The Pope has written to prisoners reassuring them that “God loves them personally”.
After receiving a letter from prisoners detained in a prison in the Italian city of Velletri, a short distance from Rome, Pope Francis responded: “Always be certain that God loves you personally,” and encouraged them to never allow themselves to be trapped by their past, but to transform it “into a journey of growth, of faith and charity.”
He encouraged them to “give God the possibility” of making them “shine” through their experience, saying that many saints throughout history “have achieved sanctity” in harsh and difficult situations. “With Christ,” he said, “all this is possible.”
The Pope announced that during the Holy Year of Mercy, there will also be a jubilee for prisoners, and he said that that on that day he would be “in communion” with all prisoners “spiritually and in reciprocal prayer.”
Pope Francis wrote that prisoners “are living an experience in which time seems both to be stopped, and to never end.”
But, he said, “the true measure of time is not that of the clock”; rather, “the true measure of time is called hope.” He expressed his desire that all those incarcerated might “always keep lit the light of the hope of faith to illuminate” their lives.