When people recognize that every child is unique and wanted by God, they will be "amazed by what a great miracle a child is."
God is knocking to come into people's lives, so be attentive, humble and courageous to let him in, Pope Francis said.
"When we feel in our heart: 'I want to be good, to be better ... I feel sorry for what I've done ...' This is Christ who is knocking," he said before praying the Angelus with those gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis talked about Mary showing the way to be ready, humble, generous and courageous when God calls people in their lives.
Pope Francis marked his 78th birthday by giving hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless in Rome, Vatican officials said Thursday.
Just one month after announcing plans to build showers for the homeless in St. Peter's Square, the pope called for 400 sleeping bags with the papal ensign to be distributed to people living on the streets.
Major sporting events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins its bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2024.
Pope Francis, a keen soccer fan, is reported to be enthusiastic about the idea. He is expected to meet the head of Italy's National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, and other officials at the Vatican on Friday after a Mass to commemorate the committee's 100th anniversary.
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said he believed Francis would back plans to hold events such as archery in the Vatican gardens.
Only the repentant heart that is humble, open to correction and trusts completely in God will be saved, Pope Francis said.
Those whose hearts are proud, self-righteous and deaf to God's voice and correction are doomed, the pope said Tuesday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
Global Sisters Report: The final report of a six-year Vatican investigation of U.S. Catholic sisters takes a positive, even laudatory, tone.
Never condemn others, but if temptation strikes, then condemn yourself because there is bound to be something deserving judgment, Pope Francis said.
May "our hearts be simple, bright with the truth that [the Lord] gives us and that way we can be loving, forgiving, understanding toward others, with a heart wide open to others and merciful," the pope said Monday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
"Never condemn. If you feel like condemning, condemn yourself, there's got to be something there, huh?" he said, according to Vatican Radio.
"Obedience and closed environments also seem to have had a role in the prevalence of abuse within some religious orders and dioceses."
God's grace isn't "merchandise" that people can hoard or exploit for themselves; it is a free and loving embrace from God, Pope Francis said.
"The Lord is not a merchant," giving his grace as an object in exchange for something, the pope said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
God loves us freely like a mother loves her child -- the child "lets himself be loved," and this is the grace of God, he said, according to Vatican Radio.
The pope did not say which prelates would be named cardinals, but the names are expected to be made public in mid-January.