Pope Francis says Peace "Bridges are built starting from there, from prayer of intercession: day by day, knocking insistently at the heart of Christ..."

Hall of the Consistory
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank the Rector for his introductory words; also for this Rosary program, thank you, because it gives me strength.
I would like to share with you some reflections starting from the testimony of your patron, St. John of Nepomuk. There is a strong root there, a root that is always alive, capable of nourishing the present and the future of your community, as it did in its past.
It is always striking that he was killed because he wanted to remain faithful to the secret of Confession. This is touching. He said "no" to the king to confirm his "yes" to Christ and the Church. And this suggests what so many priests, so many bishops have had to endure in the course of history under various authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. You have experienced this in your history. For your College this happened during the forty years following the Second World War.

And today I pay homage with you to the memory of many priests and bishops, consecrated and consecrated, and also many lay people, who, with the grace of God, had the courage to say "no" to the regime in order to remain faithful to their vocation and mission. . This multitude of hidden martyrs, which we do not know. Behind your life, your history, there are martyrs.
This root of evangelical courage and firmness - which goes back to your patron saint - must never become for you like a tombstone to put on the wall, like a museum object, like a picture, no, it must remain a living root, because even today we need its lymph! Even today, in Europe and in every part of the world, being Christians, and in particular being ministers of the Church, consecrated and consecrated, requires saying "no" to the powers of this world in order to confirm the "yes" to the Gospel. Sometimes they are political powers, sometimes they are ideological and cultural and their conditioning is more subtle, it passes through the media, which can exert pressure, discredit, blackmail, isolate and so on, or, worse still, bring you to live in worldliness. Beware of spiritual worldliness, which is the worst that can happen to the Church, the worst that can happen to a consecrated man, to a woman. Beware of worldly living, with worldly criteria.
The testimony of St. John of Nepomuk reminds us, today more than ever, of the primacy of conscience over any worldly power; the primacy of the human person, his inalienable dignity, which has its own center in the conscience, understood not in a purely psychological sense, but in its fullness, as openness to the transcendent. I hope that the Pontifical College that bears the name of the great Bohemian priest and martyr will always be a home and school of freedom, interior freedom, founded on the relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit. A freedom that is also manifested in the sense of humor, as demonstrated for example by Father Spidlik - whom I knew so well, I knew him closely - who for many years carried out his ministry in your College, with that sense of the humor that he was able to laugh in any situation, and even at himself. A great!
The Rector offered another food for thought, recalling that St. John of Nepomuk is the protector of bridges, he, who was thrown into the Vltava from the Charles Bridge in Prague and thus crowned his testimony. An appropriate way to honor his memory is then to try, in concrete life, to build bridges where there are divisions, distances, misunderstandings. Indeed, to be ourselves bridges, humble and courageous instruments of encounter, of dialogue between different and opposing people and groups. This is a trait that belongs to the identity of the minister of Christ, as demonstrated by the biographies of many holy priests and bishops, who in situations of conflict have been operators of peace and reconciliation. But this is even better done by women: to build bridges, because a woman knows better than we men how to build bridges. And you [to the women present], teach them how to build bridges!
This - as you well know - is not done without prayer. Bridges are built starting from there, from prayer of intercession: day by day, knocking insistently at the heart of Christ, the foundations are laid so that two distant and enemy shores can return to communicate. In this regard I would like to recall a meditation by Cardinal Martini, entitled "A cry of intercession", pronounced in January 1991, at the time of the Gulf War. Today, while the war is raging in Ukraine, that homily is very topical. In particular, I underline a passage on intercessory prayer, where it says: “Intercession means putting yourself where the conflict takes place, between the two parties in conflict. […] It is the gesture of Jesus Christ on the cross ».
And here we touch the central point: Jesus Christ is the bridge and He is the pontiff. He is our peace, it is He who has broken down and breaks down the walls of enmity (cf. Eph 2:14). And it is to him that we must always guide and attract people, families, communities. This is what we do at the central moment of each of our days, when we celebrate Mass. We cannot and must not be at the center, but He! Let's escape the temptation of worldly protagonism. Please, the Lord wants us all servants, brothers and sisters, not prima donnas or first actors, not protagonists, and sometimes protagonists of sad stories and mediocre stories. No. The Lord wants us to be fighters. Let us flee the temptation of this worldly protagonism, which often deceives us by dressing itself up with noble causes. For each of us the motto of John the Baptist always applies: «He must grow; I, on the other hand, decrease "(Jn 3:30).
Dear brothers and sisters, today the Nepomuk College hosts, in addition to priests from the Czech Republic, others from various countries, including African and Asian ones. It is a sign of the times that is found in various Roman Colleges, increasingly formed by mixed communities, no longer national but international. And this reality, which depends on the decrease in European presences, can become, if well managed, a human and formative wealth. In this diversity you can better practice being "bridges", servants of the culture of encounter, capable of grasping in the other the peculiar originality and at the same time the common humanity.
I thank you for this visit. May the Lord always bless your community and may Our Lady accompany it. I cordially bless you all. And thank you for this gift of the Rosary; but, after this, continue to pray for me! Because this job is not easy. Thank you!
Source: Vatican .va