Stay true to your roots to bear fruit

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Pope Francis receives in audience the Community of the Romanian Pontifical College “Pio Romeno” on the occasion of the eighty-fifth anniversary of its foundation by Pope Pius XI.

May 20, 2022

Pope Francis addresses the Romanian Pontifical College “Pio Romeno” (Vatican Media)

VATICAN: At the heart of the Pope’s address to the Romanian Pontifical College was the need to look to one’s roots, whether religious or cultural traditions.

nourishing roots
He told seminarians in Romania that training in Rome offered them the opportunity to rediscover their roots in a fulfilling way, through study and meditation.

It was also a valuable opportunity to reflect on how the roots formed, he said.

The pope recalled the period of World War II, when the Romanian Greek Catholic Church no longer had active bishops, as they had been killed or imprisoned.

He observed that many priests at that time offered to God their sufferings and the testimony of their faith, even at the cost of their lives.

The Pope stressed that without nourishing roots “every religious tradition loses its fruitfulness”.

Spiritual worldliness virus
In fact, he added, “a dangerous process occurs: over time, one focuses more and more on oneself, on one’s own belonging, losing the dynamism of one’s origins. Then one concentrates on the institutional, external aspects, on the defense of one’s own group, one’s own history and one’s privileges, losing, perhaps without realizing it, the flavor of the gift.

Pope Francis explained that this happens “when one becomes complacent and tainted with the virus of spiritual worldliness. Then one wastes away in a mediocre, self-referential life, made up of careerism, climbing, the search for personal satisfaction and easy pleasures.

“Update” Roots
Being in Rome, the Pope noted, offered those in the College the opportunity to bring their roots “up to date” so that their ministry would be fruitful.

“Be joyful apostles of the faith you have inherited, willing to keep nothing to yourselves and ready to be reconciled with all, to forgive and to weave unity, overcoming all animosity and victimization. Then your seed will also be evangelical and will bear fruit.

After speaking of the roots, the pope turned to “the ground”.

“As you study, do not forget the good ground of faith. It is that cultivated by your grandparents, your parents, that of the holy people of God,” he said.

“The good soil is also the one that makes you touch the flesh of Christ, present in the poor, the sick, the suffering, the little ones and the simple, in those who suffer and in whom Jesus is present.”

He mentioned in particular the many refugees from neighboring Ukraine that Romania also welcomes and assists.

people’s priests
The pope told those present “not to be priests of theological laboratories”.

“Be priests of the people, with the smell of the people, with the smell of the flock,” he said.

Addressing Arabic-speaking students at the former St Ephrem’s College, he said: “For about ten years, you have all been one community. Your sharing of life should not be felt as a reduction in the distinctive traits of the other, but as a fruitful promise for the future. The national, oriental and Latin colleges should not be “enclaves” where one returns after the day of study to live as if at home, but workshops of fraternal communion, where one can live authentic Catholicity. , the universality of the Church . This universality is the good air to breathe so as not to allow oneself to be sucked in by particularisms which slow down evangelization.

“Roots, earth and good air”, concluded the pope, “I wish you to cultivate your vocation in this way during your Roman years”.Vatican News


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