This morning, Pope Francis celebrated morning Mass with the Council of Cardinals who are convening today for the first of three meetings. The council, which was created on April 13th, will assist the Pope in the governance of the Church as well as to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia.
During his homily, the Holy Father expressed his hope that the meetings of the Council will make all more humble and more trusting in God. Thus the Church “might be able to a beautiful witness to people.
The Gospel of the day recounted Jesus’ rebuke of James and John, who wished to “call down fire from heaven” in response to those who did not welcome them. The Holy Father told those present that the “path of vengeance” is not the path of a Christian. Reflecting on the St. Therese of the Child Jesus, whose feast day is today, the Holy Father said that her life calls all to “think about this spirit of humility, of tenderness, of bounty.”
“It is a spirit that the Lord wants from all of us. Where, then, is the power that brings us to this spirit? It is found in love, in charity, in the awareness that we are in the hands of the Father,” the Pope said.
With this awareness, he continued, one will not want “to call down fire from Heaven.”
“Another spirit comes, that of that charity that suffers all, pardons all, that does not boast, that is humble, that doesn’t seek itself. Someone could say — and there are some philosophers that thing this way — that this is a humiliation of the majesty of man, of the greatness of man. This is sterile! The Church has wisely made this saint, humble, small, trusting in God, meek: she has made her the Patron of Missions.”
Pope Francis went on to say that the strength of the Gospel is found precisely in the humiliation of Jesus, “in the humility of the child that is guided by the love and the tenderness of the Father.”
“The Church, Benedict XVI told us, does not grow through proselytism, it grows through attraction, through witness. And when the people see this witness of humility, of meekness, of mildness, they feel the need that the Prophet Zechariah spoke of: ‘We want to come with you.’ The people feel that need in the face of the witness of charity, of this humble charity, without bullying, not sufficient, humble. Worship and serve!”
The witness that comes from charity, which is to worship God and serve others, is what makes the Church grow. For this reason, he exclaimed, St. Therese of the Child Jesus “was named Patron of the Mission, because of her example which makes the people say ‘we want to come with you!”
Concluding his homily, the Holy Father mentioned the meeting of the Council of Cardinals. “Today, here in the Vatican, begins the meeting with the Cardinal consulters, who are concelebrating the Mass,” Pope Francis said.
“Let us ask the Lord that our work today will make us all more humble, more meek, more patient, more trusting in God, so that the Church can give a beautiful witness to the people, and seeing the People of God, seeing the Church, they might feel the desire to come with us.”