Sometimes you can’t answer the phone because you are talking to someone more important.

That’s what happened on New Year’s Eve when Pope Francis tried calling a group of Spanish nuns and no one answered the phone. As it turns out, the nuns were praying.

“What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer?” the pope joked in his message to the Carmelite community in Lucena, according to a Jan. 4, 2014, UPI story. “I am Pope Francis. I wish to greet you in this end of the year. I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you!”

Convent prioress Sister Adriana said she “literally wanted to die” when she heard the message—but she and her four sisters were able to get the pope on the line eventually. Three of the nuns are from the pope’s native Argentina.

“The message from Pope Francis was never to lose hope, because sadness leads to spiritual sloth and hopelessness,” Sister Adriana said. 

View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.

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