Faithfulness of the Spirit to chart the course of the Church

Faithfulness of the Spirit to chart the course of the Church

Cardinal Cantalamessa, preacher of the Papal Household, delivered his fifth and final Lenten meditation this morning in the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City, in the presence of Pope Francis and the Roman Curia.

L'Osservatore Romano

On board a ship, it is not necessary for all passengers to “paste their ears to the ship's radio, to receive signals about the course, possible icebergs and weather conditions”; But they are “indispensable to the officials on board.”

Based on this eloquent image, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa – during the fifth and final sermon of Lent held this morning in the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City in the presence of Pope Francis – recalled the need to “maintain “listening ears” for the Church. “Suggestions” of the Holy Spirit: A Duty “ Important for every Christian,” but “vital to those who have governmental functions in the Church.” Only in this way, indeed, is “the Spirit of Christ Himself allowed to guide His Church through its human representatives.”

In the itinerary chosen for the theme of reflections on the discovery of the identity of Jesus through the Gospel of John, the Cardinal devotes this final stage to contemplation of what are usually called the “farewell discourses” of the Apostles. He particularly recalled Chapter 14 of the Gospel of John (3-6), which contains the phrase “Only one person in the world can speak and speak,” meaning: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “.

In fact, “Christ is the way and is the goal of the way.” Specifically, “As the Word of the Eternal Father, He is the truth and the life; and as the Word made flesh, He is the way.”

Pausing on this last image – having devoted his previous sermons to contemplating the “life” of Christ and “the truth” – Cardinal Cantalamessa observed that “Jesus continues to say to those he meets” what he said to the apostles and those he met during his earthly life:

“Come after me” or in the singular “Follow me!” He explained that following Christ is “a topic without limits.” About him, he wrote “the most beloved and read book in the church after the Bible, which is the book on imitating Christ.”

After all, following Jesus is “synonymous with believing in Him.” Faith, in fact, “is an attitude of mind and will.” But the image of “the road” highlights “an important aspect of faith, which is the “walk,” that is, the dynamism that should characterize the life of a Christian and the impact that faith should have on the conduct of life.” .

Cardinal Cantalamessa has investigated what distinguishes a follower of Christ and distinguishes it from any other type of follower of Christ, noting above all that an artist, philosopher, or writer, is said to have been “trained in the school of such or such.” What a famous teacher.”

But between this following and following Christ, he said: “There is a fundamental difference.” For all Christians, this word means something “more radical”: the Gospel “was given to us by the earthly Jesus, but the ability to observe it and put it into practice comes to us only from the risen Christ, through his Spirit.”

The cardinal noted that if Jesus is “the way,” then “the Holy Spirit is the guide.” Among the various functions that Jesus attributes to the Comforter “in his work for us,” the Cardinal places special emphasis on the function of “director.”

The reference here is to the “inspirations of the Spirit” – the so-called “good inspirations” – which are followed by “the shortest and surest path to holiness.” In fact, the preacher emphasized, “We do not know at the beginning what holiness God wants from each of us. Only God knows it and reveals it to us as the path progresses.”

Therefore, “man cannot limit himself to following general rules that apply to everyone; he must also understand what God requires of him, and only of him.” This is “discovered through life events, the word of Scripture, and the guidance of a spiritual director,” the cardinal emphasized.

But the main and ordinary means remain “inspirations of grace.” He explained that these are “the inner impulses of the soul in the depths of the heart, through which God not only reveals what He wants from us, but also gives us the necessary strength, and often even joy, to make it happen. If the person agrees.”

When it comes to “important decisions for oneself or others, inspiration must be provided and confirmed by authority, or by a godfather.” In fact, Cardinal Cantalamessa noted that “one puts oneself in danger if one relies only on one's own inspiration.”

The Cardinal also referred to the current experience of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, in the light of which it appears that this charisma consists of the ability of the group, or some in it, to “react effectively to a prophetic word, to a biblical word.” Quote or prayer.

In this way, “true and false prophecies are judged ‘by the fruits’ they produce, or do not produce, as Jesus commanded.” The preacher noted that this original meaning of the discernment of spirits “can be very relevant even today in discussions and meetings, such as those we are beginning to experience in the synodal dialogue.”

In the moral field, Cardinal Cantalamessa referred to the “fundamental criterion” of distinction that “is given by the coherence of the Spirit of God with itself.”

In conclusion, the preacher emphasized the “vital” task of receiving the inspirations of the Spirit for those who have a “leadership role in the Church,” and referred to Pope Roncalli and the Second Vatican Council.

He said: “It was precisely from divine inspiration, which Pope Saint John XXIII received with courage,” that this major conciliar event appeared. Thus, “other prophetic gestures were born after him, which will be realized – as the preacher adds – by those who come after us.”

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