The pope meets with members of Catholic Action France on Thursday, telling them that the Word of God is the model for their ministry.
By Vatican News reporter
Greeting the members of Catholic Action France, Pope Francis recalled their tradition of coming to meet the Pope which dates back to the time of Pope Pius XI.
The Association chose “Apostles Today” as the theme for this pilgrimage to Rome, and in this spirit, Pope Francis reflected on “the call to be effective apostles today.”
The Pope noted that when the disciples walk with Jesus “they begin by remembering the events they have lived through; then they recognize the presence of God in these events; finally, they act by returning to Jerusalem to announce the resurrection of Christ.
Pope Francis then focused his attention on what he called three stages: see, judge, act.
Importance of memory
“Seeing,” the Pope said, is the fundamental first step, which consists in “pausing to observe the events that make up our life, what constitutes our history, our family, cultural and Christian roots.”
Stressing the importance of memory, Pope Francis dwelt on his encyclical “Fratelli tutti” which, according to him, “begins with a look at the sometimes worrying situation of our world. It may sound a bit pessimistic, but it is necessary to move forward.
The Word of God
Focusing his attention on the second stage, judging or discerning, the pope said this is “the moment when we allow ourselves to be questioned and challenged.”
“The key to this stage is the reference to Sacred Scripture. It’s about accepting that your life is subject to the scrutiny of the Word of God,” he explained.
The pope went on to say, “In the encounter between the events of the world and of our lives, on the one hand, and the Word of God, on the other, we can discern the calls that the Lord addresses to us.”
During his address, Pope Francis noted that Catholic Action movements “have developed, in their history, true synodal practices, especially in group life,” which is the basis of their experience.
He noted that “the Church as a whole is also engaged in a synodal process” and that their input was needed.
“Let us remember, in this respect, that synodality is not a simple discussion, or the search for a majority consensus, like a parliament… It is a style to be adopted, in which the main protagonist is the Holy Spirit, who expresses himself above all in the Word of God, read, meditated on and shared together,” the Pope said.
the action of God
Coming to the third step: action, the Pope described how the Gospel teaches that action must always have God’s initiative.
“So our role is to support and encourage God’s action in hearts, adapting to the constantly changing reality,” he said.
Pope Francis has noted that the times we live in today are not the same as a few years ago.
“Today, especially in Europe,” he pointed out, “those who frequent Christian movements are more skeptical of institutions, they seek less demanding and more ephemeral relationships.”
He went on to say that young people in particular “are more sensitive to affectivity, and therefore more vulnerable, more fragile than previous generations, less rooted in faith, but nevertheless in search of meaning and truth, and no less generous”.
In conclusion, the Pope told members of the movement that it was their mission as Catholic Action to reach these people as they are, to make them grow in the love of Christ and neighbour, and “ to lead them towards a greater concrete commitment, so that they may be protagonists of their own life and of the life of the Church, so that the world may change”.