VATICAN – Cardinal Tagle: the missionary tells “a love story” with Jesus

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Vatican City – “We cannot keep to ourselves the encounter with God who has touched our hearts and who has done marvelous works.
Like the apostles, let us share the love that we have experienced. What we have received from God is a gift to others. And the more we share it, the more our faith grows. If we keep it to ourselves, our faith weakens over time. If we keep it in a small group, it becomes the business of an elite. Missionaries are inspired by the love of God to come out of themselves, of their fears, to reach all nations, geographical and existential. For a fundamental reason: gratitude. They are grateful people”, decalred Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, during the presentation of World Mission Day, which was held today, October 21, at the Vatican.
Cardinal Tagle commented on Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Sunday, entitled “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” , from the Acts of the Apostles. He said: “Looking at the episode of Peter and John, recounted in Acts, we can ask ourselves: what is the secret of the missionary zeal of the apostles? It is the experience of the love of God in Christ. They experienced friendship with Jesus, they saw how Jesus lived and shared his life. The deep experience of Jesus leads to a ‘state of mission’ in which mission is a reflection of gratitude, not a burden or even a purely functional or pragmatic act. It is an expression of joy and gratitude to God for the wonderful things he has done for us. Having seen and experienced all of this, the apostles are missionaries of compassion and hope”. The Prefect of “Propaganda Fide” underlined that “spirituality and the encounter with God are the source of the missionary, who is always rooted in Christ. He tells ‘a story of love’, lived with Jesus and brings compassion from Christ to the world”. Referring, then to the missionary challenges in today’s world and society, the Cardinal declared that “as the Holy Father says, the encounter with Christ and his Gospel generates openness and communion towards one’s neighbor: the experience of Christ does not builds walls, separating us from others, but pushes us towards others with joy, not as conquerors in a triumphalistic sense, but in the sense of sharing the goodness of what we have seen, heard, experienced.
We must recover this aspect: the mission is in the heart of each one of us, each baptized person is a missionary of the Kingdom of God, the mission is a call for all the baptized”. The Cardinal recalled the work of evangelization in various regions of the world such as Asia, where he himself came from, where Christians are a small minority, stressing how precious “the personal relationship, the proclamation and the person-to-person sharing of faith”; finally, referring to evangelization also in contexts of ancient Christian tradition such as Europe, which are experiencing moments of “de-Christianization”, the Cardinal said that “we must above all pray because faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel teaches us to love, even in small daily gestures and in small things. Small gestures of love should not be minimized, a simple gesture of love evangelizes”.