On Sunday afternoon Pope Francis told throngs of Charismatic Catholics to not obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelizing, but make the adoration of God the “foundation of renewal.” “Go forth into the streets and evangelize, proclaim the Gospel. Remember that the Church was born to go forth, that morning of Pentecost,” the Pope said June 1. “Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, with that same freedom. And please, do not cage the Holy Spirit!” He addressed 52,000 people from 55 countries who had gathered in Rome's Olympic Stadium for the national convocation of “Renewal in the Spirit.” Those gathered included two organizations that coordinate the Catholic Charismatic Renewal: International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships. The event included praise and worship music, spiritual testimonies, and a “flash mob” event, Vatican Radio reports. Pope Francis said that adoring God is the “foundation for renewal” and the basis for evangelization, spiritual ecumenism, and attention to the poor and needy. He stressed the need for “conversion to the love of Jesus” that is life-changing and turns a Christian into “a witness to God’s love.” “I hope that you will share with all in the Church the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “I expect from you an evangelization with the Word of God that proclaims that Jesus lives and loves all humankind.” He said he hopes that they will witness to “spiritual ecumenism” with all Christians of other Churches and communities. “May you remain united in the love that the Lord Jesus asks of all for all mankind, and in prayer to the Holy Spirit to reach this unity, necessary for evangelization in the name of Jesus,” the Pope continued. “Be close to the poor and needy to touch in their flesh the wounded flesh of Jesus. Seek unity in renewal because unity comes from the Holy Spirit and is born of the unity of the Trinity.” He especially denounced the danger of splits and infighting. “Where does division come from? The devil! Division comes from the devil,” Pope Francis said. “Flee from internal struggles, please!” “Teach us not to fight between ourselves over a little more power,” he prayed, adding “teach us to increasingly love the Church that is our 'team', and to keep our hearts open to receive the Holy Spirit.” The Pope also warned against “excessive organization.” “Yes, you need organization, but do not lose the grace of letting God be God!” he said. He urged attendees at the Charismatic gathering to be “dispensers” of God's grace and not “controllers” of it. The pontiff then answered questions from priests, young people, families, the sick and the elderly. He told priests to remain close to Christ and to his faithful. He warned young people not to keep their youth “locked away in a safe” but instead to “Bet on great things.” He encouraged the sick to imitate Jesus in their difficulties. He praised the elderly’s wisdom and memory. Pope Francis prayed that God might grant everyone the “holy intoxication of the Spirit that enables us to speak many languages, the languages of charity, always close to those brothers and sisters who need us.”
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