Rome (AsiaNews) - "The power of the Church does not lie within itself or its ability to organize, but hides in the deep waters of God" and the Gospel cannot be proclaimed "with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation. No, the Gospel is preached gently, with fraternity and love", with an open heart , "always longing " for God, like that of Peter Faber. These were the central themes of Pope Francis' homily this morning during Mass celebrated in the Jesuit Mother Church, the Gesu.
The third visit of Francis, the first Jesuit pope, to this ancient Roman church is tied to an event that relates to the Society: it is a celebration of thanksgiving for the enrollment in the list of saints of the first Jesuit priest Peter Faber , on December 17 last. The Pope was welcomed just before 9 am by the Superior of the Society of Jesus, Father Adolfo Nicolás. There were about 350 Jesuits in the Church.
In fact, Pope Francis spoke about "we Jesuits". "We, Jesuits- he said - we want to be honored with the name of Jesus, under the military banner of the cross, and that means : to have the same feelings of Christ. Means to think like Him, to love like Him, to see [things the way He sees them], to walk like Him - it means doing what He did, and with the same sentiments He had, with the sentiments of His heart".
"The heart of Christ - he continued- is the heart of a God who , out of love, "emptied Himself". " Each of us, the Jesuits, who follow Jesus should be willing to empty himself . We are called to this lowering of oursleves: to be "emptied". To be men who do not live in a self-centered way because the center of the Society is Christ and His Church . And God is the Deus semper maior , the God who always surprises us . And if the God of surprises is not at the center , the Society them becomes disorientated . This is why, being a Jesuit is to be a person of incomplete thoughts, open thought : why always think looking at the horizon which is the glory of God always great, who surprises us relentlessly . And this is the ' anxiety of our void. That holy and beautiful restlessness".
The Pope continued : " But, because we are sinners , we must ask ourselves if our heart has preserved the restlessness of wanting to set out in search or whether it has atrophied , if our heart is always in tension : a heart that does not rest, does not close in on itself, but that beats the rhythm of a path to travel together with all the faithful people of God . We must seek God to find Him, and find Him to search for Him again and forever. Only this restlessness gives peace to the heart of a Jesuit , even apostolic anxiety should not make us weary of proclaiming the kerygma , to evangelize with courage. This restlessness prepares us to receive the gift of apostolic fruitfulness . Without this restlessness we are sterile".
"This is the restlessness that Peter Faber had, a man of great dreams." He was a " modest man , sensitive, with a deep inner life and endowed with the gift of making friends with people of all kinds ," " however, he was also a restless spirit , indecisive, never satisfied." " He was a man of great desires , and he took charge of his desires , recognized them ." " An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world. Here's the question we must ask ourselves : do we also have great vision and momentum ? Are we too bold ? Do our dreams aim high? Does our zeal devour us (cf. Ps 69.10 ) , or are we mediocre and are satisfied with our laboratory like apostolic programming? " .
"Let us remember always : the power of the Church does not live in itself and in its ability to organize , rather it hides itself in the deep waters of God. And these waters agitate our desires and desires expand the heart." "Without desires you go nowhere and this is why it is important to offer our desires to the Lord". "Faber had a real deep desire to" be expanded in God " he was completely centered in God, and this could go in a spirit of obedience , often by foot , anywhere in Europe, sweetly dialoguing with everyone, and proclaim the Gospel".
"The temptation, that maybe many of us experience, and many other people have comes to mind; that of linking the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation. No, the Gospel is preached gently, fraternally , with love."
"His familiarity with God led him to understand that the inner experience and apostolic life always go together. He writes in his memorial that the first movement of the heart must be" to desire what is essential and original , that is, that the first place is left to the care of finding the perfect God our Lord "( Memorial , 63) . Faber has a desire to" let Christ occupy the center of the heart " ( Memorial , 68 .) Only if you are centered in God, can you go to the outskirts of the world ! And Faber traveled tirelessly even beyond geographical boundaries so that it was said of him: "he seems born unable to sit still " ( MI , Epistolae I, 362) . Faber was devoured by the intense desire to communicate the Lord . If we do not have his own desire , then we need to pause in prayer and with fervent silence, ask the Lord , through the intercession of our brother Peter, to once again fascinate us . That fascination that led Peter to do all these crazy apostolic things.. . "
"We are men who live in tension, we are also contradictory and inconsistent men , sinners all . But men who want to walk under the gaze of Jesus. We are small , we are sinners , but we want to fight under the banner of the Cross in the Society signed by the name of Jesus. We who are selfish, nonetheless want to live a life agitated by great desires . So let us renew our oblation to the Lord, that through the Lord of the universe with the help of his glorious Mother we can desire and experience the feelings of Christ who emptied himself. As St. Peter Faber wrote , "never in this life may we seek a name that does not bring us back to that of Jesus " ( Memorial , 205 .) And pray to Our Lady to be placed with her Son".