11/06/2022, 15.10
Send to a friend

Pope tells the Church of Arabia to spread the joy of the Gospel

Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to Bahrain ended this morning with a meeting with the local clergy, men and women religious and pastoral workers. “It is beautiful,” he said, “to be part of a Church composed of different histories and different faces that find their harmony in the one face of Jesus.” After mentioning the countries of origin of the Catholics living in the Vicariate, Francis also mentioned Lebanon “so weary and sorely tried” and expressed hope for the peace agreement in Ethiopia.

Manama (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis has concluded his Apostolic Journey to the Kingdom of Bahrain. In his address before leaving for Rome he spoke to bishops, priests, consecrated persons, seminarians, and pastoral workers from the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia who serve some two million Catholics in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, home to a migrant Church made up almost exclusively of foreign workers.

For the pope, “we spread the joy of the Gospel” so that “Christian joy [. . .] multiplies once we start spreading it around.” At the same time,  he turned his thoughts “to the peoples from whom you come, to your dear families, whom you remember with a touch of nostalgia, and to your countries of origin.

“In particular, since I see that some of you are from Lebanon, I assure you of my prayers and closeness to your beloved country, so weary and sorely tried, as well as to all peoples suffering in the Middle East. It is beautiful to be part of a Church composed of different histories and different faces that find their harmony in the one face of Jesus.”

Francis reminded his audience that this Church, who lives and works far from the spotlight in a Muslim country, should keep in mind the image fresh water flowing silently underground, irrigating it.

“That is a beautiful image of who you are and, above all, of how faith operates in our lives: on the surface our humanity seems parched by any number of weaknesses, fears, challenges and personal or social problems of various types.

“Yet, truly within the depths of the soul, in the intimacy of the heart, there flows the calm and silent fresh water of the Spirit, who refreshes our deserts and restores life to what is parched, who washes away all that soils us and quenches our thirst for happiness.”

The pontiff also focused on three gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to the Church: joy, unity, and prophecy.

“First, the Spirit is a wellspring of joy. [. . .] The Spirit is the One who does not leave us on our own. He is the Comforter, who consoles us by his quiet and soothing presence, who accompanies us with love, supports us in struggles and difficulties, encourages our most beautiful dreams and deepest desires, and opens us to the wonder and beauty of life.

“The joy of the Spirit, however, is not an occasional feeling or a momentary emotion; still less is it that kind of “joy held out by today’s individualistic and consumerist culture”.

“The joy of the Spirit is instead a joy born of a relationship with God, from knowing that despite the struggles and dark nights that we sometimes endure, we are not alone, lost or defeated, because he is with us. With God, we can face and overcome everything, even the abyss of pain and death.

The Holy Spirit is also the source of unity, a particularly important sign in a Church made up of people from so many countries.

“Let us seek to be guardians and builders of unity! In order to be credible when we dialogue with others, let us live in fraternity among ourselves. Let us do so in our communities, valuing the charisms of each person without humiliating anyone.

“Let us do so in our religious houses, as living signs of harmony and peace. Let us do so in our families, so that the sacramental bond of love is seen daily in service and forgiveness. Let us do so in the multi-religious and multicultural societies in which we find ourselves, as ever tireless promoters of dialogue and weavers of fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other creeds and confessions.”

The third gift, the Spirit, is the source of prophecy. “[W]e cannot pretend not to see the works of evil, so as to live a ‘quiet life’ and not get our hands dirty. Sooner or later, Christians must get their hands dirty in order to live the Christian life and bear witness. On the contrary, we received a Spirit of prophecy to proclaim the Gospel by our living witness.”

Citing the words heard from a nun, Sister Rose, about ministering among inmates, the pope added: “Do you know what I think about when I go into a prison? “Why them and not me?” It is the mercy of God. Caring for prisoners is good for everyone, as a human community, since the way in which these “least ones” are treated is a measure of the dignity and the hope of a society.”

Finally, before reciting the Angelus prayer at the end of the meeting, Francis once again spoke about praying for peace.

“In this context, the agreement that was signed and which concerns the situation in Ethiopia represents hope. I encourage everyone to support this commitment for a lasting peace, so that, with the help of God, those involved may continue to journey on the paths of dialogue and that the population may soon find once more a peaceful and dignified life. And also I do not want to forget to pray, and to tell you to pray, for tormented Ukraine, for that war to end.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Pope urges Gulf Christians to be seeds of love and peace
05/11/2022 17:27
Pope: the Beatitudes, proclamation of a new humanity that revolutionizes the world
01/11/2021 13:21
Pope: If we prayed more and complained less, many doors would open
29/06/2020 13:16
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
Pope in Bahrain calls for safe and worthy jobs around the world
03/11/2022 19:44


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”