Over Good Friday, the Papal Preacher, Capuchin Fr Raniero Cantalamessa took on the stuff that is blocking the spread of the Gospel. In addressing the message that St. Francis received before the Crucifix of San Damiano: ‘Go, Francis, and repair my Church’,” Fr. Cantalamessa compared the Church to an old building that had “become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets” to meet various needs over the centuries. “The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle.”
For those who have been at youth ministry for a while – from 2 weeks, to 2 months, to 2 tears, to a few decades or more – what are the partitions, staircases, rooms and closets that we have added to the house of our ministry on behalf of the Lord, that makes it work for us and not always our ability to spread the Gospel authentically? (think of the tone we assume regarding mandatory expectation regarding Confirmation that takes our law beyond Canon Law or the impatient attitude we have regarding essential paperwork.)
Fr. Cantalamessa, homilizing before Pope Francis, scores of cardinals and bishops, and a basilica filled with worshipers, insisted that “We must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins. He repeated the Saint of Assisi’s prayer May the Holy Spirit, in this moment in which a new time is opening for the Church, full of hope, reawaken in men who are at the window the expectancy of the message, and in the messengers the will to make it reach them, even at the cost of their life.
Let’s all work at tearing down walls that stand between us and those at the window of expectancy.