Pope: Christian mission is not proselytisim, but spreading "the flame of faith "
Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "The method of the Christian mission is not proselytizing ," but spreading "the flame of faith that Jesus has kindled in the world." Speaking at today's Angelus , about World Mission Sunday Pope Francis remembered "the Italian Afra Martinelli , who worked for many years in Nigeria : a few days ago she was killed in a robbery. Everyone mourned her, Christians , Muslims, loved her . She proclaimed the Gospel with her life, with the work that she created an education center".
To the almost 100 thousand people present in St Peter's
Square for the Angelus prayer , the Pope expressed his closeness " to all
the missionaries , who work so quietly , and give their lives " and
thanked " all those who with prayer
and practical help support missionary work , in particular the concern of the
bishop of Rome to spread the Gospel. "
Before the Angelus , Francis spoke of today's Gospel in which Jesus tells a parable about the need to pray always and not lose heart , describing it as "calling out to God day and night".
"This description of prayer strikes us - the Pope said. "But let us ask : why does God want this ? Does He not already know our needs? What's the point on ' insisting ' with God ? That is a good question, which takes us a deeper into a very important aspect of faith: God invites us to pray with insistence not because He does not know what we need, or is not listening to us. Instead, He always hears and knows everything about us, with love. In our daily journey, especially in difficulties in the fight against the evil inside and outside of us , the Lord is on our side , we fight with Him at His side, and our weapon is prayer , that makes us feel His presence, His mercy, His help. But the fight against evil is hard and long, it requires patience and endurance - like Moses, who had to hold His arms up to help his people win ( cf. Ex 17.8 to 13 ) . And this is how it is: there is a daily battle, God is our ally, faith in Him is our strength , and prayer is the expression of this faith . Therefore, Jesus assures us of victory, but asks: "when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? "(Lk 18:8). Faith is dimming, prayer is dimming and we walk in darkness, we get lost in the journey of life."
" And so we learn from the widow of the Gospel to pray always and not grow weary. But not to convince the Lord with our many words ! He knows what we need better than us! Rather persevering prayer is an expression of faith in a God who calls us to fight with him, every day, every moment , to overcome evil with good. "
After the Angelus , Francis also expressed his "closeness to the people of the Philippines affected by a strong earthquake, and I invite you to pray for that dear nation , which has recently undergone several disasters ."
The Pope concluded by pointing out that yesterday in Budapest Stefano Sándor was beatified. "He was a lay Salesian, who was exemplary in his service to young people in the oratory and vocational education. When the communist regime closed down all Catholic institutions, he faced persecution with courage , and was killed at age 39 . We join the Salesian Family and the Hungarian Church in thanksgiving.