Copyright: L'Osservatore Romano

‘Church Must Not Shine Spotlight on Self,’ Says Preacher of Pope’s Lenten Retreat

Addressing Pope and Curia During Spiritual Exercises, Fr. Ronchi Stresses Where Church Still Has Work to Do

The Church must not shine the spotlight on herself but instead on Christ, and She still has some work to do in this regard.

According to Vatican Radio, this was stressed by Fr. Ermes Ronchi, the priest leading the spiritual exercises for Pope Francis and Roman Curia members, currently participating in their Lenten retreat, March 6-11, in the Casa Divin Maestro in the town of Ariccia near Rome.

The preacher made this point during this morning’s meditation, as he reflected on the Gospel account where Peter professes his faith in Christ as the Son of God.

Opening Hearts

Noting that this was preceded by Jesus asking the disciples who they thought He was, Father Ronchi said in this way Christ is not giving lessons or suggesting replies based on what other people say about Him, but rather urges His Apostles to look into their own hearts.

Jesus, the priest explained, wants to know if His disciples have opened their hearts to God who is living inside them, so they “can be the cradle or the tomb of God.”

The preacher also underscored that Jesus warned His Apostles that following Him means “an appointment with a man on the Cross.” Fr. Ronchi highlighted that Christ doesn’t sacrifice anyone else’s life, just His own.

On the Church’s Role

Turning to the Church’s role, the priest reminded the Pope and Curia, we are “the mediators between God and humanity.”  Like John the Baptist, he suggested, we are to prepare the path and then step to one side.

Father Ronchi concluded, saying, “Think of the beauty of a Church that does not shine the spotlight on herself” but instead on Christ, and warned that we still have some progress to make on this point.”

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