The Pope received, Friday, October 14, the French-speaking Catholic communities of the world, who gathered in Rome for pastoral days to reflect on the Church Council. He urged them not to shut themselves up in sterile solitude but to actively participate in the community of their church.
Catarina Agurelius – Vatican
On October 14, Pope Francis received participants in the Pastoral Days of the French-speaking Catholic Communities of the World, which is taking place this week in Rome, where they were invited to reflect on the conciliar process of the Church.
“Thanks to our cultural diversity and differences in approach to faith, we become experts in the art of meeting others,” the Pope said. “An encounter can change lives and the gospel is filled with these encounters with Christ that uplift and heal. The meeting requires openness, courage, and a willingness to allow the story of the other to challenge itself.”
The conciliar way is to listen to the Holy Spirit
The Pope referred to the Acts of the Apostles, which speaks of Jesus’ disciples meeting to pray after his ascension, and stressed the importance of listening to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church. As for the continuing synodal path, he explained, it relates to a spiritual and ecclesiastical distinction through worship and prayer above all.
“The Synod presupposes listening: we must cultivate listening in the Church. This is how God shows us the way to follow, makes us break out of our habits and calls us to take new ways, like Abraham. We need to listen to God speaking to us, and not just listen to Him in a way scattered.”
A synod is not a parliament
If there is no listening, as the Pope notes, one risks reducing this time of grace to a meeting or some kind of parliament.
“To be clear, a synod is not a parliament…because the Holy Spirit is the most important person in the synod….a synod is a time of grace, a process led by the Holy Spirit who makes all things new, and frees us from worldliness, from our confinement, from our repetitive pastoral patterns and from fear.” It invites us to ask ourselves what God wants to tell us at this time, today, and about the direction He wants to lead us.”
The Holy Spirit gives us the courage to preach and witness
The Pope spoke of how on the day of Pentecost the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and freed from their fears and became ready to carry out the tasks they were assigned. Pope said:
“The Spirit, who lives in us, protects against inner aging and makes us courageous to communicate the Gospel to all in ever new ways. We Christians must not be content to be enlightened, enriched and enriched by the Holy Spirit, without feeling called to deliver this fire and witness to the ‘miracle of God’ ‘in our lives through the value of our encounters, our listening and our attention. Brotherly love.’
Finally, Pope Francis stressed the importance of being guided by the Holy Spirit, to be an outward-looking Church, not afraid to turn toward the stranger,” which awaits the Annunciation.
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