In an audience with the group of participants in the general chapter, Pope Francis calls on them to find "possible new ways" to live the charism of the congregation founded in 1854. To learn from Jesus to "love with a human heart." The educational emergency to "accompany young generations". Valorise the laity and not give in to the evil of clericalism.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The commitment to educating young people in faith and witnessing the merciful love of Jesus to all in the “changed situation of our world with respect to the past” demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel ". Pope Francis exhorted the missionaries of the Sacred Heart, receiving participants in their general chapter in audience this morning.
The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were founded in 1854 by French priest Jean Jules Chevalier and today count today more than 1000 members, mostly priests, with several hundred consecrated lay people.
They are common in many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Oceania.
The pontiff appreciated the theme of the chapter: "You have kept the good wine so far" (Jn 2:10), underlining "precious heritage of projects and apostolic works" offered by the charism in the past, and "its rich potentials to benefit of the Church and the world " today.
The Pope continued, "by listening to what the Spirit says to the Church today, and by your openness to the questions and concerns of our fellow men and women, you will be able to discover in your authentic charism the wellspring of renewed strength, courageous decisions and creative expressions of the mission you have received. The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelization, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope. " .
He then pushed to two charismatic updates. " The original inspiration of your founder was that of spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today you strive to foster this devotion and to make it bear fruit through a variety of works and activities that witness to the tender and merciful love of Jesus for all, especially those in greatest need.” He then urged them to “Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and learn from him how to love with a truly human heart, …to go forth to all those places where people are in need of acceptance and assistance. This is the first Gospel that the Church entrusts to you by sending you out as missionaries to the world: to show by your lives and by your works the passionate and tender love of God for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable and those whom our world has discarded."
Another element in need of updating is "the Christian formation of youth". " How urgent it is today to educate and assist new generations to appropriate authentic human values and to cultivate an evangelical vision of life and history! Many people consider this a true “educational emergency”; surely, it is one of the frontiers of the Church’s mission of evangelization, towards which the entire Christian community is invited to set out. In continuity with the achievements and undertakings of those who have gone before you, I encourage you to undertake new initiatives also in this specific area of your apostolate. "
Francis also urged them to give greater value to the presence of lay people in the institute. " I ask you not to yield to the temptation of clericalism that, as I have often remarked, alienates people, especially the young, from the Church. May your common life be marked by true fraternity, which welcomes diversity and values the gifts of all. Do not hesitate to continue and expand your communion with the laypersons who participate in your apostolate. Let them share in your ideals and projects, and in the rich spirituality arising from your Institute’s charism. With them, and with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, you will form an ever greater and stronger “charismatic family”, one that will better demonstrate the vitality and relevance of your founder’s charism. "