Pope: the world must accelerate initiatives for those without water
An appeal to mark an international conference on this "primary good" which opens in New York at the general audience. One year after the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the invitation to repeat the gesture singularly on the solemnity of the Annunciation. In the catechesis the relevance of Paul VI's words on Christian witness in "Evangelii Nuntiandi".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Water cannot be the object of waste, abuse or the cause of wars, but must be preserved for our benefit and that of future generations". This is the appeal launched today by Pope Francis, addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square at the end of the Wednesday general audience.
Recalling today's World Water Day proclaimed by the UN, the pontiff quoted the words of St. Francis' Canticle of Creatures: "Praised be You, O my Lord, for Sister Water, who is very useful, humble, precious and chaste".
Citing then the International Water Conference that opens today in New York, he said he prays for the success of the work, hoping that this event "may accelerate the initiatives in favour of those who suffer the scarcity of water, this primary good".
Then looking ahead to the solemnity of the Annunciation being celebrated on Saturday, Pope Francis recalled the consecration of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made last year on this anniversary with a special focus on war-stricken Ukraine and Russia.
"Let us not tire of entrusting the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace," he added, inviting "each believer and community, especially prayer groups" to "renew every 25 March the act of consecration to Our Lady." "She is mother and may she guard us in the unity of peace. And let us not forget in these days the tormented Ukraine that suffers so much," he concluded.
Earlier, continuing the cycle of weekly catecheses dedicated to apostolic zeal in evangelisation, the pontiff had invited the faithful to listen again to Evangelii Nuntiandi, the apostolic exhortation of St Paul VI that Pope Francis returned to define as "the magna charta of evangelisation in the contemporary world".
"Evangelisation is more than a simple doctrinal and moral transmission," he said, quoting Montini. "It is first and foremost a testimony of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, because contemporary man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, or if he listens to teachers he does so because they are witnesses.
Witness, however, also includes professed faith, "that is, the convinced and manifest adherence to God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, who out of love created and redeemed us. Each one of us,' Francis added, 'is called to answer three fundamental questions, formulated as follows by Paul VI: Do you believe what you proclaim? Do you live what you believe? Do you proclaim what you live?"
In this sense, witnessing an authentically Christian life involves a journey of holiness, based on our Baptism. But this must make us aware that "the recipients of evangelisation are not only others, those who profess other faiths or who profess none, but also ourselves, believers in Christ and active members of the People of God". Because even the Church "immersed in the world, and often tempted by idols, always needs to hear the great works of God proclaimed, which converted her to the Lord, and to be once again summoned and gathered by Him".
A Church "that evangelises itself in order to evangelise is a Church that, guided by the Holy Spirit, is called to walk a demanding path of continuous conversion and renewal," the Pope added.
In order to be "entirely turned to God, therefore a participant in his plan of salvation for humanity, and at the same time, entirely turned towards humanity. A Church - he concluded - that dialogically encounters the contemporary world, that weaves fraternal relationships, that generates spaces of encounter, implementing good practices of hospitality, welcome, recognition and integration of the other and of otherness, and that takes care of the common home that is creation".