Ash Wednesday


Buenos Aires, February 25, 2004.
Ash Wednesday.

The priests, religious,
And lay faithful of the Archdiocese
Dear friends:

In 2003 I asked to spend the Archdiocesan Mission frailty care of our people, taking charge of it from the very fragility of Jesus, the Incarnate God, who became weak being strong, being rich became poor, was still great small (cf. Roman Missal). Thus in some communities have taken concrete: more prayer, gestures of closeness, solidarity tasks … In others there is little that has been done yet. But we can certainly say that in the Archdiocese is being installed this deep pastoral concern.

Will take care of the fragility of our people is a longing of magnanimity which can only nest in generous and caring hearts, simple and attentive.
Persevere in this regard will be the fruit of the grace of the Holy Spirit that drives us to be close to all lack and sustains us in pain and perseverance.

We live situations that discourage serious and often lead to discouragement. About them we reflected in each community ensuring that we touch the heart. Those who have not made the itinerary prepared by the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council please ask him to perform this year we all put in tune with this opening of the soul to take care of the fragility of our people. We will either go back to from within these weaknesses: p. eg. those that touch the life of faith (how many kids do not know how to pray!, how many young people without horizons …!), family life (the lack of dialogue, the abandoned elderly …), life social (unemployment, hunger, injustice …).

Facing the pain and disappointment Christians are called to hope. Unlike search fanciful illusion, but with confidence disciple and apostle of that “hope does not disappointed, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5 , 5). This hope is the anchor that is already fixed on the heavens and to which we cling to keep walking. Jesus himself comes to us for repeating ourselves calmly and firmly: “Be not afraid” (Mk 6, 50.) “I am with you until the end of the world” (Mt 28: 20) “Go and announce “(Mt. 28, 19). Go to proclaim, to be close to those who suffer fragility, fragile being yourself, you can only rely on the promise of the Risen Lord “I am with you always.” (Mt. 28, 20). And because we are not super-heroes or brave fighters who boast of their own forces blindly, we act with boldness characteristic of Jesus’ disciples, family members. Audacity of brothers of the Lord.

This year I ask you to work with such audacity, intense apostolic fervor. To take care of the fragility, our and our people, we want to walk boldly, that attitude that provoked the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and led them to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldness, courage, speak freely, apostolic fervor … all that is included in the word parrhesia, word that St. Paul means “freedom and courage of an existence, which is open in itself, because it is available to God and neighbor.” Paul VI mentioned among the obstacles to evangelization is precisely the lack of parrhesia: “the lack of fervor, the more serious because it comes from within. Such lack of fervor is manifested in fatigue, disenchantment, compromise the environment and the disinterest and all lack of joy and hope “(Ev. nunt., 80). John Paul II speaks of ardor, zeal, courage, missionary thrust. (Redemptoris Missio, 30, 67, 91). And we remember the disciples of Emmaus in his encounter with the Risen Lord: “Do not burn anything our heart, while he talked on the way?” (Luke 24, 32). Conviction in the work of the Spirit and ardor which the encounter with the living Christ. Conviction and ardor that are necessary in us, the disciples, both to take care of the frailties as to proclaim the Risen Christ.

We often feel fatigue and tiredness. We tempts the spirit of sloth, laziness. We also look at everything that needs to be done, and how little we are. As the apostles tell the Lord: “What are these for so many?” (John 6, 9), what are we to look so fragile? And there lies our strength precisely: in the humble confidence of one who loves and knows he is loved and cared for by the Father in humble confidence of those who know freely chosen and sent. The experience of San Pablo was carrying treasure in earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4, 7), and transmits it to all us us. . It is the look on himself and others. Not afraid to look the crock precisely because the treasure within him is based on Jesus Christ, and He is the courage, the audacity, the apostolic fervor.

Many times we pulled apart to stay in the comfort of the shore! But the Lord calls us to sail out to sea and cast nets in deeper waters (Luke 5, 4). It calls us to proclaim it boldly and apostolic fervor, to spend our lives in His service. Clinging to encourage us to follow Him closely, each of us putting our charisms to serve the community in archdiocesan Church. We will use various pastoral instruments harmonized by our Pastoral Plan which ends at the end of a new stage this year, with the actions proposed for the 2002-2004 triennium. In the Episcopal Council have seen fit to make a Diocesan Assembly in 2005, allowing us to grow in the sense of ecclesial and participate in redefining our Pastoral Plan, taking into account the guidelines of “Surf Mar Adentro”. I have asked the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council to develop a way of preparing for the Assembly.

Let me conclude by once again urging the apostolic fervor with the words of Paul VI: “preserve the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when you have to sow in tears. Let’s do as
John the Baptist, for Peter and Paul, for the other apostles and for a multitude of splendid evangelizers have happened throughout the history of the Church-an interior enthusiasm that nobody and nothing can quench. May it be the great joy of our consecrated lives. And may the world today … enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor of those who first received in themselves the joy of Christ and accept devote his life to the task of announcing the kingdom of God and establish the Church in the world “(Ev. nunt. 80).

I pray that we all feel compelled by their love (2 Cor. 5, 14) and can say with St. Paul, “Woe to me if I do not evangelize”! (1 Cor. 9, 16). The Mother of the Lord, he experienced the peculiar heaviness of heart (Redempt. Mater., 17), accompany and sustain us in our daily trials and obtain for us the grace of boldness evangelizing and apostolic zeal.

I ask, please pray for me. With fraternal affection,

Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.

Posted in 2004

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