Charity is the ‘greatest richness’ of Church, says Pope

Vatican City, Nov 6, 2013 / 05:58 am (CNA).- During his general audience today, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of participating in the Church’s spiritual goods in order to grow closer to God as a community in charity.

“Charity is the greatest richness of the Church. Living Communion in charity means not looking for one’s own interest, but rather to be capable of sharing the joys and sufferings of brethren; to be capable of carrying one another’s burdens,” the Pope explained in his Nov. 6 General Audience.

The Holy Father addressed his words to the thousands of pilgrims crowded into Saint Peter’s Square earlier this morning.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “In our continuing catechesis on the Creed, we now reflect on ‘the communion of saints’ as a communion not only of persons but also of spiritual goods.”

We grow in communion with God and with the other members of his body “through our sharing” in those spiritual goods, noted the Pope, naming the Sacraments, charisms and charity as three of the key “treasures” found within the Church.

“In the Sacraments we find ourselves with Jesus and, through Him, we enter to form part of the holy People of God,” the pontiff explained.

“All encounters with the Lord have a missionary character,” and “that is why, the Sacraments are an invitation to communicate to others what we have seen and heard, to lead others to the salvation we have received,” he continued.

In the same way, the Pope specified that charisms “are special gifts and graces that the Holy Spirit distributes to build up the Church, namely, to build up its holiness and its mission in the world” through “unity” and “service.”

A charism denotes different gifts and spiritual graces given to man through the love of God in order to complete their specific mission or task within the Church.

These charisms “enrich charity, which is above everything, expressed the Pope, “without love, charisms are in vain. With love, even the smallest of our actions have repercussions in benefitting everyone.”

Pope Francis concluded his reflections by urging those present not to forget that “the spiritual goods that we share in the Church are in the service of the Communion and of the mission and through the Communion of the saints each one of us are a sign and ‘sacrament’ of God’s love for the others and for the entire world.”

Among those who attended the Pope’s general Audience were pilgrims present from both England and Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, Japan and the United States. The pontiff also extended special greetings to a group of English priests celebrating the anniversary of their ordination.

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