Saturday, June 22, 2013

Address of Pope Francis to the Apostolic Nuncios (who select the bishops) – Friday June 21, 2013

In his third point, he said: There is always the danger, even for the men of the Church, to surrender to what I call, taking an expression from De Lubac, "spiritual worldliness": to surrender to the spirit of the world, which leads to action for self-fulfillment and not for the glory of God (cf. Meditation on the Church, Milan 1979, p. 269), in that sort of "bourgeoisie spirit and life" which leads people to settle and seek a peaceful and comfortable life. Speaking to Alumni of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy I remembered how for Blessed John XXIII, his service as a Papal Representative was one of the areas, and not secondary, in which his holiness took shape, and I quoted some passages from the Journal of a Soul relating to this long stretch of his ministry. He claimed to have increasingly understood that, for effectiveness of action, he had to continually prune the vineyard of his life from that which was merely useless foliage and go straight to the essentials, which is Christ and his Gospel, otherwise there was the risk of ridiculing a holy mission (Journal of a Soul, Cinisello Balsamo 2000, pp.. 513-514). These are strong but true words: giving in to worldly spirit exposes us Pastors to ridicule, perhaps we may be applauded by some, but those same people who seem to approve of us, then criticize us behind our backs.

We are pastors! And that we must not ever forget that! Dear Papal Representatives, be the presence of Christ, be a priestly presence, as Pastors.
Of course, you will not teach a particular portion of the People of God entrusted to you, you will not guide a local church, but you are Pastors who serve the Church, with the role to encourage, to be ministers of communion, and also with the not always easy task of reprimanding. Always do everything with deep love! Even in relations with the Civil Authorities and your Colleagues you are Pastors: always seek the good, the good of all, the good of the Church and of every person.

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