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Synod, October 29: Pope Francis concludes Synod session with call to adoration, service

October 30, 2023

Pope Francis concluded the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on October 29.

The second session will take place in October 2024.

“Brother cardinals, bishops and priests, men and women Religious, dear brothers and sisters, at the conclusion of this stage of our journey, it is important to look at the ‘principle and foundation’ from which everything begins ever anew: by loving,” the Pontiff preached. “Loving God with our whole life and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Not our strategies, our human calculations, the ways of the world, but love of God and neighbor: that is the heart of everything. And how do we channel this momentum of love? I would propose two verbs, two movements of the heart, on which I would like to reflect: to adore and to serve. We love God through adoration and service.”

The Pope continued:

Adoration is the first response we can offer to God’s gratuitous and astonishing love. The amazement of adoration, the wonder of worship, is something essential in the life of the Church, especially in our own day in which we have abandoned the practice of adoration. To adore God means to acknowledge in faith that he alone is Lord and that our individual lives, the Church’s pilgrim way and the ultimate outcome of history all depend on the tenderness of his love. He gives meaning to our lives ...

Let us be vigilant, lest we find that we are putting ourselves at the centre rather than him. And let us return to worship. May worship be central for those of us who are pastors: let us devote time every day to intimacy with Jesus the Good Shepherd, adoring him in the tabernacle. May the Church adore: in every diocese, in every parish, in every community, let us adore the Lord! Only in this way will we turn to Jesus and not to ourselves. For only through silent adoration will the Word of God live in our words; only in his presence will we be purified, transformed and renewed by the fire of his Spirit. Brothers and sisters, let us adore the Lord Jesus!

“To love is to serve,” the Pope added. “In the great commandment, Christ binds God and neighbor together so that they will never be disconnected. There can be no true religious experience that is deaf to the cry of the world. There is no love of God without care and concern for our neighbor; otherwise, we risk becoming pharisaic. We may have plenty of good ideas on how to reform the Church, but let us remember: to adore God and to love our brothers and sisters with his love, that is the great and perennial reform. To be a worshiping Church and a Church of service, washing the feet of wounded humanity, accompanying those who are frail, weak and cast aside, going out lovingly to encounter the poor.”

The Pope concluded:

Brothers and sisters, the General Assembly of the Synod has now concluded. In this “conversation of the Spirit,” we have experienced the loving presence of the Lord and discovered the beauty of fraternity. We have listened to one another and above all, in the rich variety of our backgrounds and concerns, we have listened to the Holy Spirit. Today we do not see the full fruit of this process, but with farsightedness we look to the horizon opening up before us. The Lord will guide us and help us to be a more synodal and missionary Church, a Church that adores God and serves the women and men of our time, going forth to bring to everyone the consoling joy of the Gospel.

Brothers and sisters, I thank you for all that you have done during the Synod and for all you continue to do. Thank you for the journey we have made together, for your listening and your dialogue. In expressing my gratitude, I would also like to offer a prayer for all of us: may we grow in our worship of God and in our service to our neighbor. To adore and to serve. May the Lord accompany us. Let us go forward with joy!

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