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Seek the Lord, not security and power, Pope says to new metropolitan archbishops

Catholic World News - June 30, 2014

During Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis conferred the pallium on 24 metropolitan archbishops who had been appointed in the past year.

Recalling St. Peter’s release from imprisonment, the Pope said that St. Peter “realized that the Lord had freed him from fear and from chains. Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free.” He added:

I wonder, dear brother bishops, are we afraid? What are we afraid of? And if we are afraid, what forms of refuge do we seek, in our pastoral life, to find security? Do we look for support from those who wield worldly power? Or do we let ourselves be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer us security? Dear brother bishops, where do we find our security? The witness of the Apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God. Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery and all worldly temptation.

“Peter experienced how God’s fidelity is always greater than our acts of infidelity, stronger than our denials,” the Pope added. “He realizes that the God’s fidelity dispels our fears and exceeds every human reckoning. Today Jesus also asks us: ‘Do you love me?’ He does so because he knows our fears and our struggles … The fidelity which God constantly shows to us pastors, far in excess of our merits, is the source of our confidence and our peace. The Lord’s fidelity to us keeps kindled within us the desire to serve him and to serve our sisters and brothers in charity.”

The Pope concluded by challenging the prelates to focus on following Christ:

Today the Lord repeats to me, to you, and to all pastors: Follow me! Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things, but look to what is essential and follow me. Follow me without regard for the difficulties. Follow me in preaching the Gospel. Follow me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism and holy orders. Follow me by speaking of me to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends. Follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow me!

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