At his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 25, Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about the creed — looking at what Catholics believe about the church — and focused on the Catholic belief in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.”
Catholics of every culture, language and part of the world are united in their common baptism and in sharing the church’s one faith and sacramental life, the pope said.
This unity in faith, hope, the sacraments and ministry “are like columns that support and hold together the one great edifice of the church,” he said. And it also helps Catholics feel like members of one family, “united no matter the distance” between them.
But the pope asked people to reflect upon whether they live out this unity or are they uninterested — preferring to be closed off from others, isolated within their own community, group of friends or nation.
“It’s sad to see a ‘privatized’ church because of egoism and this lack of faith,” he said.
It’s especially sad when there are so many fellow Christians in the world who are suffering or being persecuted because of their faith, he said.
“Am I indifferent or is it like someone in the family is suffering?” he asked.
He asked everyone to be honest with themselves and respond in their hearts: “How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted” and for those who are in difficulty for professing and defending the faith?
“It’s important to look beyond one’s own fence, to feel oneself as church, one family of God,” he said.
I humbly pray that God will protect and bless all other brothers and sisters who are facing persecution and violence because they love the Lord. Please also open the hearts of the persecutors so that they may know that you are God, repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and lead Christ-filled lives.
Please also give me the love and fidelity to always put the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ and the Church, before my own prayer needs.