Francis meets with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who are present in 70 countries of the world. “It is a tragedy when the ministers of the Church abandon the poor,” he said. “One should let oneself be evangelised” by the poor when meeting them.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met today with members of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) who are in Rome for their General Chapter. During the meeting they elected Spanish-born Fr Luis Ignacio Rois as their new superior general.
In his address, the pontiff said: “One should oneself be evangelised by the poor one evangelises. [. . . ] As disciples of Jesus and followers of your founder Saint Eugéne de Mazenod, you are called to bring the Gospel of hope, joy, and peace" to a world that “seems to have reached goals that seemed unattainable”, yet “is still a slave to selfishness and full of contradictions, of divisions.”
“The cry of the earth and that of the poor, wars and conflicts that have shed blood on human history, the distressing situation of millions of migrants and refugees, an economy that makes the rich ever richer and the poor ever poorer are some aspects of a scenario where only the Gospel can keep the light of hope alive.”
Speaking about the order’s founder, de Mazenod, Francis noted that he became a traveller, "walking with his first companions in the villages of his native Provence, preaching missions amid the people, and bringing back to faith the poor who had left and whom even the ministers of the Church had abandoned. It is a tragedy when the ministers of the Church abandon the poor.”
Today the Oblates of Mary Immaculate are present in 70 countries around the world, including Asia. "To this Church, which the founder taught you to love like a mother, offer your missionary zeal and life, sharing in its exodus to the edges of the world loved by God, and living a charism that leads you to the farthest, the poorest, those whom no one reaches.”
With respect to this journey, the pontiff stressed the importance of two dimensions: hope and communion. For him, “Being missionaries of hope means knowing how to read the signs of its hidden presence in the daily life of the people.
Similarly, it means “learning to recognise hope among the poor to whom you are sent, who often manage to find it amid the most difficult situations. One should oneself be evangelised by the poor one evangelises: they teach you the way of hope, for the Church and the world.”
As for communion, "today, it is a challenge on which the future of the world, the Church and consecrated life can rely. To be missionaries of communion we must, first of all, live it among ourselves, in our communities, in mutual relationships, and then nurture it with everyone without exception.
“May the Good Samaritan of the Gospel be an example and an incentive to bring you close to every person, with the love and tenderness that led him to take care of the robbed and wounded man.”
Lastly, since the Chapter focused on protecting creation as our common home, the pontiff encouraged the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to continue working in this direction.
"Our Mother Earth feeds us without asking for anything in return; it is up to us to understand that she cannot continue to do so if we do not also take care of her. These are all aspects of that conversion to which the Lord continually calls us.
“Returning to the common Father, returning to the sources, returning to the first love that led you to leave everything to follow Jesus: This is the soul of consecration and mission.”