Archbishop Emeritus Estanislao Esteban Karlic of Parana told participants of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council that the mission of the disciple is first and foremost to proclaim God and to confess that nothing in life that does not lead us to Him has any worth.
Failing to share the material and spiritual goods of this world, the archbishop said, is to fail in our love for God. But first and foremost, we must give back to God by loving Him, rather than focusing only on social justice, he said during his remarks.
“God, who is holy, calls us to be saints,” Archbishop Karlic emphasized. The CELAM Conference, he added, has as its immediate goal, the “evangelization and sanctification of our continent.” “What is at stake here is the holy history, our history, and that of our brothers and sisters in America.”
During his remarks, he explained that the history of man is divided between “love for himself to the point of scorn for God and love of God to the point of scorn for himself.” Each day man is called to choose God, and to convert by means of “intellectual change and the prolonged practice of being moral, which despite the difficulties is possible and right.”
Likewise, the archbishop reminded participants that to be a disciple is a gift from God. When man encounters Christ, he learns he is made in the image of God and that he is called to be a child of God through Christ. He also comes to understand that “the family is the sanctuary of love and of life” and that “the human community is destined for fraternity.”
“Discipleship should always lead to committing one’s life to the Lord, as the martyrs did,” Archbishop Karlic stated. The Church has always had martyrs, he said, “who suffer persecutions that require mortifications and humiliations that constitute true martyrdom.”
He also reaffirmed the importance of the Eucharist and of prayer, which should be of special importance during the CELAM conference.