We must “learn to knock on the heart of God! And we learn to do it courageously,” he said. And this brave prayer should inspire us and nourish us in our service to the Church, leading our commitment to grow and develop, giving “fruit at its own time” as the day’s Psalm said.
At the end of the Gospel passage from Luke, the Pope pointed out that Jesus says no father, when his son asks for a fish, gives him a serpent. Or when asked for an egg, hands his child a scorpion.
Jesus goes on to say that “if you, therefore, who are bad, know to give good things to your children, how much more your heavenly Father...”
The Pope said we expect Jesus to continue by saying that he will give us good things, but “he does not say that! He says: He will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. That is the gift that is the ‘more’ of God.”
Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass Oct. 12 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Oriental Institute in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV.
Before Mass, he greeted superiors of the congregation, patriarchs and major archbishops. He then blessed a cypress tree in the garden of the Pontifical Oriental Institute building, afterward meeting with benefactors and the Jesuit community.
In a message addressed to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Oriental Churches and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Pope Francis greeted members of both entities.
He highlighted major events in the founding and history of the congregation and institute, explaining that his predecessor, in founding them, “wanted to draw attention to the extraordinary richness of the Eastern Churches.”
Even in the midst of the “turbulent” First World War, Benedict XV reserved “special attention to the Churches of the Orient.”
Now, we must look toward the “future mission” of the congregation and institute, he said, noting that at the beginning, there may have been some confusion about the balance between study and pastoral work of the institute.
But today, he continued, this conflict does not and should not exist: it's not about ‘either/or,’ he explained, but ‘both/and.’
He invited the professors to place their scientific commitments “in first place,” based on the example of their predecessors, whom he said distinguished themselves with their scholarly contributions and editions of liturgical, spiritual, archaeological and canonical sources.
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While many are aware of the contributions scholars have made in these areas, the Pope said that now, as it was 100 years ago, we again find ourselves in challenging times, with war and hatred attacking “the very roots of peaceful coexistence in the persecuted lands of the East.”
The institute is again at the center of a “providential crossroads,” Francis said, and encouraged members to maintain their long tradition and attention to research, but also to listen to the challenges and experiences of students during this difficult time.
With the collapse of totalitarian regimes and various dictatorships, and the rise and spread of international terrorism, Eastern Christians are experiencing a time of persecution and worry, he said, and “in these situations nobody can close their eyes.”
The Oriental Institute is called to listen in prayer to what the Lord wants “at this precise moment,” he said, and in coherence with the three wise men, they must “seek new ways to go.”
Many of the students and professors are experiencing this important moment in history, he said, and the Oriental Institute, “through research, teaching and testimony, has the task of helping our brothers and sisters to strengthen and consolidate their faith in the face of the tremendous challenges they face.”
The institute can be a place of formation for seminarians, priests and laity, giving them hope so that they can collaborate and cooperate with Christ’s reconciling mission, he said.