そのうえで、「モーセのように、人々から上がる神への渇きと救いを求める叫びに耳を傾け、「『神を畏れる』人たちと、『神の民』の共同体を形成しながら、新しい『出エジプト」に挑戦しなくてはならなりません」と説かれ、「個人主義や、孤立、生きることの不安など、社会や小教区の中の人々が抱える問題に対し、『the revolution of tenderness （やさしさの革命）』をもって主任司祭はもとより、信者たち皆が取り組むこと。それによって、兄弟愛や、多くの人々の感受性、眼差し、人生体験によって小教区は豊かに花開いていくでしょう」と小教区の司祭、信徒の努力を求められた。
MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS WITH THE DIOCESE OF ROME Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano Monday, May 14th 2018
Dear brothers and sisters ,
work on spiritual diseases has had two fruits. First, a growth in the truth of our condition of needy, of sick, emerged in all the parishes and the realities that have been called to confront the spiritual diseases indicated by Mons. De Donatis. Secondly, the experience that from this adhesion to our truth did not come only discouragement or frustration, but above all the awareness that the Lord has not stopped using us mercy: in this journey He has enlightened us, sustained us, has initiated a path in some ways unprecedented communion among us, and all this because we can resume our journey behind Him. We have become more aware of being, in some respects and certain dynamics emerged from our verifications, a “non-people”. This word “non-people” is a biblical word, used as much by the prophets. A non-people called to once again make a covenant with the Lord.
Reading keys like these already bring us, even if only intuitively, to what was experienced by the people of the old covenant, which was the first to be led by God to become his people. We too can again let ourselves be enlightened by the paradigm of Exodus, which tells us just how the Lord chose and educated a people to join, to make it the instrument of his presence in the world.
As a paradigm for us, the experience of Israel requires a conjugation to become language, that is, to be understandable and to transmit and make something live to us today. The Word of God, the work of the Lord, looks for someone with whom to unite, to unite: our life. With these people that we are today, He will act with the same power with which he acted by freeing his people and giving them a new land.
The story of Exodus speaks of slavery, an exit, a passage, a covenant, a temptation / murmuration and an entrance. But it is a path of healing.
Beginning this new stage of an ecclesial path that in Rome does not start now but rather last two thousand years, it was important to ask – as we have done in recent months – what are slavery – diseases, slavery that take away freedom – that ended up making us sterile, just as Pharaoh wanted Israel without children, which in turn would generate. This “childless” makes me think of the capacity for fruitfulness of the ecclesial community. It’s a question I leave you. We should perhaps also identify who the Pharaoh is today: this power that claims to be divine and absolute, and which wants to prevent the people from worshiping the Lord, to belong to him, making him instead a slave to other powers and other concerns.
Will it be necessary to spend some time (perhaps a year?) Because, having humbly acknowledged our weaknesses and having shared them with others, we can feel and experience this fact: there is a gift of mercy and fullness of life for us and for all those who live in Rome. This gift is the good will of the Father for us: us as individuals and we as a people. It is his initiative, his precede us to testify that in Christ He has loved and loves us, who cares about our lives and we are not creatures abandoned to their destiny and their slavery. That everything is for our conversion and for our good: “On the other hand – as St. Paul says – we know that everything contributes to the good, for those who love God, to those who have been called according to his plan” ( Rom. 8:28).
The analysis of the diseases has highlighted a general and healthy fatigue of the parishes either to run empty or to have lost the way to go. Both are bad and bad attitudes. Turning empty is a bit like being in a maze; and losing the road is taking wrong roads.
Perhaps we have closed ourselves in ourselves and in our parish world because we have in fact neglected or not seriously taken into account the life of the people who had been entrusted to us (those of our territory, our environments of daily life), while the Lord always manifests itself by incarnating here and now , that is also precisely at this time so difficult to interpret, in this context so complex and apparently far from Him. He did not make a mistake by putting us here, at this time, and with these challenges before us.
Perhaps this is why we found ourselves in a condition of slavery, that is, of suffocating limitation, of dependence on things that are not the Lord; perhaps thinking that this was enough or even what he asked us to do: stay near the pot of meat, and knead bricks, which then serve to build the deposits of the Pharaoh, functional to the same power that exerts slavery.
We settled for what we had: ourselves and our “pots”. We ourselves: and here is the great theme of “the hypertrophy of the individual”, so present in the verifications: of the “I” who can not become a person, to live in relationships, and who believes that the relationship with others does not is necessary; and our “pots”: that is, our groups, our small belonging, which were revealed at the end to be self-referential, not open to the whole life. We have turned to concerns of ordinary administration, of survival. How many times do you hear this: “The priests are busy, they have to deal, they have to do this, this, this …”. And people perceive this. “He’s a good priest, but why do we let ourselves be caught in this crazy whirlwind?” It’s interesting.
