Speech of HE Most Reverend Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko,
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity,
during the delivery of the Acknowledgment Decree of
the Risen Jesus Community
I cordially welcome all of you, the members of the Risen Jesus Community, that are gathered today at the Pontifical Council for the Laity, together with your President and the components of the International Service Committee – whom I want to greet in a special way – in order to be present at the delivery of the Acknowlegment Decree and at your Community’s Statute official approval.
It is a very important moment for the life of the Risen Jesus Community as well for this Ministry. By this provision, the Holy See joyfully recognizes a new aggregation of faithful, which is determined to achieve the sanctification of its own members and the edification of the whole Church. At the same time, by means of this acknowledgment, the faithful can see confirmed their right of association by the Holy See, in order to live a more perfect Christian life and to promote evangelization activities all over the world.
Your Community was born within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Because of that, today I want to encourage you to establish strong relations of communion and cooperation with the different entities born in this field that operate both at a national and international level.
Undoubtedly, receiving this aknowledgment from the Holy See is highly symbolic for all of you during Easter time, a time when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, also being a few days from Pentecost.
Dear members of the Risen Jesus Community, you feel you are called to live and announce an event which achieves the divine plan that was conceived since eternity, the Death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through his Resurrection, He gives us a new grace, he allows us to live a new life.
In his letter to the Romans, St Paul states: “By Baptism therefore we were buried with him into death so that, like Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so also we can walk in a new life. If in fact we were united to him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom 6: 4-5).
Thus the Lord died on a cross so that this body of sin could die and then be regenerated, by means of His Resurrection, to the new and glorious life, to which God destined us since the beginning.
The passage of St John’s Gospel we have just listened to was proclaimed on the Sunday of Easter Octave (the Sunday “of the Divine Mercy”). Jesus appeared to the apostles for the first time in the same evening of the Sunday when he rose. He showed himself to them in the cenacle in Jerusalem, where they were gathered. He came in through closed doors since he enjoyed the qualities of the glorious bodies. Though, to dispel every doubt, he showed them his pierced hands and chest. Indeed it was Jesus in person and He was risen!
Moreover the Lord offered them twice the typical greeting of the Jews: “Peace to you!”. With these friendly words he wanted to wipe every fear and shame off the hearts of the apostles, who behaved disloyally and had left him during the events of the Passion and in the hour of his Death. Jesus wanted to recreate for his apostles an atmosphere of friendship and intimacy, in which he would confer them the power to forgive sins, a power exercised by the priest in the sacrament of the Penitence (Council of Trent, De Paenitentia, Ch. 1).
In the general audience on Wednesday 7th April, Benedict XVI stated that the Resurrection of Christ is a “historical, real, testified and documented fact. In this particular event all our belief is founded. It is the core of our faith and the main reason behind our belief”. And he added: “Therefore the good news of Easter asks for the work of enthusiastic and brave witnesses. Every disciple of Christ, also each one of us, is called to be a witness. This is the precise, binding and exciting mandate of the risen Lord “ (Benedict XVI, general Audience, 7th April 2010).
The Pope directed these words to everybody but I believe they are most appropriate right now, actually to yourRisen Jesus Community.
The charism of this Community is certainly a precious tool for your personal sanctification and, at the same time, it greatly contributes to the fulfillment of this mandate that the Holy Father suggests to us, that is leading all mankind to the new life, a life springing from the meeting with the risen Lord.
In the full respect of your ecclesial identity and of your apostolic mission, it is necessary that you may always work in the Church being on the same wavelength both as the Vicar of Christ and the individual diocesan Bishops, the Shepherds of the local Churches.
I would like to particularly underline this dimension of communion, of special filial union with the Holy Father, the successor of Peter. You remember the international meeting of the Pope with the Movements on June 3rd 2006, at the early beginning of his Pontificate, when the Pope talked about this variety of forms with which the Holy Spirit works in the life of the Church and in the mission of the Church. Different charisms are the fruits of this multiplicity in the action of the Holy Spirit within the Church. Nowadays the Holy Spirit is distributing these charisms with so much generosity and you are a fruit of it. Though in the end the Holy Father said something to all the ecclesiasial Movements and Communities, therefore to you too. And he also gave a special mandate: “ May you be more, more and more – says the Pope – the co-operators in the universal ministry of Peter’s successor”.
