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» 11/06/2013
Pope: The Church cannot grow amid selfishness and a lack of love
At the General audience, Francis tells of how he went to visit a little girl called Naomi, who is seriously ill, and asks us to pray for her". The sacraments push us to be missionaries , and the apostolic commitment to bring the Gospel everywhere, even to the most hostile places, is the most authentic fruit of an assiduous sacramental life, because it is participation in the saving work of God, who wants to gift salvation to all “.

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Pope Francis , and with him 100 thousand people, today prayed for a little girl only one and a half years old called Naomi, who is suffering from spinal muscular atrophy. During the general audience, the Pope asked the faithful for this "an act of love." "Before I came to the square - he said - I went to see a girl of one and a half with a serious illness . Her dad and her mom are praying , asking the Lord to make this beautiful little girl healthy, her name is Naomi. She was smiling , poor little thing . Let's make an act of love, we do not know her, but she is baptized, she is one of us, she is a Christian . Let's make an act of love for her and in silence, first let us ask the Lord to help her at this time and make her healthy. All together now let us pray to Our Lady for the health of Naomi. Thank you for this act of charity". Pope Francis had already shown his interest in the little girl: on 15 October he had phoned her parents and had sent them a rosary.

The Pope's request for an "act of love " was linked to the discourse that Francis had devoted to the "communion among believers " and " spiritual goods".

These two aspects - he said - are closely connected to each other, in fact, the communion between Christians grows through participation in spiritual goods. In particular, let us consider: the sacraments , the charisms and charity. We grow in unity, in communion with the sacraments, with the gifts that everyone has because the Holy Ghost gave them to us, and with charity".

"The sacraments are not just for appearances, they are not rites; the sacraments are the strength of Christ, Jesus Christ is there in the sacraments". "Every encounter with Christ - he continued - which in the sacraments gives us salvation, invites us to 'go' and communicate to others a salvation that we can see, touch, encounter, receive, and that is really credible because it is love . In this way, the sacraments lead us to be missionaries, and apostolic commitment urges us to bring the Gospel to every sphere of life, even in the most hostile, is the most authentic fruit of an assiduous sacramental life, that as is participation in the salvific of God, who wants to gift salvation to all. The grace of the sacraments nourishes us with a strong and joyful faith, a faith that knows how to be amazed by God's 'wonders' and resist the idols of the world".

"And so it is important to take communion, it is important that children be baptized soon , it is important that they are confirmed members . Why, because this is the presence of Jesus Christ in us, who helps us. It is important that, when we feel we have sinned, we go to the sacrament of reconciliation. 'No, Father, I am afraid, because the priest will give out to me ! .' No, he will not give out to you, the priest. Do you know who you will meet in the sacrament of reconciliation? Jesus, Jesus forgives you.  Jesus is waiting for you there, and this is a sacrament. It makes the whole Church".

"A second aspect of communion in holy things is the communion of charisms. The Holy Spirit dispenses to the faithful a multitude of gifts and spiritual graces, this 'imaginative' wealth f the gifts of the Holy Spirit is aimed at building up the Church".  And speaking off the cuff, the Pope added: "charisms is a somewhat difficult word. The charisms are gifts that Holy Spirit makes us the, one has the gift of being this way, or has this skill or that possibility ... But they are gifts which are given and should not remain hidden: we are given these gifts for others to participate in".

The third aspect of communion "spiritual goods " is "the unity among us that generates charity and love. From the early Christians, the pagans who saw them said : 'But these people, how they love and how they love each other! They do not you hate, they do not gossip about each other! But, this is good!'. Charity: this is the love of God that the Holy Spirit gifts our heart. "

"The charisms are important in the life of the Christian community, but they are always the means to grow in love, in love, which St. Paul places above the charisms. Without love, in fact, even the most extraordinary gifts are in vain". "But this man heals people: eh, has this quality, this virtue, he heals people. But, does he have love in his heart? Is he a man of charity? If you have them, come on in, but if you do not have them, its no use to the Church. Without love, the Church does not need all your gifts, because where there is no love there is a void, a void that is filled by selfishness . And I wonder if we are all selfish, only selfish, can we live in the community, in peace? Can we live in peace if everyone is selfish ? Is it possible? It is not! We need the love that unites us; charity. "

"The smallest of our acts of love has a good effect on everyone! Therefore, the unity of the Church, the communion of charity means not seeking our own interests, but sharing the sufferings and joys of others , ready to carry the weights of the weakest and poorest. Fraternal solidarity. This is not a figure of speech, a way of saying, but an integral part of the communion among Christians. If we live this way then we are a sign for the whole world, we are "sacrament " of the love the God, we are for each other and for all! It is not just that charity petty that we can offer each other, it is something far deeper: it is a communion that enables us to enter into the joy and pain of others to make them sincerely ours. Too often we are too arid, indifferent, aloof and instead of transmitting fraternity, we transmit moodiness, coldness, selfishness.  How can the Church grow with bad moods, with coldness, with selfishness? Can the whole Church grow? No, with indisposition, coldness, selfishness the Church will not grow: it only grows with love, with the love that comes from the Holy Spirit . The Lord invites us to be open to communion with Him, in the sacraments, in the charisms and charity, to live in a manner worthy of our Christian vocation".

Before the start of the general audience, the Pope also blessed the torch of the 26th Winter Universiade, which will open on 11 December next in Trentino, Northern Italy.


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See also
10/08/2014 VATICAN
Pope: history has separated Christians, "but we're on the path to reconciliation and communion"
04/05/2006 VATICAN
Pope: "Stop communion with those far from saving doctrine"
12/10/2008 VATICAN
Pope: without solidarity, the Eucharist is "abused"
03/29/2006 VATICAN
Communion is a divine gift in a world that suffers from divisions and solitude, says Pope
11/26/2014 VATICAN
Pope: Heaven is, "more than a place" it is a "state" in which our deepest expectations will be fulfilled

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