Vatican City — The Eight Beatitudes describe the path to holiness, but the call to meekness seems particularly challenging today, Pope Francis said.
"The meek are those who know how to control themselves, who leave space for the other; they listen to the other, respect the other's way of living, his or her needs and requests. They do not intend to overwhelm or diminish the other, they do not want to loom over or dominate everything, nor do they impose their ideas or their own interests to the detriment of others," the pope said Nov. 1.
Marking the day's feast of All Saints and commenting on the Gospel reading, which was the Gospel of Matthew's version of the beatitudes, Francis told people gathered to pray the Angelus with him that the saints and blesseds recognized by the church walked the path of the beatitudes, each in his or her own way.
"They all have their own personality and developed their own life of holiness according to that personality," the pope said, "and each one of us can do it, taking this path: meekness, meekness, please, and we will head toward holiness."
"At this moment in life, even globally, there is so much aggressivity," he said. "In everyday life as well, the first thing that comes out of us is aggression, defensiveness. We need meekness to progress on the path of holiness. To listen, to respect, not to attack: meekness."
At the end of the midday appointment, Francis told people in St. Peter's Square about the church's newest blessed, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, who was beatified Oct. 31 in Hartford, Connecticut.
"Dedicated to evangelization, he did everything possible to provide necessities for the needy, promoting mutual aid. May his example be an impetus for us to always be witnesses of the Gospel of charity," the pope said, before asking people in the square to "give a round of applause to this new blessed."
Francis also appealed, again, for an end to the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh and offered prayers for people in Turkey and Greece impacted by an earthquake Oct. 30 that caused at least 80 deaths.