Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope: Christians must "feel with the Church"

Humility, faithfulness and prayer are the three signs of a Christian who belongs to the Church. That was the theme that Pope Francis chose for his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, urging his listeners to really “feel with the Church”.

The Pope said the first fruit of our Baptism is to make us a part of the Church, a member of the people of God. 

Recalling the words of Pope Paul VI, he said it’s absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church, that we listen to Christ but not the Church, that we are with Christ but on the margins of the Church. 

The Gospel message, Pope Francis said, comes to us through the Church and our path to holiness must be found within the Church.

Speaking of the three pillars which underpin our sense of belonging to the Church, the Pope said the first is humility and the realization that the story of salvation does not start or end with us. 

A person who is not humble, he said, cannot feel with the Church but only feels what he or she desires. Instead, humility helps us understand that we are just a small part of the great people of God, that is following the way of the Lord.

The second pillar, Pope Francis said, is faithfulness to the teachings and doctrine of the Church. Quoting again from his predecessor Paul VI, he said we receive the Gospel as a gift and we must pass that gift on to others in faithfulness, rather than seeing it as something that belongs to us.

Thirdly, the Pope said, we must remember to pray with and for the Church in all parts of the world. Do we really pray for the Church, he asked, not just at daily Mass but also when we are at home? 

May the Lord help us, he concluded, to follow this path, to deepen our sense of belonging and feeling with the Church.

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