Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "The Church is all of us and we are all the Church", we all share in the motherhood of the Church and we are called to be "educators in the faith , to proclaim the Gospel " so that Christ's light may reach the ends of the Earth. Illustrating the concept of "Mother Church " as proposed by the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis dedicated today 's general audience catechesis to the Church in the Year of Faith.
"Love the Church, which is
our mother and take part in her life". This
was the central point of the catechesis that the Pope addressed to the 90
thousand people present in St Peter's Square . As
usual Francis toured among them in his white jeep for more than half an hour ,
kissing children , blessing rosaries and holy pictures , collecting flags, t-shirts
and small gifts thrown at him by the people. He
also drank a sip of mate, a traditional Argentinean drink, offered to him by
one of those present.
"The Church is our mother in the faith - he observed - one of the images used by the Fathers of the Church" and "for me, the most beautiful image of the Church, the Church is Mother."
As a mother who generates the son, "so the Church begets us in faith". "Of course - he continued - faith is a personal act: " I believe " , I personally respond to God who reveals Himself and wants to enter into friendship with me. But I receive faith from others, in a family, in a community that teaches me to say "I believe", "we believe". A Christian is not an island! We can not be Christians in a laboratory , we can not be Christians alone , and with our own strength , but faith is a gift, it is a gift of God that is given to us in the Church and through the Church . That is the moment in which we are born as children of God, when God gives us life, it generates us like a mother ".
"And this makes us
understand one important thing: our part of the Church is not something
external, and formal, it is not filling in a form that they give us and then
... no , no, not that! But it is' a interior
and vital act, you do not belong to the Church in the same way you belong to a
society or a party or any other organization. The bond is vital, like the one
you have with your own mother, because the Church is truly the mother of
"Let us ask ourselves now: how do I understand the Church? Am I grateful to my parents because they gave me life, am I grateful to the Church because it generated me in the faith through Baptism?". Then speaking off script, he added: "But how many Christians remember the date of their baptism? " . "But the date of baptism is the date of our birth into the Church, the date on which Mother Church gave birth to us. It is beautiful ...... And now, a task to do at home when you return home today , go and look for the date of your baptism. And that is good, to celebrate it, to thank the Lord for this gift. "
"Do we love the Church as one loves one's mother , knowing even understanding her flaws ? All mothers have flaws, we all do . But when we speak of the defects of the mother, we overlook them, we love them as they are . .. And the Church has her flaws , as well. Do love her this way, like a mother ? Do we help her to be more beautiful, more authentic, according to the Lord ? I leave these questions with you . But do not forget your homework? Look for the date of your baptism , to have it in your heart and celebrate it . "
And as " a mother does not
just give life, but with great care helps her children to grow ", "accompanies
them always" and "knows also how to correct, forgive, understand,
know to be close in sickness, suffering", "the Church as a good mother
does the same: she accompanies our growth by transmitting the Word of God,
which is a light that shows us the path of Christian life; administering the
"We can ask a few more questions: what is my relationship with the Church ? Do I feel her to be a mother who helps me grow as a Christian ? Do I participate in the life of the Church, do I feel part of it ? Is my relationship a formal one or a vital one?" .
"The Church is not something different from ourselves, but should be seen as the totality of believers, as the" we " of Christians : I, you, we are all part of the Church ." " Sometimes I hear: ' I believe in God but not in the Church. I have heard that the Church says ... ' . But who , when did it say this? - ' No, the priests say ... ' . But, priests are one thing... the Church is not only the priests: we are all the Church ". And if you say that you believe in God and do not believe in the Church , you are saying you do not believe in yourself, and this is a contradiction . We are all the Church! Everyone! from that newly baptized child who was there , to the bishops , the Pope: all of us. We are all the Church and we are all equal in God's eyes all . " Everyone " - he said - we are called to assist in the birth of the faith of new Christians , we are all called to be educators in the faith , to proclaim the Gospel ."
"When I repeat that I love a Church not closed in behinds its gates, but able to go out, to move out, even at some risk , to bring Christ to all , I think of everyone , to me, to you, to every Christian ! I think of us all. We all share in the motherhood of the Church , we are all the Church: everyone, so that the light of Christ may reach the ends of the earth . "