Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pope Francis: "restlessness of love" brings pastoral fruitfulness


From the Website of Vatican

Pope Francis: "restlessness of love" brings pastoral fruitfulness

2013-08-29 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis last night said Mass at the Roman Basilica of Saint Augustine, where he met with members of the Augustinian order who are celebrating their general chapter. The celebration was attended by Augustinians from 5 continents, religious women and men who follow the rule of the bishop of Hippo, along with a number of lay people. Before entering the Basilica, the Holy Father stopped to greet the people who were waiting to see him along the street.

In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis spoke about the “restlessness” that Saint Augustine lived.

“What fundamental restlessness did Augustine live in his life? Or perhaps I should say, what kind of restlessness invites us to arouse and keep alive in our lives this great man and saint?” The restless heart of Augustine has something to teach us, the Pope said, inviting us to reflect on “the restlessness of the spiritual quest, the restlessness of the encounter with God, the restlessness of love.”

The Pope said, “I would say to those who feel indifferent to God, towards the faith, to those who are far from God, or are abandoned, and even to us, with our ‘distances’ and our ‘abandonment’ towards God, little, perhaps, but there are so many in daily life: look into the depths of your hard, look deep within yourself, and ask yourself: Do you have a heart that desires something great, or a heart that is put to sleep by material things?”

The restlessness of Augustine lead him to an encounter with Christ, the Pope continued, but it did not induce him to turn in on himself. “even in the discovery of God and in the encounter with Him, Augustine doesn’t stop, doesn’t rest, doesn’t become closed in on himself like those who have already arrived, but continues along the way. The restlessness of the quest for the truth, of the quest for God, becomes the restlessness of always coming to know Him better, and of going out of oneself in order to make Him known to others. And this is the restlessness of love.”

And, the Holy Father insisted, this restlessness becomes pastoral: “Augustine is left with the restlessness from God, he never tires of announcing it, of evangelising with courage, without fear, seeking to be the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep (cf. Jn 10,14), indeed, as I love to repeat, who 'smells like His flock', and goes out to seek those who are lost. Augustine lives what Saint Paul tells Timothy, and each one of us: announce the word, be urgent in season and out of season, announce the Gospel with the magnanimous, large heart (cf. 2 Tim 4,2) of a Pastor that is restless for his flock. The treasure of Augustine is precisely this attitude: Always go out towards God, go out towards the flock . . . He is a man in tension between these two ‘goings’; not to ‘privatize’ love . . . always on the journey! You should always be on the journey, says the Father. Always restless! And this is the peace of restlessness.”

But restlessness, he concludes, is also love, “always seeking . . . the good of others, of loved ones, with that intensity that also leads to tears.” The restlessness of love, he said, “always encourages us to reach out to the other”, without waiting for the other to express his needs”.


For the good of the human community

2013-08-31 L’Osservatore Romano

Ecclesiastical authority and civil power “are called to cooperate for the integral good  of the human community” . The Pope wrote this in a message to Cardinal Koch for the 13th Inter-Christian Symposium taking place in Milan from 28 to 30 August.

To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Kurt Koch
President of the Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity

It was with great joy that I learned about this inter-Christian Symposium, organized every two years by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality   at the Pontifical  University Antonianum and by the Department of Theology at the Orthodox Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the aim of which is deepening understanding of the theological and spiritual Traditions of East and West and of cultivating brotherly relations of friendship and scholarship among members of the two academic institutions.
I would like, therefore, to extend my cordial greeting to the organizers, the relators and to all the participants in the 13th edition of this praiseworthy initiative, which is taking place this year in Milan, with the collaboration of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, on the theme: “The life of Christians and civil power — historical questions and current perspectives in East and West”. This subject matter fits well into the framework of the many initiatives organized to commemorate the 17th centenary of the promulgation of the Edict of Constantine, particularly important initiatives took place in Milan, such as such as the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomaios I to the Church of St Ambrose and to the city.
 The historical decision, by which religious freedom for Christians was decreed, opened up new ways for spreading the Gospel and contributed greatly  to the birth of European civilization.  The memory of that event offers  the present Symposium an opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the ways in which the Christian world relates to civil society and the authority that presides over it. These ways have developed in history  in very different contexts, with significant diversification in East and West. At the same time, they have retained several fundamental points in common, such as the conviction that civil power finds its limits before the law of God, reserving just space for the autonomy of conscience, with the awareness that ecclesiastical authority and civil power are called to cooperate for the integral good  of the human community.

With the hope that  the work of this Symposium bear abundant fruit for the progress of historical research and mutual understanding between the different Traditions, I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and I cordially invoke my Apostolic Blessing upon those who have contributed to the organization of the Conference and on all those who are taking part in it.
From the Vatican, 19 August 2013

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