In your littleness, be courageous. God will make the impossible, possible.
Pope Francis suggested this to participants in the General Chapter of the Marian Clerics of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday in the Vatican. The General Chapter is underway in Rome from February 5-25, 2017.
Praying that the example of their founder, Saint Stanislaw of Jesus and Mary, canonized last year, be the light and guide of your path, Francis recalled that he fully understood the meaning of being a disciple of Christ.
We Cannot Be Torn From Lord’s Love
Recalling the canonized saint’s wisdom when praying, “Lord Jesus, if out of love I bind myself to You, who will tear me away from You? If I am united to You in mercy, who will separate me from You?,” Francis reminded them to embrace his way of thinking.
Moreover, the Jesuit Pontiff encouraged them to continue serving the poor and humble people, through the proclamation of the Gospel, and with works of mercy and prayer.
“We are not Princes, sons of Princes, of Counts or Barons; we are simple people of the people. Therefore,” Francis added, “we come close, with simplicity, to those who suffer most: the sick, the children, the abandoned elderly, the poor … all. And this poverty is at the center of the Gospel: it is the poverty of Jesus, which is not sociological poverty.”
The great challenge of inculturation, the Pope underscored, asks them today to proclaim the Good News, especially amidst “rapid social and cultural transformation.”
“You are called to walk in this line today with renewed zeal to push you, with prophetic freedom and wise discernment,” he highlighted, noting, “The horizons of evangelization and the urgent need to witness the evangelical message to all, without distinctions, constitute the vast field of your apostolate.”
“So many are still waiting to know Jesus, Francis underscored, saying, “and not a few situations of injustice and moral and material hardship question believers.”
Such an urgent mission, he continued, requires personal and communal conversion.
“Only hearts fully open to the action of Grace are able to interpret the signs of the times and to receive the appeals for hope and peace of needy humanity.”
Following the example of your founder, Francis encouraged them to be courageous in the service of Christ and of the Church, responding to the new challenges and to the new mission, even if humanly they can seem risky.
“In fact, in the “genetic code” of your community, is found what Saint Stanislaw himself affirmed from his experience: ‘Despite the innumerable difficulties, divine goodness and wisdom initiate and fulfill what we want, even when, according to human judgment, the means are inadequate. Nothing, in fact, is impossible for the Almighty. This was shown to me in a most clear way” (Fundatio Domus Recollectionis, 1).
Embracing Our Littleness as Act of Faith
This attitude of embracing our littleness and unworthiness, Francis underscored, is powerful, because it allows us to show our faith in the power of the Lord.
“The Lord can … the Lord is capable.”
“Our littleness,” he said, “is in fact the seed, the small seed, which then germinates, grows, the Lord waters, and thus goes forward. But the sense of littleness is in fact the first leap towards trust in God’s power; go forward on this path.”
Pope Francis concluded, entrusting those present to Mary Immaculate, and offering them his Apostolic Blessing.
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