God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Lord’s apostles themselves enjoyed “favour with all the people” (Acts 2:47; 4:21, 33; 5:13). Mary is able to recognize the traces of God’s Spirit in events great and small. Our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love. The homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth.  Conférence Des Évêques De France, Conseil Famille et Société, Élargir le mariage aux personnes de même sexe? This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. Each culture and social group needs purification and growth. For all these we already have valuable texts of the magisterium and celebrated writings by great authors. The homily takes up once more the dialogue which the Lord has already established with his people. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. 276. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. With the Holy Spirit, Mary is always present in the midst of the people.  Closer to our own time, Benedict XVI, speaking about Latin America, pointed out that popular piety is “a precious treasure of the Catholic Church”, in which “we see the soul of the Latin American peoples”.. 39, a.  Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 52.  This task continues to be a source of immense joy for the Church: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts.  John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 41: AAS 83 (1991), 844-845.  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Inter Insigniores on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood (15 October 1976): AAS 68 (1977) 115, cited in John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), note 190: AAS 81 (1989), 493. Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence. 138. See the submissions guidelines and how to pitch here. Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (30 September 2010), 86-87: AAS 102 (2010), 757-760. The heart of its message will always be the same: the God who revealed his immense love in the crucified and risen Christ. Encountering such beauty, he will often feel that his life does not glorify God as it should, and he will sincerely desire to respond more fully to so great a love. The rise and growth of associations and movements mostly made up of young people can be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit, who blazes new trails to meet their expectations and their search for a deep spirituality and a more real sense of belonging. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013. Two hundred fifty years of slavery. In many places, the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism, linked to disillusionment and the crisis of ideologies which has come about as a reaction to any-thing which might appear totalitarian. While it is quite true that the essential vocation and mission of the lay faithful is to strive that earthly realities and all human activity may be transformed by the Gospel, none of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice: “Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the love of God and neighbour, zeal for justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are required of everyone”. The Lord himself, during his earthly life, often warned his disciples that there were things they could not yet understand and that they would have to await the Holy Spirit (cf. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. Realities are greater than ideas. Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. 241. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, we are distressed by the troubles of our age and far from naive optimism; yet the fact that we are more realistic must not mean that we are any less trusting in the Spirit or less generous. Wherever the disciples went, “there was great joy” (8:8); even amid persecution they continued to be “filled with joy” (13:52). Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”. 225. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Reading the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God.  In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers.  Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 380. Here our model is not the sphere, which is no greater than its parts, where every point is equidistant from the centre, and there are no differences between them. Social dialogue as a contribution to peace. We have spoken at length about joy and love, but the word of God also speaks about the fruit of peace (cf. Even if it is not always easy to approach young people, progress has been made in two areas: the awareness that the entire community is called to evangelize and educate the young, and the urgent need for the young to exercise greater leadership. 79. When properly understood, cultural diversity is not a threat to Church unity. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized. Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: Ù ØÙ ÙØ¯ Ø¯Ø±ÙÙØ´ â, romanized: Maá¸¥mÅ«d DarwÄ«sh, 13 March 1941 â 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences. Mk 2:16) without worrying about being thought a glutton and a drunkard himself (cf. To the extent that a charism is better directed to the heart of the Gospel, its exercise will be more ecclesial. Only the person who feels happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness, can be a missionary. Great is your faithfulness… It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26). It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality, but I do exhort all the communities to an “ever watchful scrutiny of the signs of the times”.  This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”. What calls us to action are realities illuminated by reason. The clothing for Adlonâs Frankie, who represents air, was the most chaotic. In place of a melody, I heard her occasional groans and sighs… I cannot express what took place in my soul. How good it is to have this law! Seeing their poverty, hearing their cries and knowing their sufferings, we are scandalized because we know that there is enough food for everyone and that hunger is the result of a poor distribution of goods and income. Moreover, pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on a journey of openness to God must always remember what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”. Saint Paul’s exhortation is directed to each of us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. It must be one that people understand, lest we risk speaking to a void. I want to be completely honest in this regard. 150. The apostle James teaches that our mercy to others will vindicate us on the day of God’s judgment: “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  To make this missionary impulse ever more focused, generous and fruitful, I encourage each particular Church to undertake a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform. The word of God constantly shows us how God challenges those who believe in him “to go forth”. It is impossible to persevere in a fervent evangelization unless we are convinced from personal experience that it is not the same thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it, and not the same thing to contemplate him, to worship him, to find our peace in him, as not to. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith. 263. , 26. The causes of this breakdown include: a lack of opportunity for dialogue in families, the influence of the communications media, a relativistic subjectivism, unbridled consumerism which feeds the market, lack of pastoral care among the poor, the failure of our institutions to be welcoming, and our difficulty in restoring a mystical adherence to the faith in a pluralistic religious landscape. John Paul II asked us to recognize that “there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel” to those who are far from Christ, “because this is the first task of the Church”. All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma, which is reflected in and constantly illumines, the work of catechesis, thereby enabling us to understand more fully the significance of every subject which the latter treats. 11. The history of the Church shows that Christianity does not have simply one cultural expression, but rather, “remaining completely true to itself, with unswerving fidelity to the proclamation of the Gospel and the tradition of the Church, it will also reflect the different faces of the cultures and peoples in which it is received and takes root”. Hence the need for “a pedagogy which will introduce people step by step to the full appropriation of the mystery”. I simply wish to offer some thoughts about the spirit of the new evangelization. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. At the foot of the cross, at the supreme hour of the new creation, Christ led us to Mary. Works of love directed to one’s neighbour are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit: “The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is manifested in the faith which works through love”. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Means of Social Communication Inter Mirifica, 6. At the other extreme, they turn into a museum of local folklore, a world apart, doomed to doing the same things over and over, and incapable of being challenged by novelty or appreciating the beauty which God bestows beyond their borders. Frequently they bring a new evangelizing fervour and a new capacity for dialogue with the world whereby the Church is renewed. As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God (cf. If it seems prudent and if the circumstances are right, this fraternal and missionary encounter could end with a brief prayer related to the concerns which the person may have expressed. 86. The difference between enlightening people with a synthesis and doing so with detached ideas is like the difference between boredom and heartfelt fervour. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards! The principle of reality, of a word already made flesh and constantly striving to take flesh anew, is essential to evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others? So a third principle comes into play: realities are greater than ideas. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries.  Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. 249. "We want to embolden their voice to empower change.â  John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 10: AAS 84 (1992), 673. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear. 274. Popular piety itself can be the starting point for healing and liberation from these deficiencies. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right. 125. Fundamentally it is a “spiritual sensitivity for reading God’s message in events”, and this is much more than simply finding something interesting to say.  To speak properly of our own rights, we need to broaden our perspective and to hear the plea of other peoples and other regions than those of our own country. The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. There are other doors that should not be closed either. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Jn 15:5).  Indeed, a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops.  Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (14 May 1971), 23: AAS 63 (1971), 418.  Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 76: AAS 68 (1976), 68. Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. Casual indifference in the face of such questions empties our lives and our words of all meaning. Propositio 6; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22. Some of them were ordinary people who were close to us and introduced us to the life of faith: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Tim 1:5). The common good and peace in society [217-237], Time is greater than space [222-225] Unity prevails over conflict [226-230] Realities are more important than ideas [231-233] The whole is greater than the part [234-237], IV.  These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. He exhorts those who dwell on Zion to go forth to meet him with song: “Shout aloud and sing for joy!” (12:6). This is often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness. We should not think, however, that the Gospel message must always be communicated by fixed formulations learned by heart or by specific words which express an absolutely invariable content.  Benedict XVI, Address to the Brazilian Bishops in the Cathedral of São Paulo, Brazil (11 May 2007), 3: AAS 99 (2007), 428.  Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it. 197. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service.  Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 4.  This warning, issued many centuries ago, is most timely today. And so the biggest threat of all gradually takes shape: “the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small-mindedness”. Rom 5:5). 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