VATICAN - Pope Francis: Only the real encounter with Jesus frees us from the temptation to "make faith a theory"

Friday, 15 March 2024 pope francis   evangelization   faith   catechism   sanctuaries  

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - In order to be transmitted, faith in the risen Lord, requires "significant experience lived within the family and the Christian community as an encounter with Jesus Christ who changes life", said Pope Francis today, in his address to Superiors, Members and Consultors of the Dicastery for Evangelization - Section for the fundamental questions - gathered in plenary assembly in the Vatican. Without this encounter with Jesus, "real and existential", added the Bishop of Rome, "we will always be subject to the temptation to make faith a theory and not a testimony of life".
In his address to the Members of of the Dicastery for Evangelization – Section for the fundamental questions, Pope Francis started from a realistic recognition of the "condition in which several local Churches find themselves, where the secularism of past decades has created enormous difficulties: from the loss of a sense of belonging to the Christian community, to indifference regarding faith and its content. They are serious problems", the Pontiff acknowledged, and yet the present time is also a "right time" to "understand what effective answer we are required to give to the young generations, so that they can recover the meaning of life", in an era marked by the "new digital culture, which presents many interesting aspects for the progress of humanity" but "also brings with it a vision of mankind that appears problematic when referring to the need for truth that resides in every person, joined with the need for freedom in interpersonal and social relationships".
The great issue to be addressed - continued the Successor of Peter - is to "understand how to overcome the rupture that has occurred in the transmission of faith".
Pope Francis thanked the participants in the plenary session for their service "in the field of catechesis", recalling that "in this mission, a specific role is entrusted to those who have received and will receive the ministry of Catechist, in order to be strengthened in their commitment to the service of evangelization". The Pope also encouraged to "find ways for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to continue to be known, studied, and valued, so that it may respond to the new needs that manifest themselves with the passing decades".
Pope Francis also recalled that the "spirituality of mercy" is "a fundamental component of the work of evangelization", recalling that "God’s mercy is never lacking, and we are called to bear witness to it and, so to speak, to make it circulate in the veins of the body of the Church". In this context, the Pontiff referred to the "pastoral care of Shrines", which "must be imbued with mercy, so that those who come to these places may find an oasis of peace and serenity".
In his address, Pope Francis also referred to the "preparation for the next year’s Ordinary Jubilee. It will be a Jubilee in which the power of hope should emerge.
In a few weeks’ time", the Pontiff revealed, "I will publish the Apostolic Letter for its official proclamation: I hope that those pages will be able to help many people to reflect and above all to experience hope in a real way . This theological virtue" continued the Bishop of Rome, recalling a phrase by the French poet Charles Péguy "has been seen poetically as the “little sister” among the other two, faith and charity, but without which these two do not flourish, do not express their best". Concluding his speech, the Pontiff also recalled that "this year that precedes the Jubilee is dedicated to prayer. We need to rediscover prayer as the experience of being in the Lord’s presence, of feeling we are understood, welcomed and loved by Him. As Jesus taught us, it is not a question of multiplying words, but rather of giving space to silence so as to listen to His World and to welcome Him in our life. Let us start, brothers and sisters", urged the Bishop of Rome, "to pray more, to pray better, in the school of Mary and of the saints". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 15/3/2024)