Papal Address to Renewal in the Spirit Movement

"Do Not Tire of Turning to Heaven"

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the address given in St. Peter’s Square given on Saturday by Pope Benedict XVI to participants of the Renewal in the Spirit Movement, on the occasion of their 40th anniversary.

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Dear brothers and sisters!

I receive you with great joy on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the birth of Renewal in the Spirit (Rinnovamento nello Spirito) in Italy, an expression of a larger movement of charismatic renewal that traversed the Catholic Church in the wake of Vatican Council II. I greet all of you with affection, beginning with the national president, whom I thank for the kind words, full of Spirit, addressed to me on behalf of all of you. I greet the spiritual counsel, the members of the Committee and the Counsel, the leaders and animators of the groups and communities throughout Italy. In this pilgrimage of yours, which offers you the opportunity to pause in prayer at the tomb of St. Peter, may you reinvigorate your faith, grow in Christian witness and face the demanding tasks of the new evangelization without fear, guided by the Holy Spirit.

I am happy to meet you on the eve of Pentecost, the fundamental feast of the Church and so significant for your movement, and I call on you to accept God’s love that is communicated to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the unifying principle of the Church. In these last decades – 40 years – you have made an effort to offer your specific contribution to the spreading of the Kingdom of God and to the building up of the Christian community, nourishing the communion with the Successor of Peter, with the Pastors of the whole Church. In various ways you have affirmed the primacy of God, to whom your worship is always directed above all things. And you have sought to propose this experience to new generations, manifesting the joy of the new life in the Spirit, through a broad work of formation and multiple activities linked to the new evangelization and to the mission “ad gentes” (to the nations). Your apostolic work has thus contributed to the growth of the spiritual life in the fabric of Italian society and the Church in Italy, through paths of conversion that have led many persons to be deeply healed by the love of God, and many families to overcome moments of crisis. There has not been a lack in your groups of young people who have generously responded to the vocation of special consecration to God in the priesthood or in the consecrated life. For all of this I thank you and the Lord!

Dear friends, continue to witness to the joy of the faith in Christ, the beauty of being disciples of Christ, the power of love that his Gospel unleashes in history and the incomparable grace that every believer can experience in the Church with the sanctifying practice of the Sacraments and the humble and disinterested exercise of charisms, that, as St. Paul says, must always be used for the common good. Do not give in to the temptation of mediocrity and habit! Cultivate in your soul soaring and generous desires! Make the thoughts, sentiments and actions of Jesus your own! Yes, the Lord calls each of you to be tireless collaborators in his plan of salvation, which changes hearts; he also has need of you to make your families, your communities and your cities, places of love and hope.

In contemporary society we live in a situation that is, in a sense, precarious, characterized by insecurity and fragmentation of choices. Often there are no valid points of reference to guide our lives. It becomes, therefore, ever more important to build our lives and the complex of our social relations on the stable rock of the Word of God, letting ourselves be guided by the magisterium of the Church. We understand better and better the determinant value of that statement of Jesus, according to which, “whoever listens to my words and puts them into practice, will be similar to the wise man who built his house on rock. The rain falls, the rivers flood, the winds blow and beat against that house, but it does not fall, because it is built upon rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

The Lord is with us, he acts with power in his Spirit. He invites us to grow in confidence and abandonment to his will, in fidelity to our vocation and in the commitment to become adults in the faith, in hope and in charity. An adult, according to the Gospel, is not the one who does not submit to anyone and does not need anyone. We can only be adults, that is, mature and responsible, if we become little, humble and servants before God, and do not simply follow the winds of the moment. It is, thus, necessary to form our conscience in the light of the Word of God and in this to become steadfast and truly mature. It is from the Word of God that every ecclesial and human project – even with respect to what regards the earthly city (cf. Psalm 127:1) – draw their meaning and strength. It is necessary to renew the soul of institutions and fecundate history with the seeds of new life.

Today believers are called to a decisive, sincere and credible witness of faith, closely connected to the commitment of charity. Through charity, in fact, even persons who are far from and indifferent to the message of the Gospel are able to come near to the truth and convert to the merciful love of the heavenly Father. In this regard, I express my pleasure in what you have done to spread a “culture of Pentecost” in social spheres, proposing a spiritual animation together with initiatives on behalf of those who suffer from situations of poverty and marginalization. I have in mind especially your work for the spiritual and material rebirth of those in prison and former prisoners; I think of the “Pole of Excellence in Human Promotion and Solidarity Mario and Luigi Sturzo” in Caltagirone; and also of the “International Center for the Family” of Nazareth, whose first stone I had the joy of blessing. Continue in your commitment to the family, which is the essential place for educating in love and self-sacrifice.

Dear friends of Renewal in the Spirit! Do not tire of turning to heaven: the world needs prayer. It needs men and women who feel the attraction of heaven in their lives, who make the praise of the Lord a new way of life. And be joyful Christians! I entrust you to Mary Most Holy, present in the cenacle at Pentecost. Persevere with her in prayer, walk with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, living and proclaiming the news of Christ. May the apostolic benediction accompany you, which I impart to you with affection, extending it to all members and to your families. Thank you!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]