(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis and Archbishop of Manila, participated last week in a series of encounters in Florence focusing on Pope Francis’ encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium” and on the Pope’s call to Church members to take the Church into the world and into its peripheries.
Cardinal Tagle told Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti about the force of the Pope’s call for a missionary spirituality and about how much common ground is shared by “Evangelii Gaudium” and another encyclical - “Populorum Progressio” - that is marking its 50th anniversary.
“When people hear about Evangelii Gaudium of course they associate it with the favorite expression of Pope Francis: the Church that goes out to the peripheries” Cardinal Luis Tagle explains, but if we study the document carefully there is a deep spirituality to be discovered.
The Cardinal says the Pope himself has pointed out that his call has to do with openness towards the Holy Spirit and acting as the Holy Spirit suggests.
“Now that is not just ‘work, work, work,’ or ‘going, going, going,’ it requires a lot of prayer and discernment” he says.
So, he says, it is good to be reminded that it is a spirituality that is missionary and it helps one discover the spiritual foundation of the missionary mandate that the Holy Father has given us.
Tagle points out that at the heart of the Pope’s call is the encounter with the Lord: “it is the encounter with the Lord that transforms us and transforms also the Church”.
Because of the centrality of the encounter with the Lord and the encounter with people – especially with those who suffer – Cardinal Tagle says this missionary spirituality reminds us that mission is not just work, it is also our capacity to be ‘amazed’ before the Gospel.
And, Tagle says, it is not a burden, but the fulfillment of our vocation as human beings and as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, he explains “you give your all but you also receive everything from the Lord and from the people” because encountering Jesus in the people and in the world has the power to bring about conversion – personal, pastoral and institutional conversion.
Tagle speaks of the strong link that exists between the encyclical “Populorum Progressio” written 50 years ago by Blessed Pope Paul VI and Pope Francis’ “Evangelii Gaudium”.
“When we look at the world and how Pope Paul VI described it 50 years ago, unfortunately we still see the same realities: inequality, poverty and its consequences, the bad effects on human persons; that’s why he calls for integral human development” he says.
This, Tahle says, points us to search for a model which can be found in Jesus Christ, and he explains that when Pope Paul VI talks about integral human development he refers not only to the development of the economic and financial aspects of human of life, but also to the development in “contemplation, in education, in friendship, in our capacity to be simple and poor, in our capacity to think of others, the neighbors: This is all part of this development and it happens when we encounter Jesus and encounter other people.”.
So, the Cardinal concludes, there is a huge connection between the two encyclicals “of course there are new realities 50 years later, but the main inspirations remain constant and valid.”
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