SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE LEADERS OF
CHARISMATIC CATHOLIC RENEWAL
(CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL INTERNATIONAL SERVICE - CHARIS)
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, 8 June 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I like how some people greet each other at this Easter time. They do not say: "Good morning" or "Good evening", they say: "Jesus is risen". We greet each other like this: "Jesus ..." [everyone answers: "He is risen"].
Yes, Jesus is alive! Thank you because you remember that I like this initial song that you sang.
On this solemnity of Pentecost a new stage begins in the journey begun by the Charismatic Renewal 52 years ago. Charismatic Renewal which developed in the Church by the will of God and which, to paraphrase Saint Paul VI, "is an opportunity for the Church" (cf. Address to the participants in the III International Congress of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 19 May 1975, Pentecost).
Today, on behalf of the Church, I thank ICCRS and the Catholic Fraternity for the mission accomplished in these thirty years. You have paved the way and made it possible, with your loyalty, that CHARIS is a reality today. Thank you!
Thanks also to the team of four that I have charged with the implementation of this new unique service; and to the Department for the Laity, the Family and Life, in the person of Cardinal Farrell, who accompanied you.
Today something ends and another begins: a new stage begins on this journey. A stage marked by the communion among all the members of the charismatic family, in which the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested for the good of the whole Church; in which this Presence makes everyone equal, because all and each are born of the same Spirit; large and small, rich in years and newborn, engaged on a universal or rather local level, they form the whole, which is always superior to the part.
New and unique communion service
Let's go towards unity: this is the path of the Spirit.
New. As I told you at the Circus Maximus, the new can destabilize. At the beginning there is a feeling of insecurity about the changes that the new can bring: sometimes one prefers to remain in one's own, and detaches from the unity. And this is a temptation of the devil: every time someone hears: "No, mine is more than that", and "I prefer the old to the new", there is the devil, because he detaches me from unity. A certain fear of the new is human - yes, it is true - but it is not the case of spiritual people: "I make all things new", says the Lord in the book of Revelation (21.5). Our God is the God of novelties. The novelties of God are always of blessing, because they proceed from his loving heart. The temptation to say is always present: "We are fine as we are, things are going well, why change? Let us leave them as they are, that we know how to do it ". This thought does not come from the Spirit, at least not from the Holy Spirit, perhaps from the spirit of the world ... Do not fall into this error. "I make all things new," says the Lord.
New and Unique. A service for all the charismatic realities that the Spirit has raised in the world. Not an organism that serves some reality and another organism that serves other realities and a third ..., and so on. No: single.
Service. Not government. Sometimes it happens that in human associations, both secular and religious, there is the temptation to always go looking for personal profits. And the ambition to be seen, to direct money ... Always like that. Thus corruption enters. No: service, always service. Service does not mean "pocket" - the devil enters from the pockets -; service means giving: giving, giving oneself.
Communion. All with one heart turned to the Father to give witness of unity in diversity. Diversity of charisms that the Spirit has aroused in these 52 years. "Stretch the strings of the tent", as Isaiah 54 says (see verse 2), so that all the members of the same family may be there. A family where there is only one God the Father, one Lord Jesus Christ and one life-giving Spirit. A family in which one member is not more important than the other, neither by age, nor by intelligence, nor by his abilities, because they are all loved children of the same Father. The example of the body that St. Paul gives us is very eloquent in this sense (see 1 Cor 12: 12-26). The body needs, one member needs the other. All together.
I have seen that in the International Service of Communion there is a representative of the young people. Is he present here? Congratulations! I welcome it! Young people are the future of the Church, it is true, but they are the present: I am present and future in the Church. I am glad that you have given them the visibility and the responsibility that is their responsibility, to see the present with other eyes and look at the future with you.
I also learned that CHARIS now owns the rights to publish the Malines Documents. The president gave me the Spanish version, thank you! Good thing. Make them known! I have told you on several occasions that I am the "accompanying document", the compass of the current of grace.
You asked me to tell you what the Pope and the Church expect from this new service, from Charis and from all the Charismatic Renewal. I jokingly say: what the Pope expects from "spiritualists". [they laugh] What the Pope expects from you:
- May this movement share Baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church. It is the grace that you have received. Share it! Don't keep it for yourself!
- That serves the unity of the body of Christ which is the Church, a community of believers in Jesus Christ. This is very important because the Holy Spirit is the One who makes unity in the Church, but it is also what makes diversity. The personality of the Holy Spirit is interesting: he makes the greatest diversity with the charisms, but then he makes these charisms, in harmony, find themselves in unity. Because, as St. Basil says, "the Holy Spirit is harmony", which gives harmony, in the Trinity, and also between us.
- And to serve the poor, the most needy of every need, physical and spiritual. This does not mean that, as some may think, the Renewal has now become communist. No, he became an evangelical, this is in the Gospel.
These three things: Baptism in the Holy Spirit, unity of the Body of Christ and service to the poor, are the necessary testimony for the evangelization of the world, to which we are all called for our Baptism. Evangelization that is not proselytism but mainly witness. Testimony of love: "look how they love each other", is what attracted the attention of those who met the first Christians. "Look how they love each other". Sometimes, in many communities, we can say: "Look how badly they are!", And this does not come from the Holy Spirit. "Look how they love each other". To evangelize is to love. Sharing God's love for every human being. Organizations can be made to evangelize, programs can be planned and studied with care, but if there is no love, if there is no community, it serves no purpose! "Look how they love each other". This is the community: in the Second Letter of John there is a warning, a warning, in verse 9. It says: "Be careful because those who go beyond the community are not of the good spirit". Perhaps someone will have this temptation: "No, let's do an organization like this, so ...; let's do a building like that, or that other thing ... ". Love first. With ideology, with only methodology, this is excess, going beyond the communities, and John said: "This is the spirit of the world, it is not the Spirit of God". "Look how they love each other".
Charismatic renewal, current of grace of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of this love! And please pray for me.
Now, I would like to anticipate 25 minutes - then, if you want, do it yourself - but I would like to do it with you: 25 minutes ahead of the act that today is made throughout the Church, a minute of silence for peace. Why? Because today is the anniversary, the fifth anniversary of the meeting here at the Vatican of the Presidents of the State of Palestine and the State of Israel. We have prayed together for peace, and all over the world today we will have a minute of silence at 13.00. We do it now, before the Blessing, all together, standing.
Thank you, and let a Renewal community be silent, it's almost heroic! [laugh] Thanks!
Now I give you the Blessing.
Christ is risen!