Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I could not resist repeating this from pre-Francis Bergoglio: "A certainty of faith that is not ideology, exaggerated moralism, existential security... but the living and irreplaceable encounter with a person, with an event, with the living presence of Jesus of Nazareth."

"Look once and a thousand times to the Virgin Mary.  May she intercede with her Son that he might inspire the appropriate gesture and word that will allow you to make Catechesis a Good News for everyone, always keeping in mind that “the Church grows, not by proselytism but by attraction.”

"Be aware of the difficulties.  We are in a very odd moment of our history, including the history of our country.  The recent National Catechists Congress held in Morón was very realistic in pointing out the difficulties in handing on the Faith in these times of so many cultural changes.  Perhaps on more than one occasion weariness may defeat you, uncertainty may confuse you and even lead you to think that the faith cannot be presented today, and that we should be content just to transmit values....

"For this very reason, our Pope Benedict XVI invites us to enter together through the door of faith.  To renew our faith and in the faith of the Church to follow, doing what she knows how to do in the midst of lights and shadows.  This is a task that does not originate in a strategy of conservation, but rather is rooted in a command of our Lord that gives us our identity, relevance, and meaning.  Mission springs from a certainty of faith.  From that certainty which, in the form of kerygma, the Church has been handing on to human beings over the course of two thousand years.

"A certainty of faith that coexists with the thousand questions of a pilgrim.  A certainty of faith that is not ideology, exaggerated moralism, existential security... but the living and irreplaceable encounter with a person, with an event, with the living presence of Jesus of Nazareth.

"Therefore I urge you: live this ministry with passion, with enthusiasm.

"The word enthusiasm (ενθουσιασμóς) has its roots in the Greek “en-theos”, that is to say: “that bears a god within.”  This term means that, when we allow ourselves to be led by enthusiasm, a divine inspiration enters into us and makes use of our person to manifest itself.  Enthusiasm is the experience of a “God active within me” so as to be guided by his power and wisdom.  It also implies the uplifting of the mind to something that inspires interest, joy, and admiration, provoked by a strong interior motivation.  It is expressed as passion, fervor, boldness, and determination.  It is opposed to discouragement, disinterest, apathy, coldness, and disappointment.

"The “God active within” us is the gift that Jesus gave us on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit:  “I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49).  In this way what was announced by the prophets is fulfilled: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you” (Ezek 36:26-27).  (Argentine Episcopal Conference, Pastor Guidelines for 2012-2015)

"We know that the enthusiasm, the fervor to which the Lord calls us cannot be the result of a movement of our will or a simple change of mind.  It is a grace ... an interior renewal, a profound transformation that is founded and relies on a Presence, who one day will call us to follow him and who today, once again, becomes for us a way, so as to transform our fears into ardor, our sadness into joy, our confinement into new visitations....

"While thanking you from my heart for all that you do as a catechist, for your time and your dedication, I ask the Lord to give you an open mind, so as to recreate dialogue and encounter among those whom God entrusts to you, and a believing heart so as to follow, exclaiming that He is alive and loves us as no one else does.  I have a picture of Mary Help of Christians that says, “You who believed, help me!”  May she help us to follow by being faithful to the Lord’s call....

"Do not stop praying for me that I may be a good catechist.  May Jesus bless you and may the Blessed Virgin take care of you."


Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.

Buenos Aires, August 21, 2012

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