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Pope Francis waves to pilgrims gathered yesterday for his weekly general catechesis (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Christians are not called to merely notice and criticise the social, economic and political issues of the day, but, like Blessed José Gregorio Hernández, they must “get their hands dirty” and commit themselves to action, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: OSV News.

“So many talk about (issues), so many criticise and say that everything is going wrong. But Christians are not called to that, but rather to deal with them and get their hands dirty,” the Pope said during his general audience in St Peter’s Square.

He held up the example of Venezuela’s “doctor of the poor” as someone who, by caring for sick people unable to afford medical care, “puts into practice the will of God, helping the needy, giving hope to the poor, bearing witness to faith not with words but by example”.

Continuing his series of talks on apostolic zeal, Pope Francis said the 19th-century doctor was motivated by an “interior fire” to live in service of God and neighbour; and that fire was sparked by his mother.

“Mothers are the ones who transmit the faith; faith is conveyed in dialect, that is, in the language of mothers,” the Pope noted, departing from his prepared text.

Although Blessed José Gregorio Hernández wanted to become a priest, health problems forced him to leave the seminary on two occasions. Yet, the Pope said, those health problems “made him more sensitive to the needs of others” in his vocation as a doctor.

“This is apostolic zeal; he does not follow his own aspirations, but is open to God’s plans,” he said. “How important it is not to suffer things passively, but, as Scripture says, to do all things in a good spirit to serve the Lord.”