Vatican City, Oct 6, 2019 / 04:06 am (CNA).- At the opening Mass for the Amazon synod Sunday, Pope Francis prayed that the Holy Spirit would give the bishops prudence, wisdom, and discernment to help the Church in the Pan-Amazonian region be renewed by the fire of faith.
“Prudence is not indecision; it is not a defensive attitude,” he said in St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 6. “It is the virtue of the pastor who, in order to serve with wisdom, is able to discern, to be receptive to the newness of the Spirit.”
“Fidelity to the newness of the Spirit is a grace that we must ask for in prayer. May the Spirit, who makes all things new, give us his own daring prudence; may he inspire our Synod to renew the paths of the Church in Amazonia, so that the fire of mission will continue to burn.”
The Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian region is taking place at the Vatican Oct. 6-27. Bishops, priests, lay experts, and religious men and women, will meet to discuss issues of importance to the Church in the Amazon, including a lack of priestly vocations, ecological challenges, and obstacles to evangelization.
Present at the Mass Oct. 6 were the synod fathers and the 13 cardinals created in a consistory Oct. 5.
In his homily, Pope Francis pointed to the Old Testament episode of the burning bush to show that “God’s fire burns, yet does not consume.”
“It is the fire of love that illumines, warms and gives life, not a fire that blazes up and devours. When peoples and cultures are devoured without love and without respect, it is not God’s fire but that of the world,” he said, condemning the times people have colonized others instead of evangelizing them.
“May God preserve us from the greed of new forms of colonialism,” he continued. “The fire set by interests that destroy, like the fire that recently devastated Amazonia, is not the fire of the Gospel. The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity.”
Francis reflected on St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, in which the apostle says: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.”
Addressing bishops, the pope said they are not bureaucrats and their episcopal ordination is not an employment contract, but “a gift of God.”
This gift, he explained, is for service of others, not for personal gain. “We received a gift so that we might become a gift.”
“To be faithful to our calling, our mission, Saint Paul reminds us that our gift has to be rekindled,” the pope stated, adding that the status quo smothers the missionary fire.
There is also, he said, a kind of destructive “fire” that wants everything and everyone to be the same. It “blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas, for their own group, wipe out differences…””
Instead, “the fire that rekindles the gift is the Holy Spirit, the giver of gifts.”
He quoted St. Paul again, who says, “do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, but take your share of suffering for the Gospel in the power of God.”
“Paul asks Timothy to bear witness to the Gospel, to suffer for the Gospel, in a word, to live for the Gospel,” he said. “To preach the Gospel is to live as an offering, to bear witness to the end, to become all things to all people (cf. 1 Cor 9:22), to love even to the point of martyrdom.”
Praising especially those martyrs who died in the Amazon, he said, “for them, and with them, let us journey together.”
After Mass, Pope Francis led a traditional Marian prayer, the Angelus, from a window in the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
He reflected on the day’s Gospel passage, which contains the apostles’ request to Jesus to “increase our faith.”
“A beautiful prayer, which we must pray a lot during the day,” the pope commented.
He explained that in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gives his disciples two images of faith: the mustard seed and the willing servant.
Jesus “wants to make it understood that faith, even if small, can have the strength to uproot even a mulberry tree; and then to transplant it into the sea, which is something even more unlikely,” Francis explained, with reference to Jesus’ words in the Gospel passage.
“But nothing is impossible for those who have faith,” the pope continued, “because they do not rely on their own strength, but on God, who can do everything.”
He said the faith of a mustard seed is a faith that is humble in its acceptance of its own littleness and need for God, abandoning itself to him with complete trust.
“It is faith that gives us the ability to look with hope at the alternating vicissitudes of life, which helps us to accept defeats and suffering, in the awareness that evil never has, will never have the last word,” he stated.
The measure of this kind of faith is service, having the “attitude of availability of the servant,” he continued.
“This attitude towards God is also reflected in the way of behaving in community: it is reflected in the joy of being at the service of one another, finding in this its own reward and not in the recognitions and the gains that can be derived from it.”
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Liberating the colonized and evangelizing the colonizers is an exciting challenge.
From all reports, this synod is about converting the “colonizers” – as you call them – to the paganism of the Amazonians, who were never evangelized (or colonized) in the first place.
True! True! True! The Truth will set us free from all this deranged farce! That’s what being True Catholics is all about! Staying strong in Reality and Absolute Truth!
What a total socialist/communist/anti-Catholic farce! You say, “Liberating the colonized and evangelizing the colonizers is an exciting challenge’. Where are those colonizers? Where are their colonies? Aren’t they long dead? Are the Spanish, Portuguese, English, etc. still walking around like zombies in their ghost ships trying to colonize somebody? Pirates of the Caribbean all over again? Did the USA send some colonizers there? Aren’t the true modern colonizers actually Brazilian socialists oppressing the natives for profit?
What these people of the Amazonia are suffering is what all of South America is suffering: the “New” Socialist/Communist/anti-Catholic Colonizers which hide as False Saviors behind long gone colonization and using the suffering natives as human shields to impose their most atrocious and destructive colonization (see Venezuela) on those countries and also to infiltrate, corrupt and control the Catholic Church, their biggest obstacle.
As usual for socialists/communists/anti-Catholics, they hide behind people’s suffering to impose a much higher degree of colonization and tyranny than any before ever in history. What a total farce! And the Pope dares say he is not a socialist or communist when he acts just like them and using their very own sentimentalist deceptions and strategies which he now dresses in “holy”, evangelical Catholic verbiage! Talk about socialist/communist wolves dressed as Catholic sheep!
Dr Coelho I admire your positive posts on every article although like others question your lack of assessment of issues the Church is deeply concerned with. For example Cardinal Gerhard Müller a noted theologian former prefect CDF expresses those concerns, “The Synod on the Amazon has begun. ‘But it will have consequences for the universal Church,’ warns Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in a lengthy interview with Matteo Matzuzzi for the newspaper Il Foglio released on the very day of the opening of the work. ‘If one listens to the voices of some of the protagonists of this assembly, one understands easily that the agenda is entirely European.’ European, and above all German. Also in Germany, in fact, there has been launched a ‘synodal path’ that will take its cue from the Amazon in order to reform nothing less than the universal Church, a synod in which the laity will have numbers and votes on a par with the bishops, a synod whose resolutions will be ‘binding’ and will concern the end of priestly celibacy, the ordination of women, the reform of sexual morality, and the democratization of powers in the Church. ‘The mission of Peter, and of his successors consists in uniting all believers in faith in Christ, who did not recommend involvement with the waters of the Jordan or the vegetation of Galilee’” (Excerpts of Cardinal Müller and commentary by Sandro Magister L’Espresso 10.8.19). If you are indeed a prof at the Louvain your assessment of these remarks by the Cardinal would be a welcome contribution.
Yeah, imagine those nasty “colonizers” trying to teach those pure and innocent “colonized” people (by who exactly?) that burying their inconvenient children alive is a wrong kind of thing to do. Imagine.
And imagine the “daring prudence” of all the world’s prelates just shutting up about it rather than express moral outrage. Imagine.
A very good idea, passed on to me by a friend, would be for the Pope to lead the bishops of the world to the Amazon region where they would divide into teams and spend a year in missionary activity. I bet, that in a years time, they could proselytize (oops, bad word) those people into accepting the only faith that can save and inspire many vocations. Problem solved!
So well said!!
You’re assuming that the Bishops possess faith in Almighty God, the Bride of Christ and Her teachings.
We have had two popes come and go since a campaign for “The New Evangelization” was introduced. Meanwhile, the Pentecostals in South America have actually evangelized. The Catholics? Their leaders have convened synods, soft-pedalled teachings, and hyped policy initiatives. The results will speak for themselves.
The South American Pentecostals are your great example of “evangelization”? Whoa! Where do you get your information? I have both been in personal contact as a former Pentecostal myself, and have talked to plenty of both present Pentecostals and ex-Pentecostals, and all agree that the branches of Pentecostalism in South America and the Caribbean are among the very worst of the worst, vicious, ruthless and hatefully anti-Catholic. They don’t evangelize, they predate on people’s ignorance, emotions, feelings, prejudices and personal wounds and suffering.
They quickly associate with the most corrupt and influential politicians in their area for political support, protection and cover to squash the Catholic Church and any other opponents. Now many of their groups all over South America have adopted Osteenism (from Pastor Joel Osteen’s Prosperity Gospel) and are coldly and heartlessly draining the little finances of these poor people toward their bank accounts. If you see South American/Caribbean Pentecostals as an example of great evangelization, you are either seriously deceived, a deceiver or both. Whatever serious disasters happen in the Catholic Church, I will never leave it, as only Jesus through the True Catholic Church has Words of Eternal Life!! Jesus illustrated this very well in John 6:67-68. Infinitely better to live in “defeat” with Jesus than in “success” with Pentecostals!
“Meanwhile, the Pentecostals in South America have actually evangelized.”
Sadly, this is true.
Daring prudence? Wasn’t that on the White Album?
I would be happy if Pope Francis dared to be prudent. Or just find some of that discernment he boasts about.
So, anyone who objects to all this spirit lead change is not listening to the Holy Spirit. What spirit is directing all of this? Certainly not the Holy Spirit, that descended on the apostles at Pentecost as tongues of fire. They are all fooling themselves. They are fanning a fire that may just consume them and because of it the Church will suffer. We who seek to challenge this will be labeled rigid and will be called schismatic. How many faithful Catholics will be persecuted and burned by this spirit lead church? How many people will be lead to worship this most ancient and menacing fire? It is terrifying.