Blessed are those who believe and who have the courage to foster encounter and communion

During his first Mass in Bucharest, Francis stressed the value of “walking together”, noting that “Often problems of faith have little to do with a shortage of means and structures, of quantity, or even the presence of those who do not accept us; they really have to do with a shortage of joy.” What is more, “we reduce everything to our own problems. We forget that we are not orphans, for we have a Father in our midst, a powerful saviour.”

Jun 13, 2019

BUCHAREST: Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass in St Joseph Catholic Cathedral May 31. The service was centred on “walking together”. In his homily, the pontiff said “Blessed are those who believe and who have the courage to foster encounter and communion,” where “all are sought out, because all are needed to reveal the Lord’s face.”

Earlier in the day, the Holy Father visited Bucharest’s People’s Salvation Orthodox Cathedral.

Taking his cue from today’s observance, the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Francis spoke about “Mary’s journeys … from Nazareth to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth. It is the first of Mary’s journeys, as related by the Scriptures.

The first of many. She will journey from Galilee to Bethlehem, where Jesus will be born; she will go down to Egypt to save her Child from Herod; she will go up again every year to Jerusalem for the Passover (cf. Lk 2:31), and ultimately, she will follow Jesus to Calvary. These journeys all have one thing in common: they were never easy; they always required courage and patience. They tell us that Our Lady knows what it means to walk uphill, she knows what it means for us to walk uphill, and she is our sister at every step of the way.

“Contemplating Mary enables us to turn our gaze to all those many women, mothers and grandmothers of these lands who, by their quiet sacrifices, devotion and self-denial, are shaping the present and preparing the way for tomorrow’s dreams. Theirs is a silent, tenacious and unsung sacrifice; they are unafraid to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and shoulder difficulties for the sake of their children and families, ‘hoping against hope’ (Rm 4:18).”

When Mary visited Elizabeth, “the younger woman goes to meet the older one, seeking her roots, while the older woman is reborn and prophetically foretells the future of the younger one. Here, young and old meet, embrace and awaken the best of each. It is a miracle brought about by the culture of encounter.”

“This is the culture of encounter; it urges us, as Christians, to experience the miraculous motherhood of the Church as she seeks out, protects and gathers her children. In the Church, when different rites meet, when the most important thing is not one’s own affiliation, group or ethnicity, but the People that together praise God, then great things take place. Again, let us state it emphatically: Blessed are those who believe (cf. Jn 20:29) and who have the courage to foster encounter and communion.” -- AsiaNews

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