His July prayer intention focuses on Christians who have "distanced themselves from the faith"
The Vatican has released this month’s Pope Video, in which Pope Francis reflects on his prayer intention for July: for our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, that through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, they may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.
The pope proposes a key to the evangelization of these fallen-away brothers and sisters, and it’s one of the qualities he most often promotes: joy.
If a Christian has left the faith, the pope says, “we must not leave him alone! We should offer him Christian hope — with our words, yes, but more with our testimony, with our freedom, with our joy.”
The Holy Father emphasizes the importance of transmitting joy as a way of accompanying people who, for whatever reason, have distanced themselves from the Gospel message and Christ’s teachings.
“The concern expressed here by the pope is not new,” said Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and its youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement. “In 2013, in his encyclical Lumen Fidei — carrying on the work of Benedict XVI — Francis warned of the danger of losing the faith.
“‘There is an urgent need,’ the Pope said at the beginning of that document, ‘to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim.’”
Father Fornos noted how Christ identified himself with light: “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
“Faith in Jesus Christ has the capacity to illuminate the whole of our existence,” Father Fornos said. “It is like a ‘light for my path’ that leads us to green pastures and, even in the midst of difficulties, makes our cup overflow with joy.”
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