This is the main feature of the Movements: the mission without boundaries, “until the end of the earth”. These are your boundaries.
Therefore the decree you are given today, is a gift but a new duty for you as well, a renewed task which the Church puts in front of you: getting involved in this mission with even more enthusiasm, with more joy, force and generosity.
I would like also to remember that, just yesterday, in Fiuggi the Risen Jesus Community International Conference, now at its XXIII edition, was over. It is a very important and central appointment for the life of the Community, a moment of grace and, with no doubt, an annual wrapping up of your association activities.
I am sorry for not being able to be with you, because of some objective difficulties. However I realise the importance of these appointments in the life of your Community. They are moments of grace, moments to draw conclusions. They are moments to praise the Lord for the fruits he produces amid you and through you. Your President spoke about most of these fruits. Certainly, it is not a personal form of pride for what you have done, because you know perfectly that is the Holy Spirit at work and that we are only tools. Jesus told us to also say: “useless tools”. We have done only what we should do. Both praise and glory be to the Lord that works these great things within us and through us, His “useless tools”.
I was greatly interested in listening to what you said about these fruits and this spirit of praise, by which you give these fruits to the world. Indeed our reply to what the Lord works in us and in our life, in the life of our Community, does not have to be other than praise to the Lord. And this is the big contribution the Charismatic Renewal offers to the Church of today. It gives rise to this spirit of praise, prayer and adoration of the Lord.
How many lay faithful, men and women, young, adults and elderly people have rediscovered the beauty of the prayer of praise to the Lord.
When praying we are often like in a trap, we turn towards the Lord only when we need something urgently. Certainly, we should turn towards the Lord, with humility, in these moments too, but our main duty, as Christians, is the duty of praise.
When you sang, I thought about the words of Saint Augustine, who wrote a very beautiful commentary to the psalm saying: “sing to the Lord a new song”. Saint Augustine wrote: “To the new men belong a new song”. The new men cannot sing in an old way. And how to sing? “Not only with the mouth – says Saint Augustine – sing with your lives”. You are a song of praise when your life is good. And this is also my wish, just on this day of praise and thanksgiving that your Community gives back to the Lord. My wish is actually this: that all your Communities may become a new song to the Lord and each of you may also become a song of praise to the Lord.
And I will conclude. Today it is the beginning of a new stage in the life of your Community. In what does this novelty consist? You will be able to re-start with a stonger conviction and persuasion because the Church is with you. The Church has given us, once again, a large credit. The Church trusts us. Let’s re-start with this blessing of the Church, with a renewed courage and a renewed effort.
The statute that will support the life of your Community is approved for a five-year initial period, “ad experimentum”. After that, with the experience acquired, you will ask the Ministry for the definite approval.
And do not forget that this action of approval does not mean that you are able to walk alone, without the help of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. On the contrary, today this action of approval is a mark of this special connection that is born between you and the Pontifical Council for the Laity, as a Ministery of the Pope, of Peter’s successor.
It is here, as we like to often repeat, that it can be found the common house of every new entity, ecclesial Movements and new Communities. We would be very pleased to have you as guests, on a regular basis, and to listen to the fruits that the Holy Spirit will produce in your life, in the life of your Community, as to your spreading in the world too.
I am sure that in your walk you will never lack Our Lady’s intercession in favour of the service that you do to the Church. For this reason I did like the suggestion of a song to Mary. Someone said, not without reason, that Our Lady is the greatest charismatic figure of all times, being the “full of grace”. It is impossible to imagine a more charismatic figure than she is. For this reason, being the bride of the Holy Spirit, may she be your guide.
The Virgin may accompany you and drive you in the Service to the Church.
Wishing you all the best from the Pontifical Council for the Laity, I want to also assure you a constant reminder of your Community in our prayer.
I am sure that in your walk you will never lack Our Lady’s intercession in favour of the generous service that you do to the Church. May God always bless you!
Stanisław Card. Ryłko
President of the Pontifical Council fo the Laity