Pope Explains How Spiritual Life Is Like Breathing, With 2 Stages

Tells Catholic Fraternity on Charismatic Ecumenism: ‘Seek Unity in Diversity’

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Pope Francis says the spiritual life is like breathing, comparing prayer to inhaling and mission to exhaling. Without both, he says, the Christian cannot live.

Addressing today members of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowship, the Holy Father underscored, “Every Christian in his or her life requires a heart open to the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit,” reported Vatican Radio.

The group is in Rome for its 16th international conference on the theme “Praise and Charismatic Worship for a New Evangelization.”

Beginning with the idea of “unity in diversity,” the Holy Father told the participants, “Unity does not imply uniformity.”

“It does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way. Nor does it signify a loss of identity,” he said.

Rather, “Unity in diversity is actually the opposite: it involves the joyful recognition and acceptance of the various gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to each one and the placing of these gifts at the service of all members of the Church.”

While keeping the Church’s need for the Holy Spirit at the forefront of his remarks, Francis encouraged those present to share their experience of the Holy Spirit with other participants.

Making an analogy, the Holy Father said, “Breathing is made up of two stages: inhaling, the intake of air, and exhaling, the letting out of this air. The spiritual life,” he continued, “is fed, nourished, by prayer and is expressed outwardly through mission: inhaling and exhaling.”

When we inhale, by prayer, he reflected, we receive the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. When exhaling this air, he continued, «we announce Jesus Christ risen by the same Spirit.»

While saying «No one can live without breathing,» Francis highlighted, «It is the same for the Christian: without praise and mission there is no Christian life.”

“The Charismatic Renewal,” he said, “is by its very nature, ecumenical,” noting that spiritual ecumenism is “praying and proclaiming together that Jesus is Lord, and coming together to help the poor in all their poverty.”

“Today,” Pope Francis concluded, “the blood of Jesus, poured out by many Christian martyrs in various parts of the world, calls us and compels us towards the goal of unity.”

According to its Web site, the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships is an international private association of members of the faithful having juridical personality in accordance with Canon 322 of the Code of Canon Law. Its desire is «to identify itself with the salvific mission of the whole Church in communion with the local bishop and with the Roman Pontiff.»

The fraternity has an ongoing relationship with Rome through the Pontifical Council for the Laity. While it has this link to Rome, it has its own integrity as an international body and exists with its own President, a council, executive and a spiritual advisor.

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Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowship: http://www.catholicfraternity.net/

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