On Saturday, Pope Francis said that the grace of the Holy Spirit is for everyone – something we must keep in mind as we continue to walk the path toward Christian unity through prayer and good works.
“Share with everyone in the Church Baptism in the Holy Spirit, praise the Lord without ceasing, walk together with Christians of different Churches and Christian communities in prayer and action for the most needy,” Pope Francis said June 3.
The grace of the Holy Spirit “is for the whole Church, not just for some, and none of us is the ‘master’ and all the others the servants. No. We are all serving this current of grace.”
Pope Francis addressed around 50,000 members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement during an ecumenical prayer vigil inside Rome’s Circus Maximus on June 3. The vigil was part of five days of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the movement.
The May 31-June 4 jubilee was organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.
Saturday night’s meeting with Pope Francis, on the eve of Pentecost, was preceded by praise and worship music, readings and testimonies. Papal preacher Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. also gave a meditation. On stage were leaders of the Charismatic Renewal and representatives of Evangelical, Pentecostal and other Christian churches.
During the encounter, the Pope reminded those present that they are in a privileged place for working toward Christian unity, something for which they should never stop striving.
The most precious gift we have all received, he explained, is our Baptism. “And now the Spirit leads us on the path of conversion that goes through the whole Christian world…”
Additionally, praising God should be accompanied by serving those in need.
“To serve the poorest and the sick, this is what the Church and the Pope are expecting from you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but from all of you, everyone, all of you who have entered this current of grace!”
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the movement is the perfect time, he said, to stop and reflect.
“And I would say to you: It is time to move forward with more force, leaving behind us the dust of time we have left to accumulate, giving thanks for what we have received and facing the new with faith in the action of the Holy Spirit!”
Today, he said, we are gathered in an open-air space, because we are not afraid and because our hearts are open to the promises of the Father. Together, we all profess that “Jesus is Lord.”
People may have come from many different parts of the world, but in the Holy Spirit, we are united, “to announce together the love of the Father for all his children! To announce the Good News to all peoples! To show that peace is possible.”
Showing to the world that peace is possible isn’t always so easy, the Pope continued, “but in the name of Jesus we can prove with our testimony that peace is possible!”
“Jubilee, cheerfulness, joy, fruit of the same action of the Holy Spirit! The Christian either experiences joy in his heart or there is something that does not work. The joy of announcing the Good News of the Gospel!”
Francis also commented on the unity found in the “ecumenism of blood,” a phrase he has used before, in speaking about the number of Christian martyrs there are today. When Christians are killed for their faith, he said, they aren’t asked, “Are you Orthodox? Are you a Catholic? Are you evangelical? Are you Lutheran? Are you a Calvinist?”
“Today, it is more urgent than ever before, the unity of Christians, united by the Holy Spirit, in prayer and action for the weak. Walk together, work together. Love each other,” he said.
“And now we are here and we are many!” he continued. “We have come together to pray together to ask for the coming of the Holy Ghost over each of us to go out into the streets of the city and the world to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”