term "meek" used here means literally sweet, meek, gentle, free of violence. Meekness manifests itself in moments of conflict, you can see from how one reacts to a hostile situation. Anyone may seem meek when everything is quiet, but how does one react "under pressure" if he is attacked, offended, assaulted.

In Scripture the word "meek" also indicates the one who has no land ownership; and so it strikes us that the third Beatitude says precisely that the meek will inherit the earth. 

The meek is not an accommodating person but is the disciple of Christ who has learned to defend much more than land. He defends his peace, he defends his relationship with God, he defends his gifts, the gifts of God, keeping mercy, fraternity, trust, hope. Because meek people are merciful, fraternal, confident, and hopeful people. 

The "land" to be conquered with meekness is the salvation of the brother of whom Matthew's Gospel speaks: "If he listens to you, you will have won over brother"(Mt 18:15). There is no land more beautiful  than the heart of others, there is no more beautiful territory to gain than the peace found with a brother. And that is the land to be inherited with meekness! 



Pope Francis  General Audience 12.02.20 Beatitudes - Those who Weep

Tears


Blessed are those who weep, because they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4). 
This weeping, in the scriptures, can have two aspects: the first is for someone's death or suffering. 
Mourning is a bitter road, but it can be useful to open our eyes to the life and sacred and irreplaceable value of each person, and at that moment one realizes how short the time is.
The other aspect is tears for sin – for one's own sin – when the heart bleeds in the pain of having offended God and our neighbour. 
One of the first monks, Efrem the Syrian says that a face washed by tears is unspeakably beautiful. The beauty of repentance, the beauty of crying, the beauty of contrition! God always forgives: let us not forget this. God always forgives, even the ugliest sins, always. The problem is within us, that we get tired of asking for forgiveness. God "does not treat us according to our sins and does not repay us according to our faults"(Psalm 103:10).



Pope Francis Angelus 09.02.20 

Light


Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world."
Salt. The disciple is therefore called to keep society away from  the dangers, and the corrosive elements that pollute people's lives. It is a question of resisting sin and moral degradation, and bearing witness to the values of honesty and fraternity, without giving in to the worldly enticements of careerism, power and wealth.  
Light. Jesus is the light that has dispelled the darkness, but it still remains in the world and in individual people. It is the task of the Christian to dispel it further by making Christ's light shine among others and by proclaiming His Gospel. This outpouring of light can come from our words, but it must come mainly from our 'good deeds'.  
Jesus invites us not to be afraid to live in the world, even if there are sometimes conditions of conflict and sin in it. In the face of violence, injustice and oppression, Christians cannot shut up within themselves in or hide in the security of their own enclosure; even the Church cannot shut up within herself, she cannot abandon her mission of evangelization and service.





Pope Francis - Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)  28.01.20  

Joy

When joy is lacking in a Christian, that Christian is not fruitful; when joy is lacking in our hearts, there is no fruitfulness. 
The Church will not go forward, the Gospel will not go forward with boring, embittered evangelizers.  It will only go forward with joyful evangelizers, full of life.


Pope Francis Sunday of the 
Word of God 26.01.20 

Word of God

Change your life, for a new way of living has begun. The time when you lived for yourself is over; now is the time for living with and for God, with and for others, with and for love. The Lord gives you his word, so that you can receive it like a love letter he has written to you, to help you realize that he is at your side. His word consoles and encourages us. At the same time it challenges us, frees us from the bondage of our selfishness and summons us to conversion. Because his word has the power to change our lives and to lead us out of darkness into the light. This is the power of his word. 
The word of salvation does not go looking for untouched, clean and safe places. Instead, it enters the complex and obscure places in our lives. 
He is not afraid to explore the terrain of our hearts and to enter the roughest and most difficult corners of our lives. He knows that his mercy alone can heal us, his presence alone can transform us and his word alone can renew us. So let us open the winding paths of our hearts. 
To follow Jesus, mere good works are not enough; we have to listen daily to his call.  
That is why we need his word: so that we can hear, amid the thousands of other words in our daily lives, that one word that speaks to us not about things, but about life. 
Each day, let us read a verse or two of the Bible. Let us begin with the Gospel: let us keep it open on our table, carry it in our pocket or bag, read it on our cell phones, and allow it to inspire us daily. We will discover that God is close to us, that he dispels our darkness and, with great love, leads our lives into deep waters.





Pope Francis  General Audience - Christian Unity 22.01.20

Pope Francis Christian Unity Hospitality Migrants 22.01.20


Hospitality is important; and it is also an important ecumenical virtue. First of all, it means acknowledging that other Christians are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ. We're brothers.  
Welcoming Christians of another tradition means firstly showing God's love to them, because they are children of God – our brothers – and also means welcoming what God has accomplished in their lives. Ecumenical hospitality requires a willingness to listen to others, paying attention to their personal stories of faith and the history of their community, communities of faith with another tradition other than our own.  
We, as Christians, must work together to show migrants the love of God revealed by Jesus Christ.  Working together to live ecumenical hospitality, especially towards those whose lives are most vulnerable, will make us all Christians – Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, all Christians – better human beings, better disciples and a Christian people that is more united. It will bring us ever closer to unity, which is God's will for us.

Pope Francis Epiphany Mass 06.01.20

Epiphany

Once we lose the sense of worship, we lose our direction in the Christian life, which is a journey towards the Lord, not towards ourselves. 

The Christian life, when it fails to worship the Lord, can become a discreet way of affirming ourselves and our own abilities. This is a grave risk: we use God instead of serving him. How many times have we confused God’s power, which is for serving others, with power of this world, which is for serving ourselves! 

Once we worship, we come to realize that faith is not simply a set of fine doctrines, but a relationship with a living Person whom we are called to love.  Worship means putting the Lord at the centre, not ourselves.

Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family...Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable...  We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. … When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace...  . There can be no true peace unless we show ourselves capable of developing a more just economic system...  Faced with the consequences of our hostility towards others, our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources – seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself – we are in need of an ecological conversion...



Pope Francis Peace Message 01.01.20

Peace

Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family...Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable...  We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. … When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace...  . There can be no true peace unless we show ourselves capable of developing a more just economic system...  Faced with the consequences of our hostility towards others, our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources – seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself – we are in need of an ecological conversion...





Pope Francis Solemnity of 
Mary Mother of God 01.01.20

Women

We begin the year by celebrating Our Lady, the woman who wove the humanity of God. If we want to weave humanity into this our time, we need to start again from the woman. The rebirth of humanity began from a woman. Women are sources of life. 
If we want a better world, a world that will be a peaceful home and not a war field, may we take to heart the dignity of each woman.