Vatican City, Apr 25, 2013 / 11:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians are called to do the great work of evangelizing to the ends of the world in a spirit of humility rather than an attitude of conquering, Pope Francis said.
“Today we ask the Lord to become missionaries in the Church, apostles in the Church but in this spirit: a great magnanimity and also a great humility,” he said in his April 25 homily at Mass for members of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops at Casa Santa Marta.
Also present at the Mass were Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and police from the Vatican Gendarmerie, Vatican Radio reported.
To travel the world preaching the gospel is “the mission of the Church,” Pope Francis said.
“But she does not go forth alone: she goes forth with Jesus…the Lord works with all those who preach the Gospel. This is the magnanimity that Christians should have.”
A timid, or “pusillanimous” Christian, he added, “is incomprehensible: this magnanimity is part of the Christian vocation: always more and more, more and more, more and more, always onwards.”
Preaching the gospel, said the pontiff, requires “humility, service, charity, brotherly love.” To approach evangelization with an imperialism, or attitude of conquering “doesn't work.” Rather, Christians evangelize by their witness.
“The Christian must not be like soldiers who when they win the battle make a clean sweep of everything.”
Pope Francis addressed the tension between magnanimity, or greatness of spirit, and humility in which Christians are called to live.
“When we go forth with this magnanimity and humility, when we are not scared by the great things, by the horizon, but also take on board the little things – humility, daily charity – the Lord confirms the Word.”
“This is divine – it is like a tension between the great and the small,” he said, noting that “Christian missionary activity” proceeds “along this path.”
During his remarks, the Pope also discussed the tension between suffering and Christian triumph.“The triumph of the Church is the Resurrection of Jesus, But there is first the Cross.”