Martes, 08 de noviembre de 2016

Palabras del cardenal Fernando Filoni, Prefecto de la Congregación para la Evangelización de los Pueblos, en la homilía de la misa que celebró ayer por la mañana, 7 de noviembre, en la capilla del monasterio de las Clarisas en Lilongwe. (FIDES)


Visit of His Eminence Card. Filoni to Malawi

3-7 November 2016

Homily at the Poor Clare’s Monastery, Lilongwe, Malawi

Monday, 7 November 2016

Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Seeking the Merciful Face of God


Dear Sisters,

I am very happy to be able to offer Mass in this Monastery of dedicated Poor Clares. In the words of Pope Francis, communities like yours, “set like cities on a hill or lamps on a stand (Mt 5:14-15),…visibly represent the goal towards which the entire ecclesial community journeys.”[1] I thank you for your witness to consecrated life, as well as your exemplary work and the continual prayers offered as a contribution to this local Church. My time with you today confirms what I had already heard through the Nuncio, that this Monastery is a guiding-light and a beacon of spirituality, a flowering of local vocations with the mission to provide prayerful support each day for the work of evangelization that takes place on the other side of these walls.[2] This is a great gift to the Church in Malawi. As the Holy Father’s Special Envoy on the occasion of the Consecration of the Cathedral in Karonga and in my capacity as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I would like to take this opportunity to convey to all of you the support, personal greeting and Apostolic Blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis.

The Responsorial Psalm for today’s liturgy speaks of the longing in the heart of God’s people to see His face. The Psalmist first asks, “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?” He responds by saying that those who seek His face, those who strive for holiness with a clean heart, will indeed “receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior.” The longing in our hearts to see God’s face in a “dialogue of love with the Creator” is common to “all men and women who, drawn by a passionate desire for happiness and fulfilment, never remain fully satisfied.”[3] However, “In seeking God, we quickly realize that no one is self-sufficient.”[4] In our “pilgrimage of seeking the true God” we need the presence of others to show us the joy of seeking God’s face and to guide us on our journey to the Lord. This is the great role of the contemplative life, of which Pope Francis recently wrote in his Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere. You have listened to the Spirit and chosen to dedicate your lives to Christ in a life that “produces a rich harvest of grace and mercy.”[5]

However, as our Holy Father points out, “The great challenge faced by consecrated persons is to persevere in seeking God…and to continue to offer…Christ’s life of chastity, poverty and obedience as a credible and trustworthy sign, thus becoming a ‘living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word.’”[6] The vocation to consecrated life is a demanding one that needs to be sustained daily through prayer. In this regard, it is precisely the Gospel that reminds us of when the disciples of Jesus, who faced difficult and, at times, terrifying situations, asked him, “Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5). This was considered the “most profound prayer of the heart” by the desert fathers in Egypt, members of that most ancient form of religious life. This humble request for deeper faith is like the simple but true invocation of a baby when he asks his mother to provide much-needed food or water. And it was the intimate prayer of the heart of St. Francis and St. Clare, from whom you, dear sisters, must draw inspiration in your daily encounter with Jesus.

The challenges of community life will be overcome, as Pope Francis points out, through good spiritual formation, silence and prayer: the prayerful reading of God’s word, the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. Do not forget: your common life together is meant to be a reflection of the love of the Holy Trinity.[7] I urge you to always be generous with one another in granting forgiveness. We are required to be merciful because we are, first, the recipients of Mercy. Never tire of seeking forgiveness and “never tire of forgiving: forgive always.”[8]

         My dear sisters, it is good to be with you today as together we seek the merciful face of God. I once again thank you, using the very words of our Holy Father, for “without you what would the Church be like…The Church greatly esteems your life of complete self-giving. The Church counts on your prayers and on your self-sacrifice to bring today’s men and women to the good news of the Gospel. The Church needs you!”[9] May Mary, humble and faithful disciple, most caring Mother, Saint Clare and the African Saints be ever at your side encouraging you to never stop joyfully seeking God’s face. God bless you!


[1] Pope Francis, Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere, On Women’s Contemplative Life, n. 2.

[2] Cf. “Appunti per la Visita ‘Ad Limina Apostolorum’ dei Vescovi del Malawi”, 05-12 novembre 2014 (Prot. N. 3503/14), p. 23.

[3] Pope Francis, Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere, On Women’s Contemplative Life, n. 1.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Loc. cit., n. 5.

[6] Pope Francis, Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere, On Women’s Contemplative Life, n. 2.

[7] Cf. John Paul II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, n. 41.

[8] Pope Francis, “Meditazione mattutina nella cappella della Domus Sanctae Marthae”, Scandalosi cristiani, 10 November 2014.

[9] Pope Francis, Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere, On Women’s Contemplative Life, n. 6.

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