Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Only a few days are left before my visit to Cuba. Therefore, I wish to send you a fraternal greeting before we meet personally.
I will be visiting you to share our faith and hope, so that we strengthen ourselves mutually in the following of Jesus. It makes me feel good and helps me a lot to think about your fidelity to the Lord, the courage with which you face the difficulties of every day, the love with which you help and support one and other in this journey of life. Thank you for this very valuable testimony.
For my part, I would like to transmit a very simple message to you, which I think it is important and necessary. Jesus loves you very much; Jesus truly loves you. He always bears you in his heart. He knows better than anyone what each one needs, what he longs for, what his most profound desire is, how one's heart is. And He never abandons us and, when we do not behave as He hopes, he always remains at our side ready to receive us, to comfort us, to give us new hope, a new opportunity, a new life. He never leaves us; He is always there.
I know that you are preparing for this visit with prayer. I am eternally grateful for it. We need to pray. We need prayer, that contact with Jesus and Mary, and it makes me very happy that, following the advice of my Brother Bishops of Cuba, you are repeating many times a day that prayer which we learned as children: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto thine”. It is lovely to have a heart like Jesus, to be able to love as He does, to forgive, to give hope, to support.
I want to be among you as a missionary of mercy, of God’s tenderness, but allow me also to encourage you to be missionaries of the infinite love of God. May no one be lacking the witness of our faith, of our love. May everyone know that God always forgives, that God is always at our side, that God loves us.
I am also going to visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Cobre as just another pilgrim, as a son who wants to reach his Mother’s home. I entrust this trip to Her and also entrust all Cubans to Her.
And, please, I ask you to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and may the Holy Virgin take care of you. Thank you.