It is a good thing that this situation has tired us out, it is a grace of God this weariness: it makes us want to go out.
And to go out, we need the call of God and the presence / company of our neighbor. We must listen without fear to our thirst for God and the cry that rises from our people in Rome, asking: in what sense does this cry express a need for salvation, that is, of God? How does God see and hear that cry? How many situations, among those that emerged from your checks, actually express that cry! The invocation that God shows us and draws us out of the impression (or from the bitter experience, the one that causes us to murmur) that our life is useless and expropriated by the frenzy of things to do and a time that continually escapes us the hands; expropriated by only utilitarian / commercial relationships and not free, by the fear of the future;
As you will have understood, I am inviting you to undertake another stage of the journey of the Church of Rome: in a certain sense a new exodus, a new departure, which renews our identity as God’s people, without regrets for what we must leave.
As I said, it will be necessary to listen to the cry of the people, as Moses was exhorted to do: knowing how to interpret, in the light of the Word of God, the social and cultural phenomena in which you are immersed. That is, learning to discern where He is already present, in very ordinary forms of holiness and communion with Him: meeting and accompanying you more and more with people who are already living the Gospel and friendship with the Lord. People who maybe do not do catechism, yet have been able to give a sense of faith and hope to the elementary experiences of life; that has already made the Lord become meaning of his existence, and precisely within those problems, those environments and those situations from which our ordinary pastoral care remains normally distant. I think now of Pua and Sifra,Ex 1.8-21). Even in Rome there are certainly women and men who interpret their everyday work as a work destined to give life to someone and not take it off, and it does so without particular mandates from anyone but because they “fear God” and serve it. . The life of the people of Israel owes much to those two women, as our Church owes much to people who remain anonymous but who have prepared the future of God. And the thread of history, the thread of holiness, is carried forward by people who we do not know: the anonymous ones, those who are hidden and carry on everything.
To do this it will be necessary that our communities become capable of generating a people – this is important, do not forget: Church with people, not Church without people – that is, able to offer and generate relationships in which our people can feel known, recognized, welcomed, well-liked, in short: non-anonymous part of a whole. A people in which we experience a quality of relationships that is already the beginning of a Promised Land, of a work that the Lord is doing for us and with us. Phenomena such as individualism, isolation, fear of existence, crushing and social danger …, typical of all the metropolises and also present in Rome, already have an effective tool for change in these communities. We must not invent anything else, we are already this tool that can be effective,the revolution of tenderness .
And if the leadership of a Christian community is the specific task of the ordained minister, that is, of the parish priest, pastoral careis incardinated in baptism, flourishes by fraternity and is not the sole task of the parish priest or priests, but of all the baptized. This widespread and multiplied care of relationships can also innervate a revolution of tenderness in Rome , which will be enriched by sensibilities, by looks, by the stories of many.
Keeping this as a first pastoral task, we can be the instrument through which we will experience the action of the Holy Spirit among us (cf. Rom 5 : 5), and let us see lives change (cf. Acts 4 : 32-35). As through the humanity of Moses God intervened for Israel, so the healed and reconciled humanity of Christians can be the instrument (almost the sacrament) of this action of the Lord who wants to free his people from all that does not-people , with its load of injustice and sin that generates death.
But we must look at this people and not ourselves , let ourselves be challenged and disturbed. This will certainly produce something new, unprecedented and wanted by the Lord.
There is a prior passage of reconciliation and awareness that the Church of Rome must do to be faithful to this call: that is to reconcile and take back a truly pastoral look – attentive, thoughtful, benevolent, involved – both towards itself and the its history, both to the people to whom it is sent.
I would like to invite you to spend some time on this: to make sure that this coming year is a sort of preparation of the backpack (or luggage) to start an itinerary of a few years that makes us reach the new land that the cloud column and fire will show us; that is to say, new conditions of life and pastoral action, more responsive to the mission and the needs of the Romans of our time; more creative and more liberating even for priests and for those more directly collaborating in the mission and building up of the Christian community. To no longer be afraid of what we are and of the gift we have, but to make it fruitful. The journey can be long: the people of Israel have spent 40 years. Do not be discouraged, keep going!
The Lord calls us because “let us go and bear fruit” (cf. Jn 15:16). In the plant, the fruit is that part produced and offered for the life of other living beings. Do not be afraid to bear fruit, to make you “eat” from the reality you will encounter, even if this “letting oneself be eaten” is very similar to one disappearing, one dying. Some traditional initiatives may need to be reformed or perhaps even ceased: we can do it only by knowing where we are going, why and with Chi.
I invite you to read also some of the difficulties and diseases that you have encountered in your communities: as a reality that perhaps are no longer good to eat, they can no longer be offered for someone’s hunger. Which does not mean at all that we can not produce anything anymore, but that we have to graft new shoots: grafts that will give new fruit. Courage and forward. Time is ours. Come on.