Posted November 06, 2013 in The Pope's Corner:
The Surprises of Jesus

by Pope Francis.

How can we communicate faith effectively today? I shall answer with just three words.

The first: Jesus. What is the most important thing? Jesus. If we forge ahead with our own arrangements, with other things, with beautiful things but without Jesus, we make no headway. It does not work ….

The second word is: prayer. Looking at the face of God, but above all … realizing that he is also looking at us. The Lord looks at us. He looks at us first. My experience is what I feel in front of the tabernacle, when I go in the evening to pray before the Lord.

Sometimes I nod off for a while; this is true, for the strain of the day more or less makes you fall asleep. But he understands. I feel great comfort when I think of the Lord looking at me.

We think we have to pray [with] talk, talk, talk…. No! Let the Lord look at you. When he looks at us, he gives us strength and helps us to bear witness to him….

First "Jesus", then "prayer"—let us think of God holding us by the hand. Then I would like to draw attention to this element: letting ourselves be led by him.

This is more important than any calculation. We are true evangelizers when we let him guide us.

Think of Peter; perhaps he was having a snooze when he had a vision, the vision of the sheet with all the animals, and he heard Jesus telling him something that he did not understand. At that moment, some non-Jews came to call him to go to a certain house and he saw that the Holy Spirit was there.

Peter let Jesus guide him to that first evangelization of the Gentiles, who were not Jews, something inconceivable at the time (cf. Acts 10:9-33).

So it has been, throughout history, throughout history! Letting ourselves be led by Jesus. He is our leader; our leader is Jesus.

And the third word: witness.… But I would like to add something. Letting oneself be led by Jesus leads to the surprises of Jesus.

We might think we should work out a program of evangelization carefully, thinking of strategies and making plans, but these are only tools, small tools. What matters is Jesus and letting ourselves be led by him. We can then plot our strategies but this is secondary.

Finally, witness: faith can only be communicated through witness, and that means love. Not with our own ideas but with the Gospel, lived out in our own lives and brought to life within us by the Holy Spirit. There is, as it were, a synergy between us and the Holy Spirit, and this leads to witness.

The Church is carried forward by the saints, who are the very ones who bear this witness. As both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have said, today’s world stands in great need of witnesses, not so much of teachers but rather of witnesses. It’s not so much about speaking, but rather speaking with our whole lives: living consistently….

Witness is what counts.

Excerpted from a talk to the ecclesial movements on the eve of Pentecost, May 18, 2013 at St. Peter’s Square.


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