TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING PROMOTED BY THE
FAMILIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, 30 June 2018
Dear brothers and sisters,
On the eve of the month of July, in which Christian piety addresses the Blood of Christ in a special way, I am pleased to meet the Societies of Apostolic Life and the male and female religious Institutes, with their respective lay associations, which are inspired by spirituality of the Blood of Jesus. I greet you all with affection and I thank Father Terenzio Pastore and Sister Nicla Spezzati for the words with which they introduced this meeting, promoted by the Unione Sanguis Christi.
Since the beginnings of Christianity, the mystery of love of the Blood of Christ has fascinated many people. Even your Founding and Founding Saints have cultivated this devotion, placing it at the foundation of your Constitutions, because they have understood in the light of faith that the Blood of Christ is the source of salvation for the world. God has chosen the sign of blood, because no other sign is so eloquent to express the supreme love of life given to others. This gift is repeated in every Eucharistic celebration, in which it is made present, together with the Body of Christ, its precious Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant, poured out for all in remission of sins (cf. Mt 26,27).
The meditation of the sacrifice of Christ leads us to do works of mercy, giving our life for God and the brothers without saving. Meditation of the mystery of the Blood of Christ poured out on the cross for our redemption urges us, in particular, towards those who could be cured in their moral and physical suffering and are instead left to languish on the margins of a society of consumption and indifference. It is in this perspective that your service to the Church and to society is highlighted in all its importance. For my part, I suggest three aspects that can help you in your activity and in your testimony: the courage of truth; attention to everyone, especially to those who are far away; the ability to fascinate and communicate.
The courage of the truth. It is important to be brave people, build courageous communities that are not afraid to stand up to affirm the values of the Gospel and the truth about the world and man. It is a matter of speaking plainly and not turning away from the other side in the face of attacks on the value of human life from conception to its natural sunset, facing the dignity of the human person, facing social ills, in the face of the various forms of poverty. The testimony of the disciples of Jesus is called to touch the lives of the parishes and neighborhoods, not to leave indifferent but to affect, transforming the hearts and lives of people.
The second aspect is attention to everyone, especially to those who are far away. In your mission you are called to reach out to everyone, to make you understand by everyone, to be "popular" using a language through which everyone can understand the message of the Gospel. The recipients of the love and goodness of Jesus are all: the neighbors, but above all the distant ones. Therefore, we need to identify the most suitable forms to be able to bring together a multiplicity of people in homes, in social environments and in the street. To do this, you have before you the example of Jesus and of the disciples who walked the streets of Palestine announcing the Kingdom of God with so many signs of healing that confirmed the Word. Strive to be an image of a Church that walks the street, among the people, even risking in the first person, sharing the joys and hardships of those you meet.
The third aspect that I suggest for your testimony is the ability to fascinate and communicate. It is aimed especially at preaching, catechesis, and the itineraries for deepening the Word of God. It is a matter of arousing greater and greater involvement in offering and making the contents of the Christian faith savor, urging us to a new life in Christ. The Gospel and the Holy Spirit evoke words and gestures that make hearts burn and help them to open themselves to God and to others. For this ministry of the Word, we can draw inspiration from the attitude with which Jesus dialogued with people to reveal his mystery to everyone, to fascinate ordinary people with high and demanding teachings. The strength of this attitude is hidden "in that gaze of Jesus towards the people, beyond its weaknesses and falls:" Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has liked to give you the Kingdom "(Lk 12.32 ) "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 141). Imitating the style with which Jesus preached, helps us to approach others by making them perceive the tenderness of God. I believe that we live a time in which it is necessary to carry forward the revolution of tenderness.
Here are three features that can be useful for your journey of faith and your apostolate. But let us not forget that the true strength of Christian witness comes from the Gospel itself. And this is where the centrality of the Blood of Christ and its spirituality emerges. It is a matter of relying above all on the "superabundance of love" expressed in the Blood of the Lord, which brought to light the Church Fathers and the great saints and mystics of Christian history, from Saint Bonaventure to Saint Catherine of Siena, up to a Saint especially dear to you: San Gaspare del Bufalo. This Roman priest, founder of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, endeavored to keep alive the ardor of faith in the Christian people by traveling through the regions of central Italy. With the example of his love for God, his humility, his charity, he was able to bring reconciliation and peace everywhere, meeting the spiritual and material needs of the most fragile people who lived on the margins of society. Dear brothers and sisters, it is in Christ that we find the sure principle of our existence: He is our fundamental and definitive hope. In the journey of your communities, priority goes to prayer, to listening to the Word of God, to contemplation, and to docile obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Communion and collaboration grow among you, indispensable conditions for the apostolic mandate received from the Lord to bring abundant spiritual fruits for the benefit of the whole people of God. I accompany these wishes with my prayerful remembrance for you and your mission and, As I ask you to pray for me, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you.