VATICAN - The Pope once again proposes the figure of Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, "Doctor of the poor": "But the good are good with the help of God"

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The good are good only with the help of God", wrote the Venezuelan doctor José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, proclaimed blessed by the Church, a figure that Pope Francis wanted to repropose in the catechesis delivered during the general audience today, Wednesday September 13. As part of the series of catecheses dedicated to the figures of passionate witnesses to the proclamation of the Gospel, the Bishop of Rome traced the life of the blessed Venezuelan, also to show that the gift of God's grace flourishes in works of charity, and can also encourage people to "get their hands dirty" by showing concern for "the great social, economic and political issues of today".
For José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, born at the end of the 19th century, charity was the "north star" that oriented his existence. He was known in his homeland as 'doctor of the poor'. And "In the poor, the sick, the migrants, the suffering - the Pope emphasized - José Gregorio saw Jesus". José Gregorio tried several times to become a religious and a priest, but "various health problems prevented him from doing so". But through a gift of grace, his physical frailty "did not, however, lead him to close in on himself, but to become a doctor who was even more sensitive to the needs of others", comforting the suffering, giving hope to the poor, witnessing to the faith not in words but by example". "The source of the Venezuelan Blessed's charity – said Pope Francis "was God’s grace". That's why it was natural for him to take care of the beggars on the street who urgently needed the love he received from Jesus every day". And "the strength he drew on" was "intimacy with God". "He was a man of prayer who participated at Mass every day and prayed the Rosary. In the Mass he united everything he lived to the sacrifice of Jesus: the sick and the poor that he helped, his students, the research he undertook, the problems he had at heart", the Pope said. In the bond that bound him to Christ, Pope Francis continued, José Gregorio felt "called to dedicate his life for peace". When the First World War broke out, the future Blessed moved to Europe, which was "not his continent," to "serve as a doctor on the new frontiers of suffering and death caused by the conflict." Pope Francis also paid special attention to the end of the life of the Venezuelan doctor, who died on June 29, 1919, the day on which the treaty put an end to the First World War was signed: "That morning, as usual, he had been at Mass, and now he goes down the street to bring medicine to a sick person. But as he crosses the road, he is hit by a vehicle; taken to the hospital, he dies pronouncing the name of Our Lady. So, his earthly journey ends, on a road while doing a work of mercy, and in a hospital, where he had made his work a masterpiece, as a doctor". "In the face of the great social, economic, and political issues of today, the Pope emphasized in the final part of his catechesis: So many people talk about it, so many complain about it, so many criticize and say that everything is going wrong. But that’s not what the Christian is called to do; instead, he is called to deal with it, to get his or her hands dirty: first of all, as St. Paul told us, to pray (cf. 1 Tim 2:1-4), and then not to engage in idle chattering – idle chatter is a plague – but to promote good, and to build peace and justice in truth. This, too, is apostolic zeal; it is the proclamation of the Gospel; and this is Christian beatitude: “blessed are the peacemakers”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 13/9/2023)