Teaching is a work of spiritual mercy

“In living your charism, which you concretely carry out through education”, it is good to remember that teaching “is one of the spiritual works of mercy”: Pope Francis underlines this in the address delivered this morning to the members of the International Association of the Faithful of pontifical right “Fraternidad de Agrupaciones Santo Tomás de Aquino” (Fasta), received in audience in the Sala Clementina. We are publishing our own translation of the papal text from Spanish.

I wish to offer you my congratulations and best wishes for the sixtieth anniversary of the Fraternidad de Agrupaciones Santo Tomás de Aquino (F auction ). I thank Father César Garcés, president of F auction , for his kind words. Faced with the recent death of Brother Aníbal Fosbery, who founded you in 1962 with a great desire to contribute to the implementation of the teachings that arose from the Vatican Council ii we can only give thanks to God, with humility, for the good fruits that the Spirit has aroused in his person and in his ministry with this work of the apostolate.

One of the novelties of the Council was that of becoming aware of the rights and duties of the laity with respect to the evangelizing mission, which they too possess, as sons and daughters of God thanks to baptism. The lay faithful have the important responsibility of bringing the light of the Gospel to temporal realities, in communion with the pastors of the Church and moved by Christian charity (cf. Apostolicam actuositatem, no. 7).

It is always surprising to see how the Holy Spirit makes his way into every reality of the human being through the talents he inspires in the disciples of Jesus. And today we see how your Fraternity has accepted the conciliar message and has initiated various projects for the evangelization of culture, youth and the family, creating a great variety of educational institutions, such as schools, universities and university residences in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the Fraternidad Santo Tomás de Aquino for priests and the Fraternidad Apostólica Santa Catalina de Siena for consecrated women are a valid service for maturing the charisms of teaching in all the faithful, including those who have consecrated themselves to the Lord.

The historical context in which your patron saint, Thomas Aquinas lived, also had its challenges. At that time – the xiii century – the writings of the Greek philosopher Aristotle were being rediscovered in the West. Some were reluctant to study his works, as they feared that his pagan thinking was at odds with the Christian faith. However, St. Thomas found that most of Aristotle’s works were in tune with Christian Revelation. That is, St. Thomas was able to show that there is a natural harmony between faith and reason. When we become aware of this richness, which is essential for overcoming fundamentalisms, fanaticisms and ideologies, a wide path opens up to make the message of the Good News reach different cultures, always with proposals that are compatible with the intelligence of the human being. and respectful of the identity of each people.

Another testimony that St. Thomas left us was his profound relationship with God, which is manifested, for example, in the adoration of Jesus in his real presence in the Eucharist. We know that he was the author of very beautiful Eucharistic hymns still used today in the Liturgy of the Church. His spirituality helped him discover the mystery of God, while his talents caused him to mold it in writing. This is an important fact: to dissect the presence of the Lord in the world, in events, it is necessary to pray, to have the heart united to that of Jesus in the shrine. Thus our spirit is nourished, strengthened, human potentialities, such as intelligence, are perfected, and we are able to see every situation in a transcendent way, even those that, in the face of human logic, can only present a disheartening panorama. Faith and reason, when they walk holding hands, are capable of strengthening the culture of the human being, imbuing the world with meaning, and building societies that are more human, more fraternal and, consequently, more full of God.

In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium I commented that there are new cultures in the world where the Christian “no longer wont be the promoter or generator of meaning, but receives from them other languages, symbols, messages and paradigms that offer new orientations of life, often in contrast with the Gospel of Jesus An unprecedented culture beats and is planned in the city “(n. 73). The evangelizing challenge that you share as an association, especially in the context of plural, multicultural and multireligious cities, implies on your part a great humility to know how to approach everyone, without excluding anyone, even those who do not share our faith or our values. And there to enter into dialogue with people, with their dreams, with their stories, their wounds and their labors, since everything that is human is worthy of being embraced by the love and mercy of God.

In living your charism, which you concretely carry out through education, it is important that you remember that teaching is precisely one of the spiritual works of mercy. Education offers a meaning, a narrative to every element of the life of the human being. It does not end in sharing knowledge or developing skills, but, as its etymology shows, it helps to bring out the best in each person, to polish the diamond that the Lord has placed in everyone. Education contributes to ensuring that this diamond lets the Light, which is Christ, pass through (cf. Jn 8, 12) and so that it shines in the middle of the world. But we also remember the words that Jesus addresses to us in Matthew’s Gospel: “You are the light of the world […] nor is a lamp lit to put it under the bushel, but over the lamp to give light to all who are in the house “(Mt 5, 14-15). That is, the Lord makes us partakers of his light, of his very nature, and for this reason each of his disciples illuminates the world, removing darkness and transforming reality.

I would like to conclude my message by entrusting you to the protection of our Most Holy Mother. Fra ‘Aníbal chose a Marian feast to found the Fraternity. Always remember that his apostolic works also have a maternal dimension. And Mary teaches us to be evangelizers of culture, of young people and of families by bringing divine tenderness. May our Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the world, multiply the good fruits that this work brings about in society, for the good of the whole human family. God bless you. Thank you.

In the footsteps of the Council

“On our journey”, permeated with synodality, we are always faced with the challenge of “inculturating the Gospel, responding from our charism to the mission entrusted to us by the Church, in the various social, political, cultural and religious realities that continue to challenge us”. This was underlined by the president of Fasta, Father César Garcés Rojas, in his greeting to the Pope at the beginning of the meeting. «We were born children of the Order of Preachers. At the dawn of the Second Vatican Council, a group of young lay people appeared with the dream of being protagonists of a new world, imbued with a profound love for God and the Church ”. And enriched by the experience of sixty years of walking, he pointed out, “immersed in a story of joys and sorrows, in the midst of generous gestures, misery and limitations, we come as” pilgrims of hope “”, stubborn to walk the roads of new evangelization, “taking the family, youth and culture as pastoral priorities”.

And this following the teaching of the founder of the association – “with the steps of the Church, neither forward nor backward” – and “in the renewal to always have an open mind and a heart ready for conversion that allows us to meet everyone and, everywhere may he be, bring him closer to merciful Jesus ».

Teaching is a work of spiritual mercy – L’Osservatore Romano