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8th December 2019

Pope Francis View on Mission 4/9

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In a book-length interview with Gianni Valente from Fides News Agency Pope Francis speaks about what has captured his heart: the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world. “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus”. 

Over the coming days a number of short ‘digestible’ extracts will feature in this blog.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, you often repeat that the Church grows by attraction. What do you mean? Who attracts? Who is attracted?

Jesus says it in the Gospel of John, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself”. And in the same Gospel, he also says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him”. The Church has always recognized that this is the proper form of every movement that brings us closer to Jesus and the Gospel. It is not a conviction, a rationalization, it’s not taking a position; not a pressure, or a constraint. It is always an attraction. The Prophet Jeremiah already said “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. And this applies to the apostles, to the missionaries, and to their work.

How does what you have just described take place?

The Lord’s mandate to go out and evangelize comes from within, by falling in love, by loving attraction. One does not follow Christ, and even less become an evangelizer, because of a decision made sitting around a table, or by one’s own activism. Even missionary thrust can be fruitful only if it takes place within this attraction, and transmits it to others.

What is the meaning of these words with respect to the mission and the proclamation of the Gospel?

It means that if you have been attracted by Christ, if you move and do things because you are attracted by Christ, others will notice it without effort. There is no need to prove it, let alone flaunt it. Instead, anyone who thinks he or she is the protagonist or manager of the mission, with all the best intentions and declarations of purpose, often ends up attracting no one.

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