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21st January 2020

Pope Francis View on Mission 5/9

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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.

In the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium, you recognize that all this can “can cause us to feel disoriented”. It’s like those who dive into the ocean not knowing what they will find. What did you want to suggest with this image? Do these words also concern mission?

Mission is not a tried and tested company plan. Neither is it a public spectacle organized to flaunt how many people are associated with it thanks to our marketing. The Holy Spirit works as He wills, when He wills and where He wills. And this can lead to “vertigo”. Yet the high point of freedom rests precisely in this letting oneself be carried by the Spirit, renouncing the need to calculate and control everything. This is precisely how we imitate Christ Himself, who in the mystery of His Resurrection learned to rest in the tenderness of the Father’s embrace. Mission’s mysterious fruitfulness does not consist in our intentions, in our methods, in our impulses and in our initiatives, but rests precisely in this “vertigo”: the “vertigo” we perceive when we hear Jesus’ words: “without me you can do nothing”.

You also often repeat that the Church grows “by witnessing”. What are you trying to suggest by insisting on this?

The fact that attraction makes us witnesses. This witness testifies to what the work of Christ and His Spirit have really accomplished in our life. After His Resurrection, it is Christ himself who reveals Himself to the apostles. It is He who makes them witnesses. In addition, this witness is not self-serving. We are witnesses to the Lord’s works.

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