A Church That Surprises The World
Author: Staff | Source: Catholic.net
My life of faith may have elapsed in the midst of one of the most beautiful stages in the history of the pontificate: I am the son of Vatican Council II, a monumental work initiated by the recently canonized Saint John XXIII. I grew up in my Christian life under the shepherding of St. John Paul II. I could hear the Pope in his two visits to Peru in 1985 and 1988. Seeing and listening to him marked my life forever with indelible memories. In 2006 as a member of the Christian Life Movement I was able to participate in the World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements in Rome at Pentecost and there I was able to hear Benedict XVI first hand. Finally I went to the meeting of Francis in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in 2013 and I had the opportunity to attend several hearings in Rome in 2014. From all these experiences I came out deeply renewed in my love for the Lord Jesus, for the Church and with strong desire to communicate the Gospel to all who would cross my path.
One of the most eloquent keys to defining what the Church has experienced in these last pontificates is the "renewal in continuity". Peter's boat is guided throughout his history by the wind of the Holy Spirit. They are the men that God chooses to guide the Mystical Body of Christ who must be made docile to the impulse of the Spirit. This is the one who renews again and again to the Church so that according to the signs of the times he can present the Gospel boldly to the challenges that are always presented to humanity.
The Church by nature is constantly open to renewal, but perhaps with particular insistence is perceived as, from St. John XXIII to the current Pope Francis, which encourages all the pontiffs of this time is the desire to communicate the Gospel with Joy to the heart of man's culture. Is clearly observed in the magisterium of the last Popes an astonishing continuity to put the Church in an attitude of new evangelization, of being able to give reason of our faith and hope, living in exit to go to the periphery of the world announcing that the message of Christ is a word of salvation.
Since the second Vatican Council, a way of being has been installed in the Church, a style that seeks to continually renew itself in dialogue with the culture to present the Gospel. There is no doubt that every Pope is unique and comes from diverse cultures. And so, each one has a particular imprint, a unique personality and thus enrich with their gifts and talents the lives of all believers.
St. John Paul II puts the Church in touch with all the cultures of the world. It was 250 apostolic voyages in his 26 years as a universal pastor. A colossus of the apostolate. Is the Pope who launched Catholics to boldly take on the commitment to the new evangelization. His deep and keen language allowed him to carry the Gospel speaking to the heart of contemporary man. He took part as bishop in the second Vatican Council and for the same reason, as Pope, he put in tune the people of God in the line of the reconcile spirit. His opening phrase of pontificate "Do not be afraid" still resonates inside many Catholics. Benedict XVI said of him: "The courage of truth is in my opinion a criterion of first order concerning the Holiness of John Paul II."
Benedict XVI, one of the greatest theologians of our time, promoted in Church with his great doctrinal pedagogy the fruitful dialogue between reason and faith. His special task focused on rediscovering the fascination for reason and truth in the midst of a culture where the dictatorship of relativism and weak thought reigns. His contributions were aimed at consolidating the Christian identity of the believers. Is the simple Pope who began his pontificate by saying that he was "a humble servant in the Lord's vineyard" and was resigned when he was aware that his forces no longer accompanied him. He went to the retreat for forgiveness for all his shortcomings. This Pope of humility is considered by some to be a future Doctor of the Church.
The choice of Francis surprised more than one in and out of the Church. The Argentine Pope with his words and writings, but especially with his gestures, has thrown the people of God into a renewed missionary opening. All Catholics feel identified with him in his conviction to live the joy of evangelizing outside, towards the geographical and existential peripheries of the world and of people. Francis is the Pope who constantly requests to pray for him, he has raised his voice strongly on the world stage in defense of the sick, the unborn, the immigrants, the children and the elderly condemning the culture of the discard that afflicts much of the minded modern youth. A Pope, as we said, with great impact on the media that are pending on each gesture of Francis because they perceive the strength of the Gospel made alive.
Francis is the Pope who is not afraid of tenderness, who asks the young people to make trouble, to go out into the street to evangelize and to do it with joy and with a deep mercy that comes from the heart of God. Is the Pope who wanted to come to Latin America and expressly visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. He is the messenger of the mercy of God who asks us to meet Jesus and that once we have him in our hearts we will communicate joy to all who surround us.
Every Pope, being men of the Spirit, has responded to the needs of the time he has lived. With deep faith we know that the Holy Spirit attends the Church so that the perennial message of the Gospel can be presented in a renewed way in its methods and in its forms to a culture that increasingly craves truth and reconciliation. Let us go out to meet the blessing of having Pope Francis in Latin American lands so that our love for Jesus and our fidelity to the Church will be strengthened so that we can be apostles of reconciliation and mercy in every corner of this continent of hope.