"All of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone ..."
In August, Pope Francis is praying for the reform of the Church, and inviting the faithful to join him in that prayer.
The Pope Video illustrating the Holy Father’s monthly intention, entrusted to thePope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, shows Pope Francis reflecting deeply on the situation of the Church, its vocation, and its identity.
He calls us to renew the Church “by discerning God’s will in our daily life.” For Francis, a reform of the Church must begin with “a reform of ourselves” and “in the light of the Gospel.”
Let us pray for the Church, that she may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel.
Evangelization and Jesus’ example
The Pope Video begins with Francis’ affirmation of the specific vocation of the Church, which is to evangelize.
The Holy Father speaks of his dream of “an even more missionary option: that [the Church] go out to meet others without proselytism and that it transform all its structures for the evangelization of today’s world.”
As he explained in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”
Remedies for a Church in crisis: prayer, charity, and service
“The Church always has difficulties, always has crises,” The Pope Video for this month argues.
Just a few months ago, the letter in which Francis rejected Cardinal Marx’s offer of resignation was made public. In it, not only did the pope show that he agrees that “the entire Church is in crises because of the abuse issue,” but he also encouraged the cardinal to continue his work as a shepherd and emphasized that “a reform… does not consist in words but in attitudes that have the courage to face the crisis, to assume reality whatever the consequences may be. And every reform begins with oneself. The reform in the Church was made by men and women who were not afraid to enter into crisis and let themselves be reformed by the Lord.”
The remedy in order to face and undertake this reform can never be found in our own ideas, ideologies, or prejudices. Following Jesus’ example, the path forward is one “based on spiritual experience, an experience of prayer, an experience of charity, an experience of service.”
Pray for the Church
Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., International Director of thePope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, commented: “At the end of last year, a few days before Christmas, Francis had already wanted to delve into the difference between conflict and crisis so as to make clear that the latter can always leave us with something positive. It’s a propitious time for the Gospel and for Church reform.
“As the Holy Father says, ‘we must have the courage to be completely open. We need to stop seeing the reform of the Church as putting a patch on an old garment.’ In the face of a crisis, the first thing we can do is accept it, as a propitious time to seek and recognize God’s will. This means not tiring of prayer, as the pope insists so much; not tiring of following Jesus’ example of service, of charity, of encounter with others, with those who suffer, with the most vulnerable and with those who most need it.'”
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