His conversion on the road to Damascus is a "turning of the page in the history of Salvation". "Let us look for new paths, this will do us all good! Provided they are the paths of the Lord. But move forward: forward in the depths of prayer, in the depth of docility, of the heart open to the voice of God. And so the true changes are made in the Church, with people who know how to fight for the small and the great things ”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Docility and openness to the voice of God, also seeking "new paths" in the Church. Pope Francis spoke about it today in the homily of the Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta, taking inspiration from the passage in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 9: 1-20) which recounts the conversion of St. Paul.
His conversion on the road to Damascus, called by the voice of the Lord, Francis observed, is a "turning of the page in the history of Salvation", it marks the opening to the "pagans, to the Gentiles to those who were not Israelites", in a word is "the open door to the universality of the Church" and is permitted by the Lord as it is "an important thing".
At the center of the homily, therefore, the figure of the Apostle of the Gentiles who, blind, remained in Damascus for three days without food or water, until Ananias sent by the Lord, came to restore his sight giving him the possibility to begin the journey of conversion and preaching "filled with the Holy Spirit".
The Pope highlights two traits of his attitude, addressing in particular a group of Sisters of Cottolengo present at the Mass on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of their religious life and some Eritrean priests who carry out their service in Italy.
Paul was therefore "a strong man" and "in love with the law, with God, with the purity of the law", but he was "honest" and, even if he had a "temper", he was "coherent". "First of all he was coherent because he was a man open to God. If he persecuted Christians it was because he was convinced that God wanted this. But why? Because he was convinced of that. It was the zeal he had for the purity of the house of God, for the glory of God. A heart open to the voice of the Lord. And he risked, he risked, he went on. And another trace of his temperament is that he was a docile man, he had docility, he was not a stubborn man”.
Perhaps his temperament was stubborn - the Pope added - but not his soul. Paul was "open to the suggestions of God". He eagerly imprisoned and killed Christians, but "once he heard the voice of the Lord he became like a child, he allowed himself to be carried". "Blind, he lets himself be taken to Jerusalem, he fasts for three days, he waits for the Lord to speak ... All those beliefs he had remain silent, waiting for the voice of the Lord:" "What should I do, Lord?". And he goes to the encounter in Damascus, at the encounter with that other docile man and lets himself be catechized like a child, he lets himself be baptized like a child. And then he regains strength and what does he do? Shut up. He goes to Arabia to pray, how long we don't know, maybe years, we don't know. The docility. Opening to the voice of God and docility. It is an example of our life and today I like to talk about this in front of these sisters who celebrate the 50th anniversary of religious life. Thank you for listening to the voice of God and thank you for docility ".
The presence of the Sisters of the Cottolengo in Santa Marta inspired Francis to talk about the "docility of the women of Cottolengo". Francis remembers his first visit, in the 1970s, to one of the structures that, in the spirit of St. Joseph Benedetto Cottolengo, welcomes mentally and physical disabled people throughout the world, telling of his passing from room to room guided by a nun, who spend their lives "there, among the discarded". Without their perseverance and their docility, the Pope said, they could not do what they do: "Persevere. And this is a sign to the Church. I would like to thank you today , through you, so many courageous men and women who risk their lives, who go forward, even who seek new paths in the life of the Church. They seek new paths! 'But, father, is it not a sin? ". No, it is not a sin" "We are looking for new paths, this will do us all good! Provided they are the Lord's roads. But go on: forward in the depths of prayer, in the depth of docility, of the heart open to the voice of God. And so the true changes are made in the Church, with people who know how for the small and the great things”.
The "Christian", must have "this charisma of the small and the great" and the prayer addressed to St. Paul at the end of the homily is a request for the "grace of docility to the voice of the Lord and a heart open to the Lord, the grace not to be frightened into doing great things, to move forward, provided we have the delicacy of taking care of small things ".