Urges Future Priests to Go Out and Make Disciples of All Nations
Pope Francis is giving seminarians a three-word summary of some of the most important aspects of their vocation and their time of formation.
The Pope encouraged seminarians to reflect on fraternity, prayer and mission in a messagehe sent to French seminarians on the occasion of their gathering at the Marian Shrine of Lourdes at the end of the plenary assembly of the French Episcopal Conference this weekend.
Reflecting on fraternity, Francis compared their times at the seminary to the founding of the Church, when Jesus appointed the Apostles to be with him, and to go out and proclaim the Good News.
The Holy Father said seminary is a time to “appreciate and support” each other, and also, sometimes, to “endure” each other. “It is important to make that personal and definitive choice of a true gift of yourselves to God and to others,” he invited.
“The fraternity of disciples, which expresses the unity of hearts,” the Pontiff said, “is an integral part of the call you have received. In no case can the presbyterial ministry be individual, even less so individualistic.”
The Pope exhorted the seminarians to spend each day in “long moments” of prayer, as Jesus and Moses did, so that they can will be transformed by the Lord.
Encouraging them to persevere through prayer’s difficult stages, Francis reminded them how “Moses also entered the darkness of the cloud to talk with God in humility, as a friend speaks to his friend.”
He also urged their prayer to be an appeal to the Spirit, who will lead them to be witnesses to the Lord and bring others closer to the Father.
Lastly, speaking on mission, he reminded them of the Lord’s last commandment: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
To this end, the Jesuit Pope said, “All that you do during your formation has but one end: to become humble missionary-disciples to make disciples.”
Pope Francis concluded by encouraging them to get into the habit of going out of themselves and encountering others and by reminding them that their mission is inseparable from prayer.
On ZENIT’s Web page: