In the large cities, particularly in Rome, the question is «how to be missionaries» and «how to proclaim the joy of the Gospel?» The passionate call of Pope Francis,  is at the heart and which calls many individuals. These new requests offer new scenarios and challenges. Our presence at St. Lucia del Gonfalone, which is located in the historical center of the city, finds the Claretian Missionaries following and accompany these various moments of Roman Church history. We find within the Congregation a desire to return to our origins. We sense a need to refocus on the Word. «In principle the WORD». Let us teach for her and let us lead each pastoral proposal. Constant contact with the Word is the forefront experience for every election and for each definition of our pastoral work.

We see how fire consumes, and felt like a hammer which forges. We have gone through experiences like an arid desert and felt passion that consumes us. In the Scripture reading we have genuinely been imbued by the Word. We discover distractions, which can change who we are. The daily deafening noises surrounding us have been placated by the Divine Word. The unