ADDRESS OF THE HOLY
30 October 1998
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In greeting the International Conference for Catholic Charismatic Leaders,“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world” (Rom 1:8). The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has helped many Christians to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the world; and this rediscovery has awakened in them a faith in Christ filled with joy, a great love of the Church and a generous dedication to her evangelizing mission. In this year of the Holy Spirit, I join you in praise of God for the precious fruits which he has wished to bring to maturity in your communities and, through them, in the particular Churches.
2. As leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, one of your prime tasks is to safeguard the Catholic identity of the charismatic communities spread throughout the world, stirring them always to maintain a close and hierarchical link with the Bishops and the Pope. You belong to an ecclesial movement; and the word “ecclesial” implies a precise task of Christian formation, involving a deep convergence of faith and life. The enthusiastic faith which enlivens your communities must be accompanied by a Christian formation which is comprehensive and faithful to the Church’s teaching. From a solid formation will spring a spirituality deeply grounded in the sources of the Christian life and capable of responding to the crucial questions posed by the culture of our day. In my recent Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, I warned against a fideism which fails to recognize the importance of the work of reason not only for an understanding of the faith, but even for the act of faith itself.
3. The theme of your Conference, “Let the Fire Fall Again!”, recalls the words of Christ: “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49). As we look to the Great Jubilee, these words resound with all their force. The Word of God made flesh has brought to us the fire of love and the truth which saves. On the threshold of the Third Millennium of the Christian era, how great is the evangelical challenge: “go and work in the vineyard today” (Mt 21:28)!
I accompany your Conference with my prayers, trusting that it will bear rich spiritual fruit for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal throughout the world. May Mary, Bride of the Spirit and Mother of Christ, watch over all that you do in the name of her Son. To all of you, to your communities and to your loved ones, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.
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