“Everything has been prepared in God’s plan. He weaves our history and, if we correspond with trust to His plan of salvation, we realise it. “. Today was the last general audience, before the traditional July summer break.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Prepare yourself for the mission to which God calls us and even if the ways of the Lord are “inscrutable”, we remember that ” the call always implies a mission to which we are destined; that is why we are asked to prepare ourselves seriously, knowing that it is God Himself who sends us and supports us with His grace.” It is the teaching that Francis draws from that part of the Letter to the Galatians – to which he is dedicating the catechesis for the general audience – in which Paul recalls how from being a persecutor of the Church he became an apostle.
The audience was again held in the Cortile di San Damaso, with Francis who for almost half an hour stopped to greet those present: he blessed rosaries and other objects that were brought to him and also the joined hands of a married couple, he drank the mate rang a bell, put on two coloured scarves offered by the faithful, and paused in particular with a group of girls and with some young priests.
In his catechesis he recalled that in the Letter to the Galatians, ” Paul dared to affirm that in Judaism he surpassed all others, he was a truly zealous pharisee, “as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Phil 3: 6). Twice he emphasises that he was a defender of the “traditions of the fathers” and a “staunch upholder of the law”. On the one hand, he insists in underlining that he had fiercely persecuted the Church and that he had been a “blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence” (1 Tim 1: 13); on the other, he highlights God’s mercy towards him, which led him to experience a radical transformation”.
“He has converted, he has changed. Paul thus highlights the truth of his vocation through the striking contrast that had arisen in his life: from being a persecutor of Christians because they did not observe the traditions and the law, he was called to become an apostle to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. Christ. We see that Paul is free.”
“Thinking back on this story, Paul is full of wonder and gratitude. It is as if he wanted to tell the Galatians that he could have been anything but an apostle. He had been brought up as a boy to be a blameless observer of the Mosaic Law, and circumstances had led him to fight the disciples of Christ. However, something unexpected had happened: God, by His grace, had revealed to him His Son who had died and rose again, so that he could become a herald among the Gentiles (cf. Gal 1:15-6). How inscrutable are the ways of the Lord! We experience this every day, but especially if we think back to the times when the Lord called us. We must never forget the time and the way in which God entered our lives: let us keep fixed in our hearts and minds that encounter with grace, when God changed our existence. How often, in the face of the Lord’s great works, does the question arise: how is it possible that God uses a sinner, a frail and weak person, to do His will? And yet, none of this happens by chance, because everything has been prepared in God’s plan. He weaves our history and, if we correspond with trust to His plan of salvation, we realise it. The call always implies a mission to which we are destined; that is why we are asked to prepare ourselves seriously, knowing that it is God Himself who sends us and supports us with His grace. Let us allow ourselves to be led by this awareness: the primacy of grace transforms existence and makes it worthy of being placed at the service of the Gospel.The primacy of grace covers all sins: it changes hearts, changes life, makes us see new paths ”.
In the greetings in different languages, Francis wished everyone happy holidays. Today, in fact, was the last general audience, before the traditional suspension in July. “I hope – he told the Italians – that the summer period will be an opportunity to deepen one’s relationship with God and follow him more freely on the path of his commandments”.