Pope Francis told the graduating class of Holy See ambassadors on Thursday that their main mission is to be Christ's representatives to the world.

"It is not possible to represent someone without reflecting their features, without evoking their face," he said June 25 at the Vatican's Consistory Hall.

What does the face of Christ look like in the world? Truth and love, the Holy Father said.

"Jesus said, 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father'. You are not called to be the high functionaries of a state," Pope Francis explained, "but rather the guardians of a truth that supports those who offer it."
Pope Francis addressed those about to finish their studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, or the "Accademia" – the Roman institution responsible for preparing priests for diplomatic service to the Holy See all over the world.

In typical Pope Francis fashion, he gave the priests several analogies for the hard work they have ahead of them as ambassadors for Christ and his Church.  

"I exhort you not to expect to find the terrain ready, but rather to have the courage to plough it with your hands, without tractors or other more effective means which we will never have at our disposal – to prepare it for sowing, awaiting the harvest with God's patience," he said.

He encouraged them in patience and perseverance, even though the fruits of the harvest might not be seen in their lifetime.

The Holy Father also asked that the future apostolic nuncios not look for "fish in aquariums or farms," but that they "instead have the courage to leave behind the safe margins of what is already known and to cast your nets and rods in less obvious seas."

And when the work becomes difficult, Pope Francis asked the nuncios to remember why they began the mission in the first place.  

"(I)t is necessary to cultivate deep roots, to protect the memory of why you embarked on this path, and not to be hollowed out by cynicism nor to lose sight of the face of he who is at the origin of your journey."

He also reminded them that their true authority does not come from a state or an earthly person, but rather from the love of Christ himself.

"The true authority of the Church of Rome is Christ's charity. This is the sole force that renders her universal and credible for man and for the world," he explained.   

Pope Francis then assured the future nuncios of his prayers, and asked for theirs in return.

At the end of the address, he reminded the priests: "Your whole life is at the service of the Gospel and of the Church. Never forget it!"