Jan 01
The Joy of the Gospel from Pope Francis
“Christian life is to serve”. It is very sad, to see “Christians who at the start of their conversion or of their awareness of being Christian, serve, are open to service; they serve the People of God”, but then wind up using them instead. This does great harm to the People of God. Our vocation is to ‘serve’, not to ‘make use of’. (…) Often when we need some spiritual grace, we say: ‘Well, now I will fast, do penance, pray a novena…’ Fine, but be careful: this is not done to ‘pay’ or ‘buy’ grace. We do it to open our hearts so that grace might enter. Grace is freely given.” (…) “In our spiritual life we always run the risk of slipping up on the question of payment, even when speaking with the Lord, as if we needed to bribe the Lord. No! That is not the correct path… I make a promise, in order to expand my heart to receive what is already there, waiting for us free of charge. This relationship of gratuitousness with God is what will help us to have the same rapport with others, whether it be in Christian witness, Christian service, or the pastoral work of those who guide the people of God. We do so along the way. Christian life means walking. Preach and serve, but do not make use of others. Serve and give freely that which you have received freely. (Santa Marta, 11 June 2019)