Saturday, January 04, 2014

Francis: “The Gospel is not proclaimed with inquisitorial beatings but gently”

Francis kisses a statuette of baby Jesus from a Nativity Scene"We are men who live in tension, we are also contradictory and inconsistent men, sinners all. But men who want to walk under the gaze of Jesus. The Gospel cannot be proclaimed "with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation.” 

“The God who always surprises us” should be at the centre of our lives. The church of the Gesù was packed on today’s Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus and Francis’ homily was like a set of guidelines for his Jesuit brothers. The Pope celebrated mass for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus along with 350 Jesuits. He also gave thanks for the enrolment of the first Fr Peter Faber SJ – the first Jesuit to be ordained a priest and founder of the Society of Jesus – in the list of the saints. 

"The power of the Church does not lie within itself and its ability to organize, but it is hidden in the deep waters of God. And these waters agitate our desires and desires expand the heart,” Francis noted. Like Christ, a Jesuit should be prepared to “empty himself” and have the same “desires” as God. The Pope asked his fellow Jesuits to “be emptied. To be men who do not live in a self-centred way” and to be men “of incomplete thoughts, open thought: why always think looking at the horizon which is the glory of God always great, who surprises us relentlessly. And this is the ' anxiety of our void. That holy and beautiful restlessness.”
 
The Pope asked Jesuits to continue searching, to feel the same restlessness as Pierre Favre did and not to lose their “desire to change the world.” “Here's the question we must ask ourselves: do we also have great vision and momentum? Are we too bold? Do our dreams aim high? Does our zeal devour us, or are we mediocre and are satisfied with our laboratory like apostolic programming?” Only if we are focused on God is it possible to go to the peripheries of the world.

Pierre Favre is an example in this sense, “devoured” as he was “by an intense desire to communicate the Lord.” “If we do not have his own desire, then we need to pause in prayer and with fervent silence, ask the Lord , through the intercession of our brother Peter, to once again fascinate us.” 

“We are men who live in tension, we are also contradictory and inconsistent men, sinners all. But men who want to walk under the gaze of Jesus … We who are selfish, nonetheless want to live a life agitated by great desires.”  "The temptation, that maybe many of us experience, and many other people have comes to mind; that of linking the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation. No, the Gospel is preached gently, fraternally, with love." Favre “seems born unable to sit still.” Favre had the ability to discern God’s desires in his own desires. Favre had a real deep desire to "be expanded in God" he was completely centred in God, and this could go in a spirit of obedience, often by foot, anywhere in Europe,  sweetly dialoguing with everyone, and proclaim the Gospel.” Favre “was devoured by the intense desire to communicate the Lord.” Addressing his fellow Jesuits the Pope added that they should also “ask the Lord” “to once again fascinate us.”
 
Francis also referred back to St. Paul in his homily. “We should feel like Jesus Christ: although he knew he was God in human form, he did not claim the privilege of being like God but emptied himself to live like a servant.” “We, Jesuits want to be honoured with the name of Jesus, under the military banner of the cross, and that means: to have the same feelings of Christ. Means to think like Him, to love like Him, to see [things the way He sees them], to walk like Him - it means doing what He did, and with the same sentiments He had, with the sentiments of His heart.” The Gospel “is preached gently, with fraternity and love” not with “inquisitorial beatings.” “We are small, we are sinners, but we want to fight under the banner of the Cross in the Society signed by the name of Jesus.”

Members of the Society of Jesus gathered around their most distinguished brother in an atmosphere of profound spirituality. “Being a Jesuit is to be a person of incomplete thoughts, open thought: why always think looking at the horizon which is the glory of God always great, who surprises us relentlessly. And this is the ' anxiety of our void. That holy and beautiful restlessness.”

This was how Jorge Mario Bergoglio – who entered the Society of Jesus 55 years ago – described himself and his fellow Jesuits. The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, thanked Francis for Pierre Favre’s canonization. Francis announced the decision to canonize Pierre Favre last 17 December. Today Jesuits presented Francis with a relic-letter written by the saint himself. “When a Jesuit becomes a saint it is an opportunity for us to take our vocation further, the emptying ourselves the Pope was talking about in his homily, and to renew what our fathers said: the Society of Jesus is a path towards God. We wish to thank you for this Eucharist and for celebrating it with us, as well as for the joy with which this canonization has been celebrated. When you signed the decree, you telephoned me immediately to tell me about it. This joy forms part of the joy we feel today.”
 
After today’s Eucharistic concelebration and on the occasion of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, Francis venerated the new saint Pierre Favre  by burning incense in front of a statue of the saint. "We are men who live in tension, we are also contradictory and inconsistent men, sinners all. But men who want to walk under the gaze of Jesus.” This is the lesson given by history’s first Jesuit Pope.

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