CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Pope calls for grammar of simplicity

RIO DE JANEIRO (SE): Pope Francis put in a big plug for a grammar of simplicity to become the hallmark of a Church that projects warmth and meets people where they are at, during his visit to World Youth Day held from July 23 to 28 in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.

He called it the raw power of primitive Christianity and urged the young people present at the international Catholic gathering to rediscover that sense of simplicity in the expression of their faith.

He said that in the period following the Apostolic Age, there was an extravagant spirit of sharing and caring among the early Christians, which has been attested to by outsiders.

World Justice Issues points out that Julian the Apostate, although he became an enemy of Christianity, admitted that “the godless Galileans fed not only their (poor), but ours also.”

Tertullian wrote that the deeds of Christians inspired by love were so noble that the pagan world confessed in astonishment, “See how they love one another.”

Exactly what is it that these Christians did which elicited such a response from their enemies?

Pope Francis pointed out that there was, first of all, an exceptional freedom to care for the needs of one another in the believing community.

The Didache admonished Christians saying, “Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in want, but thou shalt share all things with thy brother, and shalt not say that they are thine own.”

By 250AD, Christians in Rome were caring for some 1,500 needy people. In fact, their generosity was so profuse that Ignatius could say that they were leading in love and Bishop Dionysus, from Corinth, could note that they were sending “supplies to many churches in every city…”

Pope Francis said in Rio de Janeiro that this model of simplicity speaks to our reality today.

He encouraged the young people to rise, to make themselves recognised, to fight for their values, to make a fuss.

“How desperately we need today to discover new, creative ways of caring and sharing with those in need,” he said.

 

He concluded that there is a challenge to make a fuss in living again according to the grammar of simplicity, which gives priority to love, non-violence, voluntary poverty and reverence for the earth—Christian treasures often buried under the popular culture of modern times.

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