Vatican City, 1 October 2015 (VIS) – The Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus attending their general chapter were received in audience by the Holy Father in the Clementine Hall this morning. In his address to them, Francis spoke about the words that define their name and identity.
As missionaries, the Combonians are “servants and messengers of the Gospel, especially for those who do not know it or have forgotten it”, said the Pope. “At the root of this, the personal relationship with Christ … determines all of our existence and action; and it is experienced and nurtured above all in prayer, in staying by the Lord's side. … In this prayerful space we encounter the true treasure we give to our brethren through proclamation. Indeed, the missionary is the servant of God Who speaks, Who wishes to speak to today's men and women, just as Jesus spoke to those of His time. … In the Word of God there is the wisdom that comes from above, and that enables us to find the languages, approaches and tools suited to responding to the challenges of a changing humanity”.
As Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, you contribute joyfully to the mission of the Church, bearing witness to the charism of St. Daniel Comboni, characterised by the merciful love of Christ's Heart for the defenceless. In this Heart there is the source of the mercy that saves and generates hope. Therefore, as you are consecrated to God for the mission, you are called upon to imitate the merciful and mild Jesus, to live your service with a humble heart, caring for the most abandoned of our time. … From that Heart you learn the necessary meekness to carry out your apostolic action even in difficult and hostile contexts. This heart, that so loved humanity, drives you to the peripheries of society to bear witness to the perseverance of patient and faithful love”.
Finally, the Pope expresses to the missionaries his hope that this general chapter might illuminate the path of the Institute in the coming years, helping it to “continually rediscover its great heritage of spirituality and missionary activity. In this way you are able to trustfully continue your valuable contribution to the mission of the Church. May you be inspired and encouraged by the example of many of your brethren, who have given their lives for the cause of the Gospel, willing even to offer the supreme witness of blood. Indeed, it is well known that the Combonian Institute is distinguished by an uninterrupted chain of martyrs, up to our times. They are a fruitful seed in spreading God's Kingdom, and protectors of your apostolic efforts”.