ADDRESS OF THE HOLY
FATHER JOHN PAUL II
Thursday, 21 September 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus" (1
Cor 16: 23-24). How rich his grace is in this year of the Great Jubilee! And how abundantly is the love of the Most Holy Trinity poured out on us! In the joy of the Jubilee, I am pleased to greet you at the moment of your visit to the Successor of Peter, while you are celebrating the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
2. After its foundation in France, your congregation spread across the world, obeying the Lord's mandate: "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" (Mt 28: 19). Its first expansion occurred in Europe, but later it spread to the Pacific region, to Latin America, Asia and Africa until today, when you are present in more than 40 countries. This growth is a sign of the power of God which has worked in you; but a clear sign of this divine encouragement is also the witness borne by missionaries such as Bl. Damien of Molokai and Fr Eustaquio Van Lieshout - to mention only the most famous - in whom we can see the face of the crucified Christ, shining with the glory of those who sacrificed themselves to save the lives of others. How many saints and martyrs you have given to the Church! That voice which said to the paralytics of the world: "I tell you, stand up and walk", is still familiar and close to you today. Indeed, you have wished to illustrate the intentions of your General Chapter with these words of the Gospel.
3. Dear brothers and sisters, today as always the Church is called to proclaim the power of the Cross to the world. It is a power that has no need of "eloquent wisdom" (1
Cor 1: 17), nor of "philosophy and empty deceit" (Col 2: 8) nor, even less, of deceptive ideologies. What it demands of you is that like Christ himself you open your heart to be converted through a reflection of the source of living water (cf.
Jn 4: 10), the only One that can quench the thirst of the human heart. For this, each of you must imitate the Apostle in his wish to participate in Christ's sufferings "becoming like him in his death" so that others may know him and "the power of his resurrection"
(Phil 3: 10).
4. A characteristic of your foundation is the
fact that men and women form one Congregation, approved by Pope Pius VII in
1817, joined in one charism, one spirituality and one mission. This unity has
not always been easy, and it is important for the governing bodies of both
branches to work for an ever more mature testimony of evangelical union,
solidarity and interdependence among all the members of the Congregation. Within
each autonomous branch your communities are called to flourish in a
strengthening of a family spirit, that fraternity which leads to each one
carrying the burdens of all.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I pray most fervently that the General Chapter will offer wise guidelines for an ever more complete witness to your religious consecration, so that with still greater joy and energy you will cry out to a world sitting in «the shadow of death» (Lk 1:79): «Rise, take up your sleeping-mat and walk! Walk with us in the power of him who is ‘light to those…in darkness’ and who ‘guides our feet in the way of peace’ (ibid.)»! May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Mother of all our joys, lead you always along the paths of contemplation, so that your apostolate throughout the world may truly bear witness to the Church’s spirit, her openness to and interest in all peoples and individuals, especially the least and poorest of Christ’s brothers and sisters (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 89). As a pledge of endless grace and peace in him, I gladly impart to all the members of your Congregation my Apostolic Blessing.
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