Pope Francis greets participants in the World Conference of Secular Institutes  (Vatican Media)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

August 26 2022

Pope Francis encourages members of the Secular Institutes World Conference (CMIS) to never tire of showing God’s closeness and tenderness through daily acts of love.

We should bear witness to God’s tenderness and love through daily gestures of love.

Pope Francis offered this encouragement when addressing the Secular Institutes World Conference (CMIS) on Thursday in the Vatican. 

CMIS was founded in 1972 and received approval from the Holy See in 1974. According to the conference’s website, its goal “is to organize collaboration among Secular Institutes so they can become, in the most effective way possible, a ‘leaven in the world for the strengthening and growth of the body of Christ,’ that is, the Church (Perfectae Caritatis, 11).”

An ‘outgoing’ Church, not separated from the world

In his address, the Pope recalled CMIS’ ‘secular’ nature, and how the Church and the people of God are on a journey “among” and “with” peoples.

“Ours is an outgoing Church, not distant, not separated from the world, but immersed in the world and in history to be its salt and light, the seed of unity, hope and salvation.”

He praised their mission which places them in the midst of the people, and enables – with “God’s style” of “closeness” – to “know and understand what is going on in the hearts of the men and women of today, to rejoice together and to suffer together.”

Witnessing God’s goodness and tenderness

“You are called to experience all the precariousness of the provisional and all the beauty of the absolute in ordinary life, on the streets where people walk, where fatigue and pain are greatest, where rights are disregarded, where war divides peoples, where dignity is denied,” he said.

Pope Francis recalled that this is where, as Jesus showed us, that God continues to give us His gift of salvation.

“You are there; you are called to be there, to bear witness to God’s goodness and tenderness with daily gestures of love.”

Strength in Christ

For strength and courage, the Pope said, pray and silently contemplate Christ.

“The prayerful encounter with Jesus fills your heart with His peace and love, which you can give to others.”

“The assiduous search for God, familiarity with Sacred Scripture and participation in the sacraments,” he continued, “are the key to the fruitfulness of your work.”

Do not tire

The Holy Father praised their vocation of opening up “frontier paths” and warned against losing momentum.

“The Church is not a workshop to calm down and rest. The Church is a mission.”

Only together, the Pope stated, can we walk as the people of God, “as seekers of meaning with all the men and women of this time, custodians of the joy of a mercy made flesh in our lives.”

Be concrete

The Pope encouraged everyone to reach people with their lives and their witness, and not in the abstract.

“Do not tire of bringing to the world the proclamation of new life, universal fraternity and lasting peace, splendid gifts of the Risen Lord!”

Pope Francis concluded by entrusting their work to the Blessed Mother, giving his blessing, and asking them to pray for him. – Vatican News