Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Church of “saints, not worldly”, two reflections from Francis

Francis gave the members of the Synod a volume that is now published in the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and combines two of his speeches, a 1991 article “Corruption and Sin” that was republished in 2005 when he archbishop of Buenos Aires, and one from this year, the “Letter to the priests of the diocese of Rome”: the invitation is to “remain vigilant and fight, with the strength of prayer, any surrender to the spiritual mundane. ”


The Christian faith is a struggle, an internal battle to overcome the temptation to close ourselves to ourselves and allow ourselves to be inhabited by the love of a Father who desires our happiness. It is a beautiful struggle because, if we let the Lord win, our hearts will rejoice in perfection and our lives will be illuminated with a ray of eternity.

The struggle we fight as followers of Jesus is, above all, against the spiritual worldliness, which is paganism disguised in ecclesiastical clothing. Although it is covered under a sacred appearance, it is an attitude that ends up being idolatrous, because it does not recognize the presence of God as the Lord and savior of our lives and the history of the world. Meanwhile, it leaves us at the mercy of our whims and desires.

Therefore, we must fight. But ours is not a futile or hopeless struggle, because that struggle already has a winner: Jesus, who defeated the power of sin through his death. And in his resurrection he gave us the possibility to become new people.

Of course, the victory of Jesus has a name, the cross, which at first sight creates rejection and scares us. But he is the sign of love that is infinite, humble and strong. Jesus loves us to death as shameful as death on the cross, so that we will never doubt again that his arms will remain open even to the end of sinners. And this eternal love challenges and guides the paths of the Christian and the Church itself. The cross of Jesus becomes the standard for every choice of faith.

Blessed Pierre Claverie, bishop of Oran, expressed this in one of his homilies with very beautiful words that I would like to quote here: «I believe that the Church will die if it is not close to the cross of its Lord. Despite the contradiction, the strength, the vitality, the Christian hope, the fruitfulness of the Church comes from there. Not from anywhere. All that remains is nothing more than a dream, a worldly illusion. The Church deceives itself, and deceives the world, when it presents itself as a power among others, as a humanitarian organization or as an evangelical movement capable of putting on a show. He may shine, but not burn with the fire of God’s love, “strong as death,” as the Song of Songs says.

Precisely for this reason I want to collect in this small volume two texts published at different times: one, written in 1991 and published again in 2005, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, dedicated to corruption and sin; the other, an Epistle to the Roman priests. What unites them? The concern, which I feel is a strong call from God to the whole Church, to remain vigilant and fight, with the strength of prayer, against any surrender to the spiritual mundane.

This fight has a name: it is called holiness. Holiness is not a state of blessedness achieved once and for all, but the unceasing and unbreakable desire to remain united to the cross of Jesus, allowing ourselves to be formed by the logic that comes from offering self and resistance to the enemy, who It flatters to instill in us the conviction of our contentment. Instead, it will help us to remember what Jesus told us: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Therefore, holiness remains open to the “more” that God asks of us and that is seen in our unity in everyday life. Father Alfred Delp wrote: “God embraces us in truth.” Here, in our daily life, where we must give place to the Lord who saves us from our self-satisfaction, and who asks us for the magi mentioned by St. Ignatius of Loyola, that “more” that drives us towards a happiness that is not ephemeral, but full and peaceful.

I offer the reader these texts as an opportunity to reflect on one’s own life and the Church in the conviction that God asks us to be open to his newness, asks us not to be restless and dissatisfied, searching and never settling. of laughs. ., not rooted in false security, but in the path of holiness.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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