At 10:30 this morning, the Holy Father Francis received in audience, in Paul VI Hall, the children assisted by “Saint Martha’s” Paediatric Dispensary.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s impromptu greeting to the volunteers, the parents and all the children present.
Children’s joy is a treasure — joyful children . . . And we must do everything we can so that they continue to be joyful, because joy is like good earth. A joyful soul is like a good earth, which makes life grow well, with good fruits. And that’s why this celebration is being held: the closeness of Christmas is always sought to gather us to hold this celebration for them.
Listen well. First thing: preserve children’s joy. Don’t sadden children. When children see that there are problems at home, that the parents quarrel, they suffer. Don’t sadden the children. They must always grow with joy. Are you joyful? [‘Yes!”] I don’t believe you: yes or no? [“Yes!”] Very good, this is joy.
The second thing, for children to grow well: make them talk with the grandparents – the two extremes of life, because the grandparents have memory, have roots, and it will be the grandparents that give roots to the children. Please, may they not be uprooted children, without the memory of a people, without the memory of the faith, without the memory of so many beautiful things that have made history, without the memory of values….
And the third advice I give you: teach them to talk with God. May they learn to pray, to say what they feel in their heart.