Pope Francis Explains "The Spirit, who dwells in us, protects us from inner aging, makes us courageous to bring the Gospel to everyone..." FULL TEXT

Hall of the Consistory
Friday, October 14, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank Archbishop Denis Jachiet for his words. I am happy to welcome you, members of the French-speaking Catholic communities in the world, accompanied by my brother Bishops, whom I greet and thank from my heart. Together you have organized this meeting on the occasion of your Pastoral Days. Your communities unite the French speakers who, living abroad, seek to share fraternity to live together the joy of the Gospel. I thank you for coming and I extend my greeting to all the French speakers who belong to your communities.
These Pastoral Formation Days that you spend in Rome, reflecting together on the synodal process of the Church, are a sign of communion: communion of your local communities with the Dioceses in which you are; communion with the Church in France; and communion with the Pope and the universal Church. I would like to share with you some ideas taken from the Word of God and in tune with this study of yours on synodality in the Church.
The first thing I notice is that the disciples of Jesus, after his Ascension, began to gather in the Upper Room. They are all united "with one heart" (cf. Acts 1:14). We too are called to meet and remain united, and to turn to others, to allow ourselves to be challenged by the questions of our brothers, to help each other and enrich us in the diversity of charisms, vocations and ministries. Strengthened by our cultural diversity, by the differences in approach to faith, we become experts in the art of encounter. And this is very important: the art of meeting. You have the great opportunity to be able to experience it in the countries where you are. With local Christians you are called to form one heart, to be a community not closed in on itself in sterile isolation, but as an active part of the local Church. Meeting faces, meeting eyes, sharing the story of each one: this is the closeness of Jesus that we are called to live. An encounter can change a life. And the Gospel is full of these encounters with Jesus that uplift and heal. The meeting requires openness, courage, willingness to let oneself be challenged by the story of the other. The encounter transforms us and always opens up new paths that we had not imagined. It turns out very quickly when you live abroad!
In the account of the Acts of the Apostles, it is also important to note that the disciples gather to pray assiduously: prayer, which we neglect too often and which is necessary to listen to what the Spirit wants to say to the Church. The Synod is a journey of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, which is accomplished above all in adoration, in prayer, in contact with the Word of God, and not starting from our will, our ideas or our projects. Synodality presupposes listening: we must develop listening in the Church. This is how God shows us the way to follow, making us get out of our habits, calling us to take new paths like Abraham. We need to listen to God speaking to us, and not just to hear him distractedly. Because the Word of God is "alive, effective and sharper than any double-edged sword" (Heb 4:12). It is listening to his Word that opens us to discernment and enlightens us. If it is not at the heart and basis of synodality, we risk reducing this time of grace to yet another ecclesial meeting, or to a study interview, or to a kind of parliament.
The Synod is not a parliament, mind you, it is another thing. Why isn't it a parliament? Because the most important person at the Synod is the Holy Spirit. We speak, but it is not a parliament. The Synod is a moment of grace, a process guided by the Spirit who makes all things new, which frees us from worldliness, from our closures, from our repetitive pastoral schemes and from fear. He calls us to ask ourselves what God wants to tell us in this time, today, and the direction in which he wishes to lead us. Today, God, what are you saying to me? Today, not yesterday, today. Don't be "backward": go back to yesterday. No, today, looking to the future.
Finally - says the story - "while the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled [...] all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, in the way in which the Spirit gave them the power to express themselves" (Acts 2: 1.4) . The action of the Spirit frees disciples paralyzed by fear. Overcomes their human resistance. It dilates and opens their hearts. It is this change of hearts that will allow us to change the world, to renew the face of the Church. The Spirit, who dwells in us, protects us from inner aging, makes us courageous to bring the Gospel to everyone, in an ever new way. We Christians cannot be satisfied with being enlightened and inflamed by the Spirit, enriched with his gifts, without feeling called to communicate this fire, to bear witness to the "wonders of God" (Acts 2:11) in our lives, with the quality of our encounters , of our listening and of our brotherly love. This is what the apostles did on the day of Pentecost: it was a total disorder, no one understood anything, it was all a disorder ... But who was the author of the disorder? The spirit. To then draw harmony from disorder. It is curious: the harmony of the Spirit is not a logic, no, it does what it did on the day of Pentecost, no one understood anything. And then they all went into this new harmony. Dear friends, I thank you for coming and I encourage you to continue walking together every day, all united, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to be an outgoing Church, which is not afraid to go towards the stranger, towards the brother who waits for us to bring him the Good News of God's merciful love for every man: God's message. And all of you, present here, take advantage of what is given to you to live in contact with other cultures, with other brothers from various parts of world. Your experience and your meetings will enrich the synodal movement of the whole Church. I entrust all of you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, so that she may lead us ever more to an encounter with Christ and keep us united in the Church under her maternal mantle; we ask her, Mother of all, to guide our path. I bless you all from my heart. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va with Screenshot