Vatican City, 14 September 2013 (VIS) – Walk, build and confess. Pope Francis indicated this itinerary – the same one he proposed at the beginning of his ministry – to members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre participating in a pilgrimage to Rome to mark the Year of Faith, during his audience with them on Friday afternoon in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.
The pilgrimage, he said, to explain the first term, is a symbol of human and Christian life and “each one of us may be a 'vagrant' or a 'pilgrim'. In our time, we see many people who are 'vagrants', who are deprived of an ideal in life and often incapable of finding meaning in the events of the world. In pilgrimage you give the sign that you do not wish to be vagrants. Your path is a part of history, in a world where boundaries are ever-expanding, many barriers fall and our paths are tied ever more closely to those of others. Be witnesses to deeper meaning, to the light faith brings; know how to preserve the great wealth of values, of past wisdom, while intensely living in the present, committed to today's world and looking to the future, opening horizons of hope through your work in order to give a more human face to society”.
“The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has a history dating back almost a thousand years; yours is one of the most ancient welfare and charitable Orders still active today. … Building with charity, compassion and love”, continued Francis, emphasising that the pilgrimage has a charitable aim, to benefit the inhabitants of the Holy Land, especially those most in need and who “are living through moments of suffering, tension and fear, and also our Christian brothers who suffer greatly. I greet and embrace them with great affection; to all, Christian and otherwise, I assure my daily prayer”.
However, their constructive path stems from “confessing the faith ever more profoundly, and grows from the continual commitment to nurturing your spiritual life, from permanent formation for an ever more genuine and coherent Christian life. This is an important point for each one of you and for the entire Order … the profession of faith and the witness of charity are closely connected and are the strengths and qualifying aspects of your action”.
“An ancient bond links you to the Holy Sepulchre, the perennial memorial of Christ crucified who was laid there, and of the Risen Christ who vanquished death. May Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, be truly at the centre of your existence and of every personal and collaborative project. Believe in the redemptive power of the Cross and of the Resurrection, to offer hope and peace. The Land of Jesus is in particular need! Faith does not distance us from the responsibilities we are called to assume, but on the contrary triggers and drives us towards concrete effort to build a better society”.