“It is the Spirit who opens hearts and minds – it is the Spirit who does this – who makes us, all of us, protagonists of God's dream!"
“Your charism recalls that faith is first and foremost an experience of relation and encounter,” Pope Francis told members of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME)’s Italian branch, an association that promotes the value of marriage and Holy Orders.
Speaking to the group September 9, the Pontiff praised the association’s work while highlighting that it is through our relationships with one another that we develop and carry forward our relation with God.
The WWME’s Italian branch met with the Pontiff as they were celebrating the 45th anniversary of the association’s presence in Italy. Established between Spain and the US in 1968, today WWME is active in nearly 100 countries. The Italian association offers a weekend experience where couples and religious can rediscover the value of their sacraments and their vocations. Although it is a Catholic organization, the weekends are open to all.
“Marriage and Orders, Holy Orders, while in different ways and according to the charism proper to each one, are intimately linked in as much as both manifest God’s love, building up the mystical Body of the Church,” the Pope explained in his speech. “In fact, these two sacraments, by different but complementary paths, speak of spousality: on the one hand the total, unique and indissoluble giving of the spouses, on the other the offering of the priest’s life for the Church, are signs of God’s spousal love for us.”
“God’s dream for us”
“God’s dream for us is this: to unite us in His love, in His communion, to make us discover the beauty of divine sonship and brotherhood among us,” Pope Francis explained, citing the theme that the Italian branch had chosen for its 45th anniversary: “We are God’s dream.” He praised their work, saying it contributed to realizing this dream by entering concretely, but with love, into people’s lives.
“It is a story of love with God, with our brothers, with our sisters. […] In this way you carry forward God’s dream, a dream of spousal communion, in a time that sometimes prefers to tread the swampy paths of individualism instead of venturing towards the splendid heights of love,” Francis said.
The Holy Spirit: The protagonist of God’s dream
Francis also highlighted the association’s ability to put together the experiences of lay and religious people alike.
“The exchange between spouses and pastors favors the evangelizing action that we urgently need today,” he said. “Indeed, it is through relationships, above all by witnessing the beauty of relationships, that we are able to proclaim the richness of the Gospel and show the love that God has for every creature.”
The Pope then encouraged them to keep up their work and open it up to young people and engaged couples. “Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit – let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit – who is the love of God and without whom our activities are barren and vain,” he concluded.
“It is the Spirit who opens hearts and minds – it is the Spirit who does this – who makes us, all of us, protagonists of God’s dream!”