“To what point will we be able to propose with credibility the good news on the family,” Pope Francis wondered this evening at a prayer vigil at St. Peters’s on the eve of the opening of the extraordinary synod on the family.
The Gospel has the salvation that “fills man’s most profound needs,” he asserted, painting a picture of those who in the evening hours of the day find love and acceptance in a family, as well as those who in these hours, feel loneliness most bitterly.
The Church is entrusted with the task of proclaiming this Gospel of salvation, the Pope suggested. It is the sign and instrument of this salvation, the Pontiff continued. It makes it present as the “living and effective sacrament.”
Thus the Pope voiced three prayers for the synod fathers, charged with this mission:
“From the Holy Spirit we ask […] first of all, the gift of listening: listening to God, until we breathe the will to which God calls us,” he said.
He then requested a “willingness for a sincere discussion, open and fraternal, which leads us to take charge with pastoral responsibility of the questions that this change of time bears with it.”
The Pope reflected on the history of the Church, beset by similar challenges “that our fathers were able to overcome with obstinate patience and creativity.”
Thirdly, the Holy Father prayed that the synod fathers might keep their gaze fixed on Christ. “Because if we really intend to verify our step on the terrain of the contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to maintain our gaze fixed on Jesus Christ – Lumen Gentium — to remain in contemplation and adoration of His face.”
“May the wind of Pentecost blow on the Synodal works, on the Church, on the whole of humanity,” Pope Francis prayed in conclusion. “May it loose the knots that impede persons from encountering one another, may it heal bleeding wounds, and rekindle hope.
“May it grant that creative charity that makes us love as Jesus loved. Then our proclamation will rediscover the vivacity and dynamism of the first missionaries of the Gospel.”