Messages
Inaugural Address of the Apostolic Nuncio CBCI – 2018 Plenary Meeting Bangalore, 2-9 February 2018
Your Eminence Card. Baselios Cleemis, President of the CBCI,
Your Eminence Card. Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., Archbishop of Yangoon,
Your Eminences Card. Oswald Gracias, Card. George Alencherry, Card. Telesphore Toppo;
Most. Reverend Archbishops Felipe Neri Ferrao and Andrews Thazath, Vice-Presidents of the CBCI;
Most. Reverend Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore;
Right Reverend Theodor Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the CBCI;
Your Graces, Your Lordships,
Distinguished special guests and members of the CBCI and dear friends.
 
I thank you for the joy to share with you – united in diversity for a mission of mercy and witness – these days of liturgical prayer and of discernment in dialogue. I am honored to be with you on behalf of the Holy Father Francis and I renew my commitment to witness to you his love and prayer for the Church of India. 
 
Venerable Brothers in the theme of your 33rd Body Meeting of the CBCI you have underlined the “diversity” that the Holy Spirit creates.  It’s true this diversity is so rich, so beautiful. But then, the same Holy Spirit creates unity, and in this way the Church is one in diversity. And, to use a beautiful word of an Evangelist – that the Holy Father Francis loves so much – a diversity “reconciled” by the Holy Spirit. 
 
He does both these things: he creates the diversity of charismata and then makes harmony of the charismata. For this reason, the theologians of the Church, the first fathers, said: “The Holy Spirit, He is harmony”, because He creates this harmonic unity in diversity.
We are in the epoch of globalization, and we think about what globalization is and what unity would be in the Church: perhaps a sphere, where all points are equidistant from the centre, all equal? No! This is uniformity. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t create uniformity! What shape can we find? 
 
The Holy Father Francis has said that the correct image is a prism. The prism is unity, but all its parts are different; each has its own peculiarity, its charisma. This is unity in diversity. It is on this path that we Christians seek to ensure that this diversity may be more harmonized by the Holy Spirit and become unity; we try to walk before God and be blameless; we try to go and find the nourishment we need to find our brother. This is our path, this is our Christian breath!
 
The Holy Father invites us to consider that breathing is made up of two stages: inhaling, the intake of air, and exhaling, the letting out of this air. The Christian life is fed, nourished, by prayer and is expressed outwardly through mission: inhaling - prayer - and then exhaling. When we inhale we receive the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. When exhaling this air, we announce Jesus Christ risen by the same Spirit. No one can live without breathing. It is the same for the Church: without inhaling the same Spirit, that is the unique oxygen for the spiritual life, and without mission there is no deep imitation of God our Father.
 
The Holy Father Francis invites us to this imitation of God through  mercy, even if He is aware that it is not easy to understand this willingness to show mercy, because we are accustomed to presenting the bill to others, because we judge, and we fail … to leave space for understanding and mercy.
 
In order to be ready for the mission of mercy Pope Francis said that “two attitudes are needed”. The first is “self-knowledge” of our sins  because “in the presence of a repentant people, God’s justice is transformed into mercy and forgiveness”. And “acknowledging that we have sinned against the Lord, and being ashamed in his presence is a grace”. 
 
The second attitude we need is “an openness to expanding our hearts”. Pope Francis explained what does it mean to open and expand one’s heart. In acknowledging ourselves as sinners and not judging others begins the generosity of heart that the Lord presents through the image of those going to collect grain who enlarged their aprons in order to received more. 
 
A big heart doesn’t get entangled in other peoples lives, it doesn’t condemn but forgives and forgets. 
 
In the Church, dialogue must be developed in the Kairos of mercy. This was an intuition of St. John Paul II, he “sensed” that this was the time of mercy. We think of the Beatification and Canonization of Sr Faustina Kowalska; then he introduced the Feast of Divine Mercy. Little by little he advanced and went forward on this. Through his prayer, he had this intuition.
 
And finally, mercy has been and continue to be the teaching of two extraordinary women of the history of the Indian Church: Mother Teresa of Calcutta in her luminous transparency of the charity of God, who is a good and merciful Father to all and the sacrifice of life by Blessed Sr Rani Maria who was involved in helping the poor and the marginalized is living example of missionary witness to the Gospel. 
 
“Ecclesia in Asia” quotes the powerful words of St Chrysostom about charity and dialogue: “Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Then do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him silken honours in the temple only then to neglect him when he goes cold and naked outside. He who said; ‘This is my body’ is the One who also said, ‘You saw me hungry and you gave me no food”... What good is it if the Eucharistic Table groans under the weight of golden chalices, when Christ is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger, and then with what remains you may adorn the altar as well!’”. 
 
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