Letter to Priests of the Archdiocese

Buenos Aires, 1 October 1999

Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Dear Brothers

Within a few weeks will begin the Advent season: this year will be the start to the Jubilee liturgy. The desire to let us visit by the Lord at His coming acquires a singular force in the light of this event. At Christmas will open the Holy Door and, foreseeing this gesture resonates in my heart the oft-repeated invitation of the Pope: “Open the doors to the Redeemer” (Aperite slides, No. 1), “Open the door to Christ” (Redemptoris Missio , nn. 3.39). So we have to find the Nativity of the Lord, “like men waiting for their master to come … that will instantly open” (Lc.13: 36). This letter that I write to you exhorting born of desire, as a pastor and brother, he opened the doors to the Lord: the door of the heart, the doors of the mind, the doors of our churches … all doors. Opening doors is Christian task, priestly task.

So did Jesus, we read in the Gospel. At the beginning of his mission, he has “opened the book of the prophet Isaiah …” (Luke 4: 17), and so ends the book of Revelation as the Lamb slain, as the Lion of Judah, “the only one worthy of open the scroll and break its seals “(Apoc.5: 2.9). Risen Jesus is the “open minds” of the disciples of Emmaus “to understand the Scriptures” (Lc.24: 45) and reminds them: “Do not burn anything our hearts while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lc.24: 32). In order to this openness to the Word directed many miracles: “Jesus touched the eyes of two blind eyes were opened” (Mt.9: 30), “said the deaf ‘Ephphatha’, meaning open yourself, and opened their ears “(Mc.7: 34). When Jesus “opened his mouth” is the Kingdom of Heaven opening in parables: “He opened his mouth, Jesus taught them” (Mt 5: 2), “I will open my mouth in parables” (Mt.13 : 35). When Jesus was baptized, and humble themselves, when put into sentence (LC.3: 21) opens the sky and heard the voice of the loving Father: “This is my beloved Son” (Matt.3: 16). And it is the Lord who calls us: “Call and it will be opened” (Lc.11: 9), and the Church prays “that God may open a door to his word” (Col.4: 3), because ” if he opens no one can shut “(Rev. 3: 7). The invitation clearly and definitively that concentrates entirely personal so all overtures of the Lord is that of the letter to Laodicea: “If anyone opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me” (Rev. 3 : 20).

Opening today is considered a value, although it is not always well understood. “It’s an open cure” people say, opposing it to “a priest closed”. Like any assessment, depends on who makes it. Sometimes, on a superficial assessment, openness can mean “one that lets anything” or “that is canchero”, which is “starched”, “rigid”. But behind some positions that are more a matter of skin, hides background always something that people perceive. Being open means a priest “who is able to listen but to stand firm in their convictions.” Once a man of the people I defined a priest saying a simple sentence: “It is a priest who talks to everyone.” No respecter of persons, he meant. He was struck that could speak “well” with each person and clearly distinguished both only speak well with some, and those who speak with everyone saying yes to everything.

This is because the opening goes with fidelity. And loyalty is proper that one movement by which, on the one hand opens the door of the heart entirely to the beloved and, second, is closing that door to anyone who threatens that love. Hence, opening the door to the Lord implies abrírsela those He loves: the poor, the young, the wayward sinners … Anyone, really. And cerrársela the “idols”: the easy compliment to worldly glory, to the lusts, power, wealth, defamation and-insofar as they embody these disvalues-people who want to enter our heart or in our communities to impose.

Besides being faithful, the attitude of opening or closing the door has to be testimonial. Testify that, in the last day, there will be a door that opens to some: the blessed of the Father, which gave food and drink to the little ones, those who maintained their lamp oil, which practiced Word … and closes to others: do not let him out of his heart to the needy, those who remained free of oil, which only said “Lord, Lord” not love in word and works.

Thus, the opening is not a matter of talk but of gestures. People talking cure translates to “always” and that “there is never” (charitably putting the “I know you’re busy Father because he has so many things …”). The opening is played evangelical input places: at the door of the church, in a world where shopping never close, can not remain closed for many hours, even if you pay down the confessional surveillance and more often, in that door is the phone, tiring and inconvenient supercomunicado in our world, but she can not get long hours at the mercy of an answering machine. But these are rather external doors and “media”. They are an expression of that other door that is our face, who are our eyes, our smile, a little step ralentar and encouraged to look at that we know is waiting … In the confessional one knows that half the battle is won or lost in the greeting, in the way to receive the penitent, especially when giving a peek and has a gesture as if to say “I can?”. A host frank, cordial, warm finishes opening a soul to the Lord and made him look out the peephole. Instead, a cold reception, rushed or bureaucratic closes makes it ajar. We know that we confess in different ways according to the priest who touch us … and people too.

A cute picture to examine our openness is our home. There are houses that are open because “at peace”, because they are hospitable warmth. Not so ordered that one is afraid to sit (not to mention smoking or eating something) and so disordered that they cringe. Same with the heart, the heart that has room for the Lord is also space for others. If there is time and place for the Lord then the place to the other is reduced to the extent of the nerves themselves, of their own enthusiasm or own weariness. And the Lord is like the poor comes without insisting we call it a bit, but not far if we keep him. It’s easy to get rid of him. Just rush a little step, as beggars or to look the other way as when the kids leave us little picture on the subway.

Yes, openness to others goes hand in our openness to the Lord. Is He the open heart, the one who can open a space for peace in our hearts, the peace that we become hospitable to others. That is the job of the risen Jesus in the Upper Room enter closed that once home, heart image, and open it by removing all fear and filled the disciples of peace. At Pentecost the Spirit seals with this peace the home and hearts of the Apostles and converts Open House at Church. The Church is like the open house of the merciful Father. Therefore, our attitude should be that of the Father and the sons of a parable or smaller than the opening advantage to make their getaway, or of greater thought to his inheritance closure care better than their own father.

Open the doors to the Lord! Today is the order that I want to do all the priests of the Archdiocese. Open your doors! Those of his heart and its Churches. Do not be afraid! Ábranlas morning in prayer, to receive the Spirit of peace and joy fill out and then shepherd the faithful people of God. Ábranlas during the day to sit prodigal sons expected. Ábranlas evening, for the Lord will not pass you by and leave your solitude but in and eat with you and them company.

And always remember that which is Heaven’s Gate: open heart to the sword, encompassing all sorrows to the Father who knows little slave opened entirely to praise the leaving of it “promptly” to visit and comfort, to know that transform any home den of “God with us” with some poor nappies and a mountain of tenderness which is always careful to not miss the wine in our lives to those who wait out to make way for the Lord to instruct his people which is always in the open wherever men raise a cross and crucify their children. Our Lady is Mother, and as a mother-knows-open the hearts of their children: everything is left hidden sin forgiven by God through his good eye, everything dissolves whim and enclosure at a word from him, all fear for mission dissipates if she joins us on the way.

I ask her to bless us all of us, priests of this archdiocese and tenderly as a mother, we get taught every day to open the doors to the Redeemer. With fraternal affection.


Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in 1999

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