The Church grows by silence, good works, the martyrs, and “not in making a fuss” or “the news.”
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on how martyrs, while carrying the Church forward, do not make the news but are hidden.
Recalling today’s Gospel from St. Luke, the Pope highlighted that the Kingdom of God “is not spectacular,” and that it grows in silence.
“The Church,” the Holy Father said, is manifested “in the Eucharist and in good works, even if they don’t make the news.” She has a temperament given to silence, Francis pointed out, reminding that She produces fruit “without making a fuss,” “without sounding the trumpet, like the Pharisees.”
“The Lord explains to us how the Church grows with the parable of the sower. The sower sows and the seed grows by day, by night… – God gives the growth – and then the fruit is seen. But this is important: First, the Church grows in silence, in secret; it is the ecclesiastical style.”
“And how is this manifested in the Church? By the fruits of good works, so that the people see and glorify the Father who is in heaven, Jesus says. And in the celebration, the praise and the sacrifice of the Lord – that is, in the Eucharist. There the Church is manifested: in the Eucharist and in good works.”
The Church–Francis stressed– grows through witness, through prayer, through the attraction of the Spirit who is within, “and not through events.”
While these events certainly help, he conceded, “the growth proper to the Church, that which bears fruit, is in silence, in hiding, with good works, and the celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, the praise of God.”
The Lord, the Holy Father reminded, helps us to not fall into the temptation of seduction.
“We want the Church to be seen more; what can we do so that it will be seen?” So usually one falls into a Church of events that is not capable of growing in silence with good works, in secret.”
The Pontiff went on to state how the spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom. Observing how often society gets caught up with sensation, worldliness, and appearances, Pope Francis recalled that Jesus Himself was tempted to create a sensation.
The devil tried to provoke Him, saying: “But why take so long to accomplish the work of redemption? Perform a good miracle. Cast yourself down from the temple, and everyone will see; they will see, and they will believe in you.”
Regardless, Jesus stood strong, choosing “the path of preaching, of prayer, of good works,” the way “of the Cross” and “of suffering.”
“The Cross and suffering. The Church grows also with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many [martyrs]. It’s strange; they don’t make the news. The world hides this fact.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom; it hides it.”