Configure Yourselves to Christ – Pope to Pontifical Mexican College (FULL TEXT)
Also Entrusts Them to Mary & ‘Humble, Silent’ Saint Joseph
Pope with Pontifical Mexican College - Copyright: Vatican Media
Pope Francis received the Community of the Pontifical Mexican College in the Vatican’s Apostolic Vatican Palace on March 30, 2021. In his Spanish remarks, the Holy Father exhorted those before him to be ever more configured to Christ the Good Shepherd and to have genuine compassion.
“Present-day problems demand us priests,” Pope Francis underscored, “to configure ourselves with the Lord and the loving look with which He contemplates us. On conforming our look to His, our look is transformed into a look of tenderness, of reconciliation and of fraternity.”
Don’t Stay Still
“Only by allowing ourselves to be molded by Him,” the Holy Father said, does a priest’s pastoral charity intensify, where no one is excluded. “Moreover,” he said, “this impedes us from secluding ourselves at home, in the office or in pastimes, and encourages us to go out to encounter people, not to stay still.”
The Holy Father urged them to take “confident recourse to the Morenita, Mother of God and our Mother, and ask Her for what you need,” knowing she keeps them under her shadow and shelter.
“To Her and to Saint Joseph, who, with his humble and silent service, is model of participation in the redemptive mystery and whose Year we are celebrating,” Pope Francis prayed, “we ask that they take care of all Mexico’s clergy and the Community of this Pontifical Mexican College.”
“May the Lord bless you, and, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you,” he concluded.
Founded in 1967, the College was soon transformed from a seminary into a priestly community with the purpose of improving the permanent integral formation of Mexican priests sent to Rome by the local bishops.
Here is an Exaudi English translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the meeting.
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The Holy Father’s Address
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
With me today is the vivid memory of the meetings I had with the holy People of God, during my apostolic visit to Mexico in 2016, which in a certain way is renewed every year with the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican Basilica, and I greet all of you that constitute the Community of the Mexican College. I thank Father Victor Ulises Vasquez Moreno for the words he addressed to me in the name of those present. In it he highlighted some of the main challenges for the evangelization of Mexico and of the whole American Continent, particularly in the midst of the difficulties we are facing caused by the pandemic. These challenges resound profoundly in the present trajectory of permanent formation, which you are engaged in in Rome.
Present-day problems demand from us priests, to configure ourselves with the Lord and the loving look with which He contemplates us. On conforming our look to His, our look is transformed into a look of tenderness, of reconciliation and of fraternity.
I would like to highlight these three features. First of all, we need to have the look of tenderness with which our Father God sees the problems that afflict society: violence, social and economic inequalities, polarization, corruption and lack of hope, especially among the youngest. The Virgin Mary serves as an example to us who, with the tenderness of a Mother, reflects the affectionate love of God that welcomes everyone without distinctions. An ever more profound configuration with the Good Shepherd arouses in every priest genuine compassion, both for the sheep entrusted to him as well as for those that are lost. Only by allowing ourselves to be molded by Him does our pastoral charity intensify, where no one is excluded from our solicitude and prayer. Moreover, this impedes us from secluding ourselves at home, in the office or in pastimes, and encourages us to go out to encounter people, not to stay still.
In the second place, we also need to have a look of reconciliation. The social difficulties we are going through, the enormous differences and corruption call from us a look that makes us capable of weaving the different threads that have been weakened or have been cut, in the multi-coloured blanket of cultures that make up the nation’s social and religious fabric, paying attention especially to those that are rejected because of their Indian roots or their particular popular religiosity. We, Pastors, are called to help mend respectful and constructive relations between persons, human groups and cultures within the society, proposing to all “to let themselves be reconciled to God” (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20) and commit themselves to the reestablishment of justice.
Finally, our present time impels us to have a look of fraternity. The challenges we face are of such amplitude that they encompass the social fabric and the globalized and interconnected reality by the social networks and the media. Therefore, together with Christ Servant and Shepherd, we must be able to have a vision of the whole and of unity, which stimulates us to create fraternity, which enables us to make evident the points of connection and interaction at the heart of cultures and of the ecclesial community. A look that facilitates communion and fraternal participation, which encourages and guides the faithful to be respectful of our common home and builders of a new world, in collaboration with all men and women of good will. To be able to look thus, we need the light of faith and the wisdom of one who “removes his sandals” to contemplate the mystery of God and, from that perspective, to read the signs of the times. Therefore, in permanent formation it is indispensable to harmonize the academic, spiritual, human and pastoral dimension. And, at the same time, we need to be aware of our personal and community deficiencies, as well as the negligence and faults we must correct in our life. We are called not to underestimate the worldly temptations that can lead us to insufficient personal knowledge, self-referential attitudes, consumerism and the multiple ways of evading of our responsibilities.
Dear brothers and sisters, taking into account the need not to distract our look from Christ, the Suffering Servant, I ask you earnestly not to cease reflecting further on the roots of the faith you have received in your different particular Churches, which stem from a rich process of inculturation of the Gospel, of which Our Lady of Guadalupe is the model, whose image you venerate in the College’s chapel. She reminds us of the love of choice of her Son Jesus on making us sharers in His priesthood. Therefore take confident recourse to the Morenita, Mother of God and our Mother, and ask Her for what you need, knowing that She keeps us under Her shadow and shelter.
To Her and to Saint Joseph, who, with his humble and silent service, is model of participation in the redemptive mystery and whose Year we are celebrating, we ask that they take care of all Mexico’s clergy and the Community of this Pontifical Mexican College. May the Lord bless you, and, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Spanish] [Exaudi’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]