Communicate the joy of being Christian, Pope tells ecclesial movements
Vatican City (AsiaNews) Communicating to other people and all social groups in which one lives the "beauty of Christ", the One in whom we encounter "the beauty of truth and [. . .] love", is a "joy" that must inform the attitudes of every Christian. It is also an instrument to "bring light to a world bewildered by the contradictory messages of ideologies".
This is the central point Benedict XVI stressed in the message he sent to the participants to the 2nd World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities that began today in Rocca di Papa (near Rome, Italy) until June 2. Its main topic is "The Beauty of Being Christians and the Joy of Communicating It".
For the Pope it is a topic that "invites one to reflect on what essentially informs the coming of Christianity. In it we are met by the One who in flesh and blood, visibly, historically, has brought the splendour of God's glory to earth. It is "the beauty of beauty" that "is present in man's heart and draws him towards his vocation which is love".
Benedict XVI warns that love "means a willingness to suffer, one that can go as far as giving one's life for those one loves, and calls on the ecclesial movements to be willing to "follow not only what the successor of Peter indicates but also what the bishops of the various local Churches say" in order to build the Body of Christ.
"For centuries, Christianity was communicated and spread thanks to the newness of the lives led by those, people and communities, who could keenly bear witness to love, unity and joy. It was exactly this strength that generated the 'movement' of people, generation after generation. Was it not the beauty of faith that was visible in saints' faces that led many men and women to follow in their footsteps? This is true for you as well, isn't it? Through those who founded and started off your movements and communities you have seen the unique luminosity of Christ's face and set off on your own journey".
"Dear friends from the [ecclesial] movements," Benedict XVI said, do not forget that "they are schools of communion, companies on the go where one can learn to live in truth and in the love of the revealed Christ".
"Bring the light of Christ to all the social and cultural milieus where you live. The missionary impetus confirms the radical nature of an experience of fidelity that is always renewed to one's own charisma beyond any tired and self-centred escape."
"Bring light to a world bewildered by the contradictory messages of ideologies! There is no beauty worth its name if there is no truth to acknowledge and follow; if loves becomes a passing emotion; if happiness becomes an unattainable illusion; if freedom degenerates into instinct. How much evil can come into the lives of men and nations when power, possessions and pleasure are coveted. 'For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery' (cf Gal, 5:1)."
"The extraordinary fusion between God's love and that of our fellow man makes life beautiful. It also makes our sometimes barren lives blossom. We can build a civilisation that faces the onrush of barbarism wherever charity expresses itself as passion for life and other people's fate, radiating from one's loves and work and becoming a force to build a more equitable social order. Become builders of a better world in accordance with the ordo amoris in which the beauty of human life appears."
"Ecclesial movements and new communities are a shining example of the beauty of Christ and the Church, His spouse," the Pope's message said. "You belong to the living structure of the Church, which thanks you for your missionary commitment, your developing actions to form Christian families, your work to promote priestly vocations amongst yourselves.
"The Church also thanks you for your willingness to follow not only what the successor of Peter indicates but also what the bishops of the various local Churches, who with the Pope are the guardians of truth, charity and unity, say."
"I trust in your prompt obedience. Beyond asserting one's right to exist, building the Body of Christ among mankind must always come first as an unquestionable priority. The movements must face each problem with sentiments of deep communion in a spirit of agreement with the legitimate pastors. May your participation in the Church's prayer sustain you! The Church's liturgy is the highest expression of the beauty of God's glory, and the way Heaven somehow presents itself to the world."