Pope Francis’ Uses of “Encounter”
Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith, 6/29/13)
- Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives.
- For those early Christians, faith, as an encounter with the living God revealed in Christ, was indeed a “mother”, for it had brought them to the light and given birth within them to divine life, a new experience and a luminous vision of existence for which they were prepared to bear public witness to the end.
- Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God in a personal encounter.
- Faith is God’s free gift, which calls for humility and the courage to trust and to entrust; it enables us to see the luminous path leading to the encounter of God and humanity: the history of salvation.
- Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
- The truth which faith discloses to us is a truth centered on an encounter with Christ, on the contemplation of his life and on the awareness of his presence.
- But if truth is a truth of love, if it is a truth disclosed in personal encounter with the Other and with others, then it can be set free from its enclosure in individuals and become part of the common good.
- Because faith is born of an encounter which takes place in history and lights up our journey through time, it must be passed on in every age.
- But what is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion.
- The Eucharist is a precious nourishment for faith: an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of his love, the life-giving gift of himself.
- Faith, as we have said, takes the form of a journey, a path to be followed, which begins with an encounter with the living God.
- Faith is born of an encounter with God’s primordial love, wherein the meaning and goodness of our life become evident; our life is illumined to the extent that it enters into the space opened by that love, to the extent that it becomes, in other words, a path and praxis leading to the fullness of love.
- Encountering Christ, letting themselves be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint.
Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel (11/24/13)
- The joy of the gospelfills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.
- I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
- I never tire of repeating those words ofBenedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”.
- Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption.
- Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus.
- Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus.
Pope Benedict’s Uses of “Encounter”
- Awakened by the preaching of God’s word, faith is nourished and grows in the grace-filled encounter with the Risen Lord which takes place in the sacraments.
- For many of the faithful, this day continues to be memorable as the moment when, even if in a rudimentary way, they first came to understand the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus.
- I ask everyone, especially ordained ministers and those who, after adequate preparation and in cases of genuine need, are authorized to exercise the ministry of distributing the Eucharist, to make every effort to ensure that this simple act preserves its importance as a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in the sacrament.
- That is why, in the Church’s most ancient tradition, the process of Christian formation always had an experiential character. While not neglecting a systematic understanding of the content of the faith, it centred on a vital and convincing encounter with Christ, as proclaimed by authentic witnesses. It is first and foremost the witness who introduces others to the mysteries. Naturally, this initial encounter gains depth through catechesis and finds its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist.
- Indeed, “only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature. And it is precisely this personal encounter with the Lord that then strengthens the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which seeks to break down not only the walls that separate the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another.”
- The Christians’ customary practice of gathering on the first day after the Sabbath to celebrate the resurrection of Christ – according to the account of Saint Justin Martyr – is also what defines the form of a life renewed by an encounter with Christ.
- There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ.
- What the world needs is God’s love; it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in him.
- The eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbour, which “consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, affecting even my feelings.
- May these martyrs of Abitinae, in union with all those saints and beati who made the Eucharist the centre of their lives, intercede for us and teach us to be faithful to our encounter with the risen Christ.
- For this reason I encourage all the faithful to renew their personal and communal encounter with Christ, the word of life made visible, and to become his heralds, so that the gift of divine life – communion – can spread ever more fully throughout the world.
- And it is the Church’s gift and unescapable duty to communicate that joy, born of an encounter with the person of Christ, the Word of God in our midst.
- There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time once more to encounter God, the God who speaks to us and shares his love so that we might have life in abundance
- The whole history of salvation progressively demonstrates this profound bond between the word of God and the faith which arises from an encounter with Christ.
- Faith thus takes shape as an encounter with a person to whom we entrust our whole life.
- On the other hand, whenever men and women, albeit frail and sinful, are sincerely open to an encounter with Christ, a radical transformation begins to take place: “but to all who received him, he gave power to become children of God”
- When we encounter Jesus, we feed on the living God himself, so to speak; we truly eat ‘the bread from heaven’”
- The Christian life is essentially marked by an encounter with Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow him.
- Let us follow the example of this great saint (Jerome) who devoted his life to the study of the Bible and who gave the Church its Latin translation, the Vulgate, as well as the example of all those saints who made an encounter with Christ the centre of their spiritual lives.
- Along these lines the Synod called for a particular pastoral commitment to emphasizing the centrality of the word of God in the Church’s life, and recommended a greater “biblical apostolate”, not alongside other forms of pastoral work, but asa means of letting the Bible inspire all pastoral work. This does not mean adding a meeting here or there in parishes or dioceses, but rather of examining the ordinary activities of Christian communities, in parishes, associations and movements, to see if they are truly concerned with fostering a personal encounter with Christ, who gives himself to us in his word.
- Yet the greatest attention was paid tolectio divina, which is truly “capable of opening up to the faithful the treasures of God’s word, but also of bringing about an encounter with Christ, the living word of God”
- We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman.
- It is not a matter of preaching a word of consolation, but rather a word which disrupts, which calls to conversion and which opens the way to an encounter with the one through whom a new humanity flowers.
- May every day of our lives thus be shaped by a renewed encounter with Christ, the Word of the Father made flesh.
- In order to assist the Catholic faithful to walk an authentic path ofmetanoia in celebrating this sacrament, through which the whole person is refocused upon the goal of encounter with Christ, it would be helpful if the bishops were to commission a serious study of traditional African reconciliation ceremonies in order to evaluate their positive aspects and their limitations.
- If you want it, the future is in your hands, because the gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon each one of you, strengthened by your encounter with Christ, can bring genuine hope to the world!
- This service of the altar and of charity will make you look forward to encountering the Lord present on the altar and in the poor.
- It is this encounter with Jesus which the Church must offer to bruised and wounded hearts yearning for reconciliation and peace, and thirsting for justice.
- “The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk1:1) is the sure path to an encounter with the person of the Lord Jesus.
- In particular, the new evangelization needs to integrate the intellectual dimension of the faith into the living experience of the encounter with Jesus Christ present and at work in the ecclesial community
- Being Christian is born not of an ethical decision or a lofty ideal, but an encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
- Personal prayer is strengthened by frequent recourse to the sacraments, which make possible an authentic encounter with God and with one’s brothers and sisters in the Church.
- Above all else, this is a summons to a new self-evangelization through an encounter with Christ, a summons directed to every ecclesial community and each of her members.
Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth, 6/29/09)
- Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature, to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.
Spe Savli (We Hope, 11/30/07)
- Paul reminds the Ephesians that before their encounter with Christ they were “without hope and without God in the world”
- The essence of the answer is given in the phrase from theLetter to the Ephesians quoted above: the Ephesians, before their encounter with Christ, were without hope because they were “without God in the world”.
- To come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope. We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God.
- The liberation that she (Josephine Bakhita) had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people.
- We have raised the question: can our encounter with the God who in Christ has shown us his face and opened his heart be for us too not just “informative” but “performative”—that is to say, can it change our lives, so that we know we are redeemed through the hope that it expresses?
- Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within.
- Yet my encounter with God awakens my conscience in such a way that it no longer aims at self-justification, and is no longer a mere reflection of me and those of my contemporaries who shape my thinking, but it becomes a capacity for listening to the Good itself.
- For prayer to develop this power of purification, it must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God.
- Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation.
Deus Caritas Est (God is Love, 12/25/05)
- Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings.
- The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its real- ism and depth in their service to others.
- Faith by its specific nature is an encounter with the living God—an encounter opening up new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason.
- Consequently, in addition to their necessary professional training, these charity workers need a “formation of the heart”: they need to be led to that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others.
- Practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for man, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ.
- Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God’s plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work.
- In his encounter “face to face” with the God who is Love, the monk senses the impelling need to transform his whole life into service of neighbour, in addition to service of God.
- In these words she expresses her whole programme of life: not setting herself at the centre, but leaving space for God, who is encountered both in prayer and in service of neighbour—only then does goodness enter the world.
Working document from the Synod for the New Evangelization
- The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal. Pope Benedict XVI stated: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. […] Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us.” In the Christian faith, the encounter with Christ and the relationship with him takes place “in accordance to the Scriptures”
- This encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, is the Father’s great gift to humanity. We are prepared for this encounter through the action of grace in us. In such an encounter, we feel an attraction which leads to our transformation, causing us to see new dimensions to who we are and making us partakers of divine life. After this encounter, everything is different as a result ofmetanoia, that is, the state of conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself. In a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, faith takes the form of a relationship with him and in remembrance of him, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, and creates in us the mind of Christ, through the Spirit, a mentality which makes us recognize our brothers and sisters, gathered by the Spirit in his Church, and, in turn, see ourselves as witnesses and heralds of this Gospel. This encounter equips us to do new things and witness to the transformation of our lives in the works of conversion as announced by the prophets.
- Indeed, before becoming action, evangelization and testimony are two states-of-mind which, as fruits of a faith in a continual state of purification and conversion, result in our lives from an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Good News of God to humanity.
- We can therefore understand how every one of the Church’s actions has an essential evangelizing character and must never be separated from the duty to help others encounter Christ in faith, the primary goal of evangelization.
- This task invites us to live life with the gentle power which comes from our identity as children of God, from our union with Christ in the Spirit, and from the newness which this union has created in us, and with the determination of someone who knows that the goal of all living is an encounter with God the Father in his Kingdom.
- The Second Vatican Council teaches that the encounter with Christ is the true light of the mystery of human existence.
- When speaking of education, the responses describe a Church who has much to contribute and who has a concept of education she has managed to spread throughout the world, namely, that the person and his formation are primary and that she desires to provide a genuine education that is open to the truth, including the encounter with God and a faith-experience.
- In other words, only those who are capable of being spiritually renewed by encountering Jesus Christ and living a life of communion with him.
- The words of eternal life, which have been given to us in our encountering Jesus Christ, are destined for everyone and each individual.
- Do not be afraid!”: these words of the Lord and the Angel sustain the faith of those who proclaim the faith and are their source of strength and enthusiasm. May their words also sustain and nurture everyone on their journey towards an encounter with God.
Pope John Paul II’s Uses of “Encounter”
Fides en Ratio (Faith and Reason, 9/14/98)
- The martyrs know that they have found the truth about life in the encounter with Jesus Christ, and nothing and no-one could ever take this certainty from them. Neither suffering nor violent death could ever lead them to abandon the truth which they have discovered in the encounter with Christ.
- For them, the first and most urgent task was the proclamation of the Risen Christ by way of a personal encounter which would bring the listener to conversion of heart and the request for Baptism.
Evangelum Vitae (Gospel of Life, 3/25/95)
- Only those who recognize that their life is marked by the evil of sin can discover in an encounter with Jesus the Saviour the truth and the authenticity of their own existence.
- In the mystery of Christ’s Birth the encounter of God with man takes place and the earthly journey of the Son of God begins, a journey which will culminate in the gift of his life on the Cross.
Dives In Misericordia (Rich in Mercy, 11/30/80)
- It is not a question here of the perfection of the inscrutable essence of God in the mystery of the divinity itself, but of the perfection and attribute whereby man, in the intimate truth of his existence, encounters the living God particularly closely and particularly often. In harmony with Christ’s words to Philip,112the “vision of the Father”-a vision of God through faith finds precisely in the encounter with His mercy a unique moment of interior simplicity and truth, similar to that which we discover in the parable of the prodigal son.
Redemptor Hominis (Redeemer of Man, 3/4/79)
- With a personal act of sorrow and the intention to amend and make satisfaction-the Church is therefore defending the human soul’s individual right: man’s right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the sacrament of Reconciliation: “Your sins are forgiven”; “Go, and do not sin again.”
Apostolic Letter The Rapid Development of the Holy Father to those Responsible for Communications (1/24/05)
- The personal encounter with the Incarnate Word does not leave one indifferent, but stimulates imitation.
- The encounter with Christ makes them new creatures, and permits them to become part of that people which he, dying on the Cross, has won through his blood, and introduces them into the intimate life of the Trinity, which is continuous and circular communication of perfect and infinite love among the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (11/10/94)
- Man achieves this fulfilment of his destiny through the sincere gift of self, a gift which is made possible only through his encounter with God.
Apostolic Letter Operosam Diem (12/1/96)
- The Bishop teaches that mystical spousal union with God must be prepared by a discipline virtuous life and that, at the same time, the moral commitment of the Christian is not inward looking but finalized mystical encounter with God.
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis (Shepherds of the Flock, 10/16/03)
- By virtue of his apostolic mission the Bishop is enabled to lead his people to the heart of the mystery of faith, where they will be able to encounter the living person of Jesus Christ.
- faithful, through popular piety, should be led to a personal encounter with Christ and to fellowship with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, especially through hearing the word of God, recourse to prayer, participation in the Church’s sacramental life, and the witness of charity and the works of mercy.
Apostolic Exhortation PASTORES DABO VOBIS (I Shall Give You Shepherds, 3/25/92)
- Every day we need not only to renew our external fidelity to times of prayer, especially those devoted to the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and those left to personal choice and not reinforced by fixed times of liturgical service, but also to strive constantly for the experience of a genuine personal encounter with Jesus, a trusting dialogue with the Father and a deep experience of the Spirit.
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (12/30/88)
- his re-evangelization is directed not only to individual persons but also to entire portions of populations in the variety of their situations, surroundings and cultures. Its purpose is theformation of mature ecclesial communities, in which the faith might radiate and fulfill the basic meaning of adherence to the person of Christ and his Gospel, of an encounter and sacramental communion with him, and of an existence lived in charity and in service.
Apostolic Exhortation Redemptionis Donum (3/25/84)
- The call to the way of the evangelical counsels springs from the interior encounter with the love of Christ, which is a redeeming love. Christ calls precisely through this love of His. In the structure of a vocation, the encounter with this love becomes something specifically personal.
Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (11/22/81)
- As prophecy, it gives them the grace and duty of living and bearing witness to the hope of the future encounter with Christ.
- The celebration of this sacrament acquires special significance for family life. While they discover in faith that sin contradicts not only the covenant with God, but also the covenant between husband and wife and the communion of the family, the married couple and the other members of the family are led to an encounter with God, who is “rich in mercy,”who bestows on them His love which is more powerful than sin, and who reconstructs and brings to perfection the marriage covenant and the family communion.