Greeting members of Catholic Action France, Pope Francis recalled their tradition of coming to meet the Pope going back to the time of Pope Pius XI, reported Vatican News.
The Association has chosen “Apostles today” as its theme for this pilgrimage to Rome, and with this in mind, Pope Francis reflected on the “call to be effective apostles today.”
The Pope noted that when the disciples walk with Jesus “they begin by recalling the events they have experienced; then they recognize the presence of God in those events; finally, they act by returning to Jerusalem to announce the resurrection of Christ.”
Pope Francis then focused his attention on, what he called, three stages: See, judge, act.
“Seeing,” said the Pope, is the first basic stage, which consists of “stopping to observe the events that make up our lives, what constitutes our history, our family, cultural, and Christian roots.”
Stressing the importance of memory, Pope Francis dwelt on his encyclical “Fratelli tutti” which he said, “begins with a look at the sometimes worrying situation in our world. It may seem a little pessimistic, but it is necessary in order to move forward.”
Focusing his attention on the second stage, to judge or discern, the Pope said that this “is the moment in which we allow ourselves to be questioned and challenged.”
“The key to this stage is the reference to Sacred Scripture. It is a matter of accepting that one’s life is subjected to the scrutiny of the Word of God,” he explained.
The Pope went on to say, “In the encounter between the events of the world and of our lives, on the one hand, and the Word of God, on the other, we can discern the appeals that the Lord makes to us.”
During his address, Pope Francis noted that Catholic Action movements “have developed, in their history, true synodal practices, especially in group life,” which is the basis of their experience.
He noted that “the Church as a whole is also engaged in a synodal process,” and that their contribution was needed.
“Let us remember, in this regard, that synodality is not a simple discussion, or the search for majority consensus, in the manner of a parliament…It is a style to be adopted, in which the main protagonist is the Holy Spirit, who expresses Himself first and foremost in the Word of God, read, meditated upon, and shared together,” the Pope said.
Arriving at the third stage: acting, the Pope described how the Gospel teaches that action should always have God’s initiative.
“Our role is, therefore, to support and encourage God’s action in hearts, adapting to the reality that is constantly evolving,” he said.
Pope Francis noted that the times we live in today are not the same as they were even a few years ago.
“Today, especially in Europe,” he pointed out, “those who attend Christian movements are more skeptical about institutions, they seek less demanding and more fleeting relationships.”
He continued by saying, young people especially “are more sensitive to affectivity, and therefore more vulnerable, more fragile than previous generations, less rooted in faith, but nevertheless in search of meaning and truth, and no less generous.”
In conclusion, the Pope told the members of the movement that it was their mission as Catholic Action to reach out to these people as they are, to make them grow in the love of Christ and their neighbor, and “to lead them to a greater concrete commitment, so that they may be protagonists in their own lives and in the life of the Church, so that the world may change.”