Pope in the Baltic countries: in Latvia, unity of Christians is missionary
An ecumenical ceremony in Riga, where the Christian Churches "have succeeded in generating unity while maintaining the wealth and singularity of each one". To the small Catholic community "you have been subjected to all sorts of trials: the horror of war, and then the political repression, persecution and exile".
Riga (AsiaNews) - From Latvia, where the Christian Churches "have succeeded in generating unity while maintaining the wealth and singularity proper to each" and in difficult times due to innumerable factors such as secularism or individualistic logics, Pope Francis proclaimed that "The Lord calls us is always a missionary unity, which asks us to go out and reach the hearts of our people and cultures, of the post-modern society in which we live".
The ecumenical prayer in Riga's Lutheran Cathedral was the central moment of Francis’ morning in Latvia. It is a Lutheran and secularized country, also because of the 70 years of atheist regime: no crowds for the Pope, only groups of people (in the picture) who still greet him warmly.
Naturally the climate in the cathedral of the small Catholic community, dedicated to St. James is different. " Those of you who are present - the Pope said to them - were subjected to any number of trials: the horror of war, then political repression, persecution and exile, as your Archbishop has described. Yet you remained steadfast; you persevered in faith. Neither the Nazi regime, nor the Soviet regime could extinguish the faith in your hearts. Neither could they stop some of you from becoming priests, religious sisters, catechists, or from serving the Church in other ways that put your lives at risk. You fought the good fight; you ran the race, you kept the faith (cf. 2 Tim 4: 5) ".
In the great 800-year-old Lutheran cathedral, there is a historic, extraordinary organ and a beautiful chorus of little girls.
Francis was inspired by the organ to say that “If the music of the Gospel is no longer heard in our lives, or becomes a mere period piece, it will no longer be capable of breaking through the monotony that stifles hope and makes all our activity fruitless.
If the music of the Gospel ceases to resonate in our very being, we will lose the joy born of compassion, the tender love born of trust, the capacity for reconciliation that has its source in our knowledge that we have been forgiven and sent forth.
If the music of the Gospel ceases to sound in our homes, our public squares, our workplaces, our political and financial life, then we will no longer hear the strains that challenge us to defend the dignity of every man and woman, whatever his or her origin. We will become caught up in what is “mine”, neglecting what is “ours”: our common home, which is also our common responsibility.
If the music of the Gospel is no longer heard, we will lose the sounds that guide our lives to heaven and become locked into one of the worst ills of our day: loneliness and isolation. That illness takes hold in those who have no relationships; it can be seen in elderly persons abandoned to their fate, but also in young people lacking points of reference or opportunities for the future.”
“Unity is something that our mission today continues to demand of us. This mission requires us to stop looking at past injuries and self-referential approaches in order to focus on the Master’s prayer. Our mission is to ensure that the music of the Gospel continues to be heard in our public squares”.
Some may well say that the times in which we live are complex, that the times are difficult. Others may think that in our societies Christians have less and less margins of action or influence for any number of reasons, such as secularism or individualism. This may not lead to a closed and defensive mentality, even an attitude of resignation. Certainly, we have to admit that these are not easy times, especially for our many brothers and sisters who today, in their flesh, experience exile and even martyrdom for the faith. Yet their witness makes us realize that the Lord continues to call us, asking us to live the Gospel radically, in joy and gratitude. If Christ deemed us worthy to live in these times, at this hour – the only hour we have – we cannot let ourselves be overcome by fear, nor allow this time to pass without living it fully with joyful fidelity. The Lord will give us the strength to make every age, every moment, every situation, an opportunity for communion and reconciliation with the Father and with our brothers and sisters, especially those nowadays considered inferior, worthy of being discarded. If Christ considered us worthy to ensure that the melody of the Gospel be heard, can we fail to do so?”.