Pope urges inmates to ‘not stand still’ but to walk with God

2014-07-06 Vatican Radio

Pope Francis met with the inmates at the prison at Isernia during his daylong visit in the southern Italian region of Molise on Saturday afternoon.

In his message with the prisoners, the Pope said he was grateful for the inmates’ witness of hope. The challenge, he said, echoing his message to inmates two weeks ago in Calabria, is social reintegration.  

“And for this, you need a route, a path, both outside the prison and within yourself, in the conscience, the heart,” he said.

“What is important is not to stand still – when water is still it becomes stagnant – but walking, taking a step every day, with the help of the Lord,” he encouraged. “God is Father, he is mercy, he always loves us. If we seek him, he welcomes us and he forgives us. ‘He never tires of forgiving’: this is the motto of this visit.”

Read the Vatican Radio translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks during his visit with prisoners in Molise:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank you for your welcome. And I thank you for your witness of hope, which I heard in the words of your representative. Even in the greeting from the director, this word struck me: hope. This is the challenge, as I was saying two weeks ago in the Casa circondariale di Castrovillari (the prison in Calabria): the challenge of social reintegration. And for this, you need a route, a path, both outside the prison and within yourself, in the conscience, the heart.

What is important is not to stand still – when water is still it becomes stagnant – but walking, taking a step every day, with the help of the Lord. God is Father, he is mercy, he always loves us. If we seek him, he welcomes us and he forgives us. “He never tires of forgiving”: this is the motto of this visit.

He lifts us up and gives us back our dignity fully. God does not forget us. There is a passage in the Bible, from the prophet Isaiah, which says: Even if a mother would forget her child - and it's impossible - I will never forget you (cf. Is 49:15).

With this confidence, we can walk, day by day. And with this faithful love which accompanies us, hope will not be dashed.

 We can pray together to Mary, our Mother, that she helps us and protects us.

Hail Mary…