» 10/09/2013, 00.00
Pope: The Church is "catholic” because it announces faith in its "entirety", all over the world; proclaiming the Gospel to all and is "harmony" between unity and diversity
A rain soaked General Audience again devoted to the words of the Creed on the Church . The Church is not an elite but for all mankind. "Proclaiming and witnessing to the faith is not a matter for a few, it concerns me, you, each one of us ." New invitation to pray for peace in the Middle East. To the Bishops of North Africa, to "establish fraternal relations with our brothers in the Islamic religion". " Prayer and pain " for the dead of the " Lampedusa tragedy."
Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - The
Church is "Catholic " because it is "the home where the faith in
its entirety is announced " and the sacraments "are open windows
through which we are given the light of God,"; it is Catholic because it
is "all over" the world and is for all men and all women; it is
Catholic because it is " the house of harmony" , in which "
unity and diversity cleverly combine together to become a precious resource".
Continuing to illustrate the part of the "Creed" which refers to the
Church, Pope Francis focused today on the meaning of the word " Catholic
thousand people were present in St. Peter's Square , despite heavy rain. As is tradition the Pope toured among them for
nearly half an hour , waving , kissing children , blessing . Referring
to the bad weather at the beginning of the audience he congratulated the
pilgrims for having the "courage" to withstand the rain, which forced the Pope to
dry his face with a small towel at the end of his tour.
The weekly meeting with the
faithful was also an opportunity for the Pope to recall again the "tragedy
of Lampedusa ." Welcoming
the bishops of the Alexandrian tradition of Ethiopia and Eritrea , present at
the audience , he expressed " sorrow and prayer " for the death of
" the many children of their land." In
greeting the faithful of the Arabic language he renewed the invitation to pray
"for peace in the Middle East, Syria, Lebanon , Iraq , Egypt and the Holy
Land , so " the light of Christ reaches every heart and every place to ends
of the earth . " Finally greeting bishops of the regional Episcopal
Conference of North Africa , also present in the square , he encouraged them
to" consolidate fraternal relations with our brothers of the Islamic
religion . "
The Pope dedicated his audience to
" catholicity". In
Francis' words it first of all means, from the Greek , "according to the
whole" , totality. But
" in what sense do we say that the Church is Catholic ? I would say it has
three basic meanings ."
of all, "the Church is Catholic because it is the space , the house in
which the entire faith is announced, in which the salvation that Christ brought
us is offered to all . The Church helps us encounter the mercy of God that
transforms us because Jesus
Christ is present in it , which gives it the true confession of faith , the
fullness of the sacramental life , the authenticity of the ordained ministry. In
the Church we can all find what we needy to believe , to live as Christians ,
to become saints, to walk in every
place and in every age . " "
To take an example, we can say it's like family life ; in the family we are
each given what we need to grow , to mature, to live. You can not grow on your
own, you can not walk alone ,
isolated , but walk and grow in a community, a family. and its the same with the
Church. In the Church we can hear the Word of God, sure that it is the message
that the Lord has given to us. In the
Church we can meet
the Lord in the Sacraments which are the open windows through which we are
given the light of God, streams from which we draw the very life of God. In the Church we learn to live in communion ,
the love that comes from God. Each of us
can ask ourselves : how do I live in the Church? When I go to church, is it as
if I were at the stadium, at a football game ? As if I were at the movies? No.
It' s something different! How do I go to
church? How do I accept the gifts offered to me , to grow, to mature as a
Christian? Do I participate in community life or go to church and lock myself up
in my own problems , isolate myself from others? In this first sense, the
Church is catholic because
it is everyone's home : we are all children of the Church and we all belong in
this house . "
"the Church is catholic because it is universal , it is spread all over
the world and proclaims the gospel to every man and every woman . The Church is
not an elite group, not just a few. The Church has no closures, it is sent to
all people, the entire human race. And the One Church is present even in the
smallest parts of it . Everyone can say : my parish is the Catholic Church, it
too is part of the Church universal,
it also has the fullness of the gifts of Christ, faith , the sacraments , ministry;
it is in communion with the bishop, with the pope and is open to all without
distinction . The Church is not only the shadow of the bell
tower , but embraces a vast array of peoples , peoples who profess the same
faith, feed on the same Eucharist, are served by the same pastors. To feel in
communion with all the churches , with all the Catholic communities large and
small in the world! That is really nice! and then feel that we are all on a
mission, big and small communities together, we all have to open our doors and
go out for the Gospel. So let us ask ourselves : what do I do to communicate to
others the joy of encountering the Lord, the
joy of belonging to the Church ? Proclaiming and witnessing to the faith is not
a matter of a few, it also concerns me, you, each one of us . "
Church , then , is Catholic because it is the "House of Harmony" where
" unity and diversity cleverly combine together to become a precious
treasure. Think of the image of the symphony, which means agreement and
harmony, different instruments play together, each maintains its
unique sound and the individual characteristics agree on something in common . Then
there are those who guide, the conductor, and in the symphony they all play
together in ' harmony ' , but the mark of each instrument, their
own merits is not erased, rather it is exploited to its fullest! This beautiful
picture tells us that the Church is like a great orchestra in which there is
variety: we are not all equal, and we should not all be equal . Everyone is
different , different
, each with their own qualities and that's the beauty of the Church: everyone
brings his or her own, what God gave them, to enrich others . And there is this
difference between the components , but it is a diversity that does not enter
, it is not opposed , it is a variety allows us to melt in harmony by the Holy
Spirit , He is the true "maestro" , and He Himself is the harmony . And
here let us ask ourselves : in our communities do we live in harmony , or we
ourselves? In my parish community , in my movement , where I am in the Church? Do
I gossip? And, if we gossip, there is no harmony : only conflict. And this is
not the Church : the Church is the harmony of all. Never talk against each
other , never argue. Accept each other , accept that there is a tremendous
variety " and that we can think in different ways" . "But , in the
same faith you can think so ! Or do we tend to standardize
uniformity kills life . The
life of the Church is variety , and when we want to cover everything with this
uniformity, we kill the gifts of the Holy Spirit! We
pray that the Holy Spirit , the author of this unity in variety, this harmony,
makes us ever more ' Catholic ' , that is, in this Church that is catholic and
Pope: Jesus is our advocate, He always defends us from the snares of the devil
At the general audience Francis illustrates "the meaning and the consequences for our lives," of the phrase in the Creed: "Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father." "Entering into the glory of God requires daily fidelity to His will, even when it requires sacrifice or a change of plan." Solidarity with Iranians and Pakistanis affected by the earthquake. He tries on a zucchetto offered to him by a faithful.
Pope: the Holy Spirit tells us that God loves us "like a father"
At the general audience, Francis speaks of the Third Person of the Trinity, "an inexhaustible source of God's life in us", "living water" promised in abundance and forever by Jesus, and guides us on the path of love, mercy and forgiveness. "Do we act according to God? Or do we let ourselves be guided by so many other things that are not really God?" is the question everyone should answer in their heart.
Pope: seek forgiveness of sins in Jesus through the Church, even though "we are ashamed"
Francis, "concerned about what is happening these days in Kiev" invites "all parties to cease all violence and to seek harmony and peace in the country". “We can not forgive ourselves” because "the forgiveness of our sins is not the result of our efforts" but a "gift" that "derives directly from the paschal mystery".
Pope: the Church is "apostolic" because it testifies to Jesus and is "sent" to the entire world
Prayer and proclamation of the Gospel are the basic tasks that Christ gave to the apostles . The Church is missionary "through prayer, proclamation and witness", if it closes in on itself "it betrays its identity."
Pope: the Church is the "body of Christ", let's not harm it with divisions, personal interests and "gossip"
At the general audience Francis appeals for migrants and their families and to "bear witness to the Gospel of life." "All together, all together with our differences, but united, united forever, that is the path of Jesus! Unity is beyond all conflict, unity is a grace that we must ask the Lord." Seek unity even among evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox.
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