Vatican City, 1 May 2015 (VIS) – The participants in the third “Ultreya Europea” organised by the Cursillos in Christianity were received in audience by Pope Francis yesterday afternoon. Citing the theme of the encounter, “Ultreya” (“ever onward”, the ancient greeting of the pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela), he invited them always to continue and to go forward, inspired by the missionary but not proselytising spirit of their founders, the Spanish Eduardo Bonnin Aguilo and the then-bishop of Mallorca, Juan Hervas y Benet. As the Pope remarked, they and other young laypeople, perceived the need to reach out to their peers, glimpsing the desire for truth and love present in their hearts.
“Those pioneers … went towards the people, involving them with warmth and accompanying them on their path of faith with respect and love. This is important: friendliness and company. … I would like to say to your movement: you have not engaged in proselytism! And this is a virtue. The Church grows not by proselytism but by witness, as Pope Benedict said. And it is true. … Today you too wish to announce the Good News of God's love, making yourself close to others … so that they can have a personal experience of Christ's infinite love that frees and transforms life”.
During the meeting, which had a spontaneous nature, the Pope answered some questions from the participants in the Ultreya, suggesting to them how to make their charism fruitful, and beginnning by explaining that to help others grow in faith, first of all it is necessary to experience first-hand God's goodness and tenderness to then communicate it with benevolence and mercy. “This is the amicable witness of dialogue between friends.
“The method of evangelisation of the Cursillos is born precisely of this ardent wish for friendship with God, Who is the source of our friendship with our brothers”, he continued. “From the beginning it was understood that only within a relationship of authentic friendship was it possible to prepare and accompany people on their path, a path that begins with conversion, passes through the discovery of the beauty of a life lived in the grace of God, finally reaching the joy of becoming apostles in daily life. And in this way, since then, thousands of people throughout the world have been helped to grow in the life of faith. In today's context of anonymity and isolation typical of our cities, the dimension of family welcome, on a human scale, that you offer in your group meetings is of great importance”.
It is also important that these small group meetings are accompanied by “moments that favour openness to a larger social and ecclesial dimension, also involving those who come into contact with your charism but do not habitually participate in the group. … Effectively, the Church is an 'open-hearted mother' who invites us at times to 'slow down' and 'stop rushing to remain with someone who has faltered along the way'”.
Francis concluded by renewing his invitation to “go ever onwards”, faithful to their charism, and to “keep alive the zeal and the flame of the Spirit that always drives Christ's disciples to reach those who are distant, without proselytism, to leave their comfort zone and to have the courage to reach out to those peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel. … Every charism is called upon to grown as it carries the Holy Spirit inside, and the Holy Spirit makes it grow. Every charism must take account of different cultures, with different ways of thinking and different values … letting itself be guided by the Spirit”.