Pope Francis says "Please always leave an important place for the Word of God...And also give space to prayer, to interiority, to adoration." FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE DELEGATION OF THE MOVEMENT OF CATHOLIC ACTION OF FRANCE
Sala Clementina - Thursday, 13 January 2022
Dear brothers and sisters!
I greet you all with affection and I thank Monsignor Fonlupt for his kind words. I am happy to welcome you on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome. I also want to greet, through you, all the members of the Catholic Action teams in France, and I ask you to assure them of my prayers and also of my closeness.
It is an ancient habit of your movements to come and meet the Pope. As early as 1929 Pius XI had received some representatives of Catholic Action and had greeted in that movement "the renewal and continuation of what was in the first days of Christianity, for the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, […] in the cooperation of the laity with the Apostles ”(June 12, 1929). You have chosen "Apostles today" as the theme of your pilgrimage. I would like to reflect with you on our call to be effectively apostles today, starting from the intuition that left you one of the great figures of Catholic Action, Abbé Cardijn, that is, the "revision of life". When the disciples walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus ( cf.Lk24: 18-35), they begin by recalling the events they experienced; then they recognize the presence of God in those events; finally, they act by returning to Jerusalem to announce the resurrection of Christ. See, judge, act : you know these three words well! Let's take them back together.
See . This first stage is basic; it consists in stopping to observe the events that make up our life, what constitutes our history, our family, cultural and Christian roots. The pedagogy of Catholic Action always begins with a moment of memory, in the strongest sense of the term: an "anamnesis", that is to say, understanding with hindsight the meaning of what one is and what one has lived, and to perceive how God was present at every moment. The subtlety and delicacy of the Lord's action in our life sometimes prevents us from understanding it in the moment, and it takes this distance to grasp its consistency. The Encyclical Brothers All, which your groups have studied, begins with a look at the sometimes worrying situation of our world. It may seem a bit pessimistic, but it is necessary to move forward: "Without memory one never moves forward, one cannot grow without an intact and luminous memory" ( n. 249 ).
The second stage is to judge or, one might say, to discern . It is the moment in which we allow ourselves to be questioned, questioned. The key to this stage is the reference to Sacred Scripture. It is a question of accepting that one's life has passed to the scrutiny of the Word of God, which, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, “is alive, effective and sharper than any double-edged sword; […] It discerns the feelings and thoughts of the heart "(4:12). In Brothers allI have chosen the parable of the Good Samaritan to question our relationship with the world, with others, especially with the poorest. In the encounter between the events of the world and of our life, on the one hand, and the Word of God, on the other, we can discern the appeals that the Lord addresses to us. Your Catholic Action movements have developed, in their history, true synodal practices, especially in group life, which forms the basis of your experience. The Church as a whole is also embarked on a synodal process, and I count on your contribution. In this regard, let us remember that synodality is not a simple discussion. It is not an "adjective". Never adjective the substantiality of life. Synodality is not even the search for the consensus of the majority, this is done by a parliament, as is done in politics. It is not a plan, a program to be implemented. No. It is a style to be assumed, in which the main protagonist is the Holy Spirit, who is expressed above all in the Word of God, read, meditated on, shared together. Let's take the concrete image of the cross: it has a vertical arm and a horizontal arm. The horizontal arm is our life, our history, our humanity. The vertical arm is the Lord who comes to visit us with his Word and his Spirit, to give meaning to what we live. Being fixed on the cross of Jesus, as Saint Paul says (cf. it has a vertical arm and a horizontal arm. The horizontal arm is our life, our history, our humanity. The vertical arm is the Lord who comes to visit us with his Word and his Spirit, to give meaning to what we live. Being fixed on the cross of Jesus, as Saint Paul says (cf. it has a vertical arm and a horizontal arm. The horizontal arm is our life, our history, our humanity. The vertical arm is the Lord who comes to visit us with his Word and his Spirit, to give meaning to what we live. Being fixed on the cross of Jesus, as Saint Paul says (cf.Gal 2:19), it really means accepting to put my life under his gaze, accepting this encounter between my poor humanity and his transforming divinity. Please always leave an important place for the Word of God in the life of your groups. And also give space to prayer, to interiority, to adoration.
And we come to the third stage: to act . The Gospel teaches us that action - which is in the very name of your movement - should always have the initiative of God. After the resurrection, St. Mark reports that "the Lord acted together with [the Apostles] and confirmed the Word with the signs that accompanied it "(16:20). Thus, "action belongs to the Lord: it is He who has the exclusive right, walking" incognito "in the history we live in" ( Speech to the Italian Catholic Action, April 30, 2021). Our role therefore consists in supporting and favoring God's action in hearts, adapting to the constantly evolving reality. The people your movements reach - I am thinking in particular of young people - are not the same as a few years ago. Today, especially in Europe, those who frequent Christian movements are more skeptical of institutions, they seek less demanding and more ephemeral relationships. They are more sensitive to affectivity, and therefore more vulnerable, more fragile than previous generations, less rooted in faith, but nevertheless in search of meaning, of truth, no less generous. It is your mission, as Catholic Action, to reach them as they are, to make them grow in the love of Christ and of neighbor, and lead them to a greater concrete commitment,
Thank you, dear friends, heartfelt thanks for your generous service, which the Church needs more than ever, in this time when I so much hope that everyone will find or rediscover the joy of knowing the friendship of Christ and of proclaiming the Gospel. . I ask you to take me in your prayers. I entrust you, the leaders, as well as all the members of your teams , to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, and I give you my blessing.
Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot - Unofficial Translation from Italian