At the general audience, Francis recalls that the Church it consists of listening to the teaching of the apostles, custody of shared communion, the breaking of bread and prayer. If these "coordinates" are missing, there is no ecclesiality.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church is not a political party, with majorities and minorities, it consists of listening to the teaching of the apostles, custody of shared communion, the breaking of bread and prayer. If these "coordinates" are missing, there is no ecclesiality. This is revealed by the life of the first Christian community and it was the theme of today's general audience, again held in the library of the Apostolic Palace.
Continuing the cycle of catechesis on prayer, Pope Francis in fact spoke of the prayer of the nascent Church, underlining what Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles: "they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42) ".
These are the four essential characteristics of ecclesial life. They "remind us that the existence of the Church makes sense if it remains firmly united with Christ, that is, in the community, in his Word, in the Eucharist, in prayer: it is the path to unite with Christ. Preaching and catechesis testify to the Master's words and gestures; the constant search for fraternal communion preserves from selfishness and particularism; the breaking of the bread realizes the sacrament of the presence of Jesus in our midst: he will never be absent, he is there right in the Eucharist, he lives and walks with us. And finally prayer, which is the space for dialogue with the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit”.
Because "it is God who makes the Church, not the clamour of works". “The Church is not a market; it is not a group of entrepreneurs who are moving forward with a new enterprise. The Church is the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent us to gather us, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community, in common life, in the Eucharist, in prayer, always. And everything that comes out of these four coordinates is without foundation. It's like a house built on sand”.
“It is the word of Jesus that fills our efforts with meaning. It is in humility that the future of the world is built ". “Sometimes I feel a great sadness when I see some community that, in good faith, still takes the wrong path, thinks it can be a Church with rallies, as if it were a political party. What do the majority, the minority think… ”.
Instead the Church “is like a Synod: where there is prayer, where there is community love, where there is the Eucharist". Without these characteristics, the Church "becomes a political party: majority, minority, changes are made as if it were a company, but there is no presence of the Holy Spirit".
"To assess whether a situation is ecclesial or not ecclesial, let us ask ourselves if there are these four coordinates: listening to the Word of God, community life, prayer, the Eucharist. If this is missing, the Spirit is missing and if the Spirit is missing we would be a beautiful humanistic organization, a charity, even an ecclesial party, but there is no Church ".
Francis recalled, in this regard, what Benedict XVI said: "The Church does not grow by proselytism, it grows by attraction, and the one who moves the attraction is the Spirit", "We never forget this word of If the Spirit is missing it is the Church, there is a nice club but there is no Church, there is no synodality ”.
"Reading the Acts of the Apostles, we then discover how the powerful engine of evangelization are prayer meetings, where those who participate experience the presence of Jesus lives and are touched by the Spirit. The members of the first community - but this is always true, even for us today - perceive that the story of the encounter with Jesus did not stop at the moment of the Ascension, but continues in their life. By telling what the Lord has said and done, by praying to enter into communion with him, everything becomes alive. Prayer infuses light and warmth: the gift of the Spirit gives them fervour”.
“In prayer, the Christian immerses himself in the mystery of God who loves every man and desires the Gospel to be preached to all. God is God for everyone, and in Jesus every separation wall has definitively collapsed: as Saint Paul says, He is our peace, "he who has made two of two" (Eph 2:14). Jesus made unity. Thus the life of the primitive Church is punctuated by a continuous succession of celebrations, convocations, times of community and personal prayer. And it is the Spirit who grants strength to the preachers who set out on a journey, and who for love of Jesus sail the seas, face dangers, submit to humiliations. God gives love and asks for love. This is the mystical root of all believing life”.
"We must resume the sense of adoration: adore God, adore king Jesus, worship the Holy Spirit”. “Worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. “To adore, in silence: the prayer of adoration is the prayer that makes us recognize God as the beginning and end of all history. And this prayer is the living fire of the Spirit which gives strength to witness and mission”.