By editor - 15 August, 2016
Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern that the Church risks becoming a body made up of lukewarm Christians and he said it needed the Holy Spirit’s fire to renew it.
Stressing that this fire begins in hearts, the Pope told pilgrims gathered for his weekly Angelus address, “If we open ourselves completely to the action of the Holy Spirit, He will give us the courage and the fervour to announce Jesus and his consoling message of mercy and salvation to everybody, navigating in the open seas without fear.”
He said Christ wants the Holy Spirit “to set alight our hearts and make us capable of loving.”
This fire, he explained, “has a creative strength that purifies and renews… it burns up every human misery, every egoism, every sin, it transforms us from within, it regenerates us.”
In carrying out its mission in the world, the Pope stressed that the Church “needs the help of the Holy Spirit to not be held back through fear and calculation, to not get used to walking within safe boundaries.”
Departing from his prepared text, he warned that these two attitudes lead the Church “to becoming an administrative or bureaucratic Church that never takes risks.”
Instead, he said, the “Apostolic courage that the Holy Spirt ignites in us like a fire helps us to surmount walls and barriers, it makes us creative and it spurs us to set forth, journeying along unexplored or uncomfortable roads, offering help to whoever we encounter.”
Now more than ever, the Pope continued, there’s a need for priests, consecrated people and lay Christians to feel compassion and reach out like good neighbours to others, “those who are suffering, the needy, the many human miseries and problems, the refugees.”
Pointing to the example of those priests, men and women religious and lay people who throughout the world announce the gospel with great love and faithfulness, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, Pope Francis said “their exemplary witness reminds us that the Church doesn’t need bureaucrats and diligent office workers but impassioned missionaries consumed by the ardour of bringing to all people the consoling words of Christ.”
This, he declared, “is the fire of the Holy Spirit. If the Church doesn’t receive this fire and doesn’t allow it to enter inside, it becomes a cold or merely lukewarm Church, incapable of giving life, because it is made up of cold and lukewarm Christians.”
He urged his listeners to reflect on whether their hearts are capable of receiving this fire.
Separately, Pope Francis has been making sure Rome’s homeless get some sort of a summer holiday by treating them to trips to the beach followed by dinner in a pizzeria.
Around 100 homeless people have taken advantage of the Pontiff’s generosity so far, with the Pope himself even serving the pizza on occasion.
The seaside outings were revealed by the Pope’s almsgiver, Mgr Konrad Krajewski, who explained he drives a van of 10 people daily on the 20 mile trip from Rome to Passo Oscuro.
There, he explains that the homeless can enjoy a dip in the sea or sunbathe, with the Vatican supplying swimsuits and beach towels.
Then on the way home from the outing, they stop off at a pizzeria to make sure the homeless have a good meal before they return to Rome.