Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Never yield to pessimism and discouragement, bitterness to the devil offers us every day, "seek" new methods of evangelization "to" respond to the mission of Jesus himself and always bring the 'man to Jesus, "follow the Spirit that fosters communion in the Church.
It is almost a keynote speech -
with an echo of the prophets of doom - addressed today by Pope Francis to the
College of Cardinals during a very "familiar" meeting held in the
Clementine Hall. With
a new significant reference to "courage" and the teaching of Benedict
XVI and an underscoring of '"collegiality" that unites the Cardinals.
The climate was also indicated by his wish to inform his "brothers cardinal" of a heart attack that struck Card. Meja, who is hospitalized, but is better and to whom he has sent his greetings.
In his speech, partly improvised, the Pope above all recalled, "My first encounter with the crowd assembled in St. Peter's Square. With the striking image of the praying and joyful people still imprinted in my mind, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the bishops , priests, consecrated persons, young people, families, the elderly for their spiritual closeness, that is so touching and fervent. "
"A thought full of grateful affection and deep gratitude - he continued - goes to my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who during the years of his papacy has enriched and strengthened the Church with his teaching, his kindness, his guidance, his faith, his humility and gentleness that will remain a spiritual heritage for everyone. The Petrine ministry, lived with total dedication, had a wise and humble interpreter in him, with his eyes still fixed on Christ, the risen Christ present and alive in the Eucharist. He will always be in our fervent prayers, our unceasing remembrance, our undying gratitude and affection. We feel that Benedict XVI has ignited a flame at the bottom of our hearts: it will continue to burn because it will be fueled by his prayer, which still support the Church in its spiritual and missionary journey. "
The second reference is to the communion experienced in these days of preparation and Conclave. "Driven by a deep sense of responsibility and supported by a great love for Christ and for the Church, we prayed together, sharing our fraternal feelings, our experiences and reflections. In this climate of great cordiality, a shared understanding and openness has grown among us "and this, he added," is good, because we are brothers and someone said to me, the Cardinals were the priests of the Holy Father. But we are one community, that friendship, that closeness will do good for all of us. And this knowledge, this shared opening facilitated docility to the Holy Spirit. He, the Paraclete is the supreme protagonist of every initiative and expression of faith". "It 's strange: it makes me think the following. The Paraclete makes all the difference in the churches and it seems to be an apostle of Babel. But on the other hand, it also makes the unity of these differences not in equality, but in harmony. I remember that Father of the Church who termed it thus: 'Ipse harmonia est'.' This Holy Spirit, who gives us, each of us different gifts, unites us in this community of the Church that worships the Father, the Son and to Him, the Holy Spirit. "
"Starting from this authentic collegial affection that unites the College of Cardinals, I wish to express my willingness to serve the Gospel with renewed love, helping the Church to become more and more in Christ and with Christ, the fruitful vine of the Lord. Stimulated also by the celebration of the Year of Faith, all together, pastors and faithful, we will strive to respond faithfully to the same mission as always: to bring Jesus Christ to man and lead man to an encounter with Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life, truly present in the Church and contemporary in every man. Such a meeting leads us to become new men in the mystery of grace, the soul stirring Christian joy which is a gifted hundredfold by Christ to those who welcome Him into their lives. "
Another reference to Benedict XVI who "recalled many times in his teachings and, most recently, with the brave and humble gesture", it "is Christ who guides the Church through his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church with its life-giving and unifying force: he makes one body of many, the Mystical Body of Christ. " "Let us never give in to pessimism, a bitterness that the devil offers us every day: Never give in to pessimism and discouragement, we have the firm conviction that the Holy Spirit gives the Church, with his mighty breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it answers the deep need of human existence, announcing convincingly that Christ is the only Saviour of all man and of all men. This announcement remains as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity, when the first great missionary expansion of the Gospel took place. "
"Dear Brother, take strength! - he continued - Half of us are in old age: old age is - I like to say so - the seat of wisdom. Old people have walked into the wisdom of life, such as the aged Simeon, the aged Anna at the Temple. And that wisdom made them recognize Jesus. We give this wisdom to the young people: good wine, which over the years becomes good, we give young people the knowledge of life. I am reminded of what a German poet of old said: 'Es ist ruhig, das Alter, und fromm'' it is the time of peace and prayer. And also to give young people this wisdom. "
"You will now return to your sees to continue your ministry enriched by the experience of these days, so full of faith and of ecclesial communion. Such a unique and incomparable experience, has allowed us to deeply understand the beauty of the Church and that it is a reflection of the splendor of the Risen Christ: one day we'll look at that beautiful face of the Risen Christ. "
"To the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother, Mother of the Church, I entrust my ministry and your ministry. Beneath her maternal gaze, each of us can walk happy and docile to the voice of her divine Son, strengthening unity, persevering in agreement in prayer and witnessing the genuine belief in the continued presence of the Lord. With these sentiments - and they are true! - with these sentiments, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to your collaborators and to the people entrusted to your pastoral care. "