Pope to Comboni Missionaries: Beware of the “Spirituality of the Mirror”, we must go further

The Pope received in audience the Comboni missionaries gathered in Chapter until the 30th of June in Rome. And he insisted on the aspect of “going beyond” and avoiding the temptation of self-referentiality.

Bianca Fraccalvieri – Vatican News

The style of the missionary was the theme of the Pope’s speech to the participants of the General Chapter of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, received in audience this Saturday. Francis was even invited by the capitulants to celebrate in them the feast of the Sacred Heart next Friday. “Thank you,” he replied, but “I will participate in prayer.”

Listen to the full report with the voice of Pope Francis

Go beyond or “kaputt”

“I am the vine, you are the branches” is the theme of the 19th Chapter, which inspired the Holy Father’s speech. The Pope recalled the words of Jesus to the disciples, who can do nothing without Him. “If we are firmly attached to the vine, the sap of the Spirit flows from Christ to us, and whatever we do will bear fruit, because it is not our work, but the love of Christ working through us.”

Francis insisted on the aspect of “going beyond” and avoiding the temptation of self-referentiality.

“But when we start with this psychology, mirror spirituality, we stop going further and always return to our sick heart: we all have our sick heart and God’s grace saves us. Without grace, ‘kaputt’ (ruined ). Important is this with the Spirit, to go beyond.”

This is the secret of Christian life, Francis added, particularly in mission, wherever it may be, Europe, Africa or other continents. The missionary is the disciple who is so united with the Master that his hands, his mind and his heart are “channels” of Christ’s love. He is not a proselyte. And what do they take on mission? Mercy, compassion and tenderness.

“Mercy, tenderness, is a universal language, which knows no boundaries,” the Pope said.

The “hell” of some communities

God’s style, however, must be lived in community, which is another aspect being debated by the capitulants through four themes: rule of life, formation, ministry and communion of goods.

“So many times we see that some religious communities are a real hell, a hell of jealousy, of power struggle and where is love?”, asked the Pontiff, recalling the importance of witnessing love, which is what attracts people.

“I would like to emphasize that here too, in the work on these four aspects – among them interconnected – everything must be done in the docility of the Spirit, so that the necessary plans, projects and initiatives, all respond to the demands of evangelization.”

Francis concludes by blessing the Comboni Missionaries and wishing them a good continuation of the work.

The XIX General Chapter is in progress until the 30th of June, at the General House of the Institute, in Rome. The capitular participants are sixty-nine, plus four observers. There are 24 different nationalities: 30 Africans, 28 Europeans, 11 Americans. The countries of origin with the most capitulants are: Italy (13), Uganda (7), DR Congo (6), Mexico, Spain and Portugal.

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