Pope: Love Conquers All, Even in Africa

Leads Synodal Fathers in Prayer

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By Jesús Colina



VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Love is what will overcome and heal the divisions that exist between ethnic groups and tribes on the African continent, assures Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today in the meditation he gave at the first general congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

In his short reflection preceding the work of the first day, the Holy Father prayed for a new Pentecost for the continent.

Before Benedict XVI offered the synodal fathers points for reflection, the participants gathered in the Synod Hall in Vatican City to sing the hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus" (Come, Holy Spirit).

After the intonation to the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff noted: "We just began our synodal encounter by invoking the Holy Spirit and knowing that we can't do in this moment all that is needed to be done for the Church and the world: Only with the strength of the Holy Spirit will be able to find what is right so as to apply it later."

Speaking of the action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope explained that it is only with that force that the Church can continue its work, and with his invocation, he prays that Pentecost be not only an event from the past but that it be recreated here and now.

The Church, he explained, is not an organization, but the fruit of the Spirit toward the City of God that gathers together all cultures. And it is the tongue of fire itself that provides the right word, to achieve a real unity in plurality, collaborating in the creative act of God.

The love that comes from the Holy Spirit, the Pope explained, calls on all to be actively responsible for one's neighbor, which then becomes universal, to be the servants at this hour of the world.
 
The meditation concluded with a reflection on the theme of the synod, "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world"

"We have to truly open the confines between tribes, ethnic groups, religions, to the universality of the love of God," he said. "And this is not theory, but what we must do in our places of life."

The Pope added, "We ask the Lord to send down the Holy Spirit, that he bring a new Pentecost, and help us to be his servants in this hour of the world."