Pope Francis on February 23, 2018, thanked the preacher of this year’s Lenten spiritual exercise for the Pope and Curia, the Reverend Jose Tolentino de Mendonca, Vice-Rector of the Catholic University of Lisbon and Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Culture, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises at Ariccia.
The Holy Father’s Words[He turns to the Preacher] Father, on behalf of all, I would like to thank you for this accompaniment in these days, which today are prolonged with the Day of Fast and Abstinence for South Sudan, the Congo and also Syria.
Thank you, Father, for having spoken to us of the Church, for making us hear the Church, this small flock. And also for having admonished us not to make it “smaller” with our worldly bureaucracies! Thank you for reminding us that the Church isn’t a cage for the Holy Spirit; that the Spirit also flies outside and works outside. And with the quotations and things that you have said, you have made us see how He works in non-believers, in “pagans,” in persons of other religious confessions: He is universal, He is the Spirit of God, who is for all. Today also there are “Corneliuses,” “centurions,” “guardians of Peter’s prison, who live an interior search and are also able to distinguish when there is something that calls. Thank you for this call to open ourselves without fear, without rigidity, to be pliable in the Spirit and not mummified in our structures, which close us. Thank you, Father. And continue to pray for us. As the Mother Superior said to the Sisters: “We are men!” sinners, all. Thank you, Father. And may the Lord bless you.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]