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Pope Francis: our faith is 'not an ornament'
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Dec. 4, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA
by Elise Harris
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.- During his general audience, Pope Francis continued his reflections on the Sacrament of Baptism, emphasizing that we are called to use the grace we receive in order to become “missionary disciples.”

“We are one community, and living together our faith is not an ornament, but rather is something essential for the Christian life ... for testimony and for evangelization,” the Pope explained in his Jan. 15 general audience.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he stated to the pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, “today we continue our catechesis on the sacrament of baptism by reflecting on how, through baptism, we become members of Christ’s mystical body, the Church.”

The Second Vatican Council, noted the Pontiff, “expressed this truth, insisting that this sacrament incorporates us into the People of God; it makes us members of one People that walks throughout history.”

“In every generation, through baptism, we are reborn to the new life of grace and called to be witnesses of the Gospel before the world,” the Pope continued.

“Grace is transmitted through the baptismal fountain and the People of God walks in time, disseminating God’s blessing.”

Therefore, “Baptism makes us ‘missionary disciples’ within the communion of the Church,” he said, highlighting that “each one of us becomes a missionary disciple.”

“On the one hand, we never stop being disciples, learning, receiving; on the other, we are called to the mission, to share what we have received, what we live,” the Pope observed, which is “the experience of love, of faith in the Trinity.”

“There is a close bond, then, between our rebirth in water and the Holy Spirit, our responsibility to live this new life within the Church, in our families and our parishes, and our mission to bring the Gospel to others as channels of God’s grace.”

Emphasizing how we are “called to transmit to faith,” Pope Francis explained that “no one is saved alone,” and that “we are all called, despite our limitations, to proclaim to others the grace received in Baptism.”

Turning to the Church in Japan as an example of how “small communities of the faithful” have survived “clandestinely for over two centuries thanks to the grace of baptism,” the pontiff expressed his hope that their example would “help us to appreciate more fully the profound mystical, communitarian and missionary dimensions of our baptism.”

Bringing his weekly address to a close, the Pope invited all present to “take their Baptism seriously, being disciples and missionaries of the Gospel, by word and example itself.”

Pope Francis then extended personal greetings to pilgrims present from various countries around the world, asking that “God bless you, and the Holy Virgin take care of you.”

Tags: Pope, Sacraments, Faith, Baptism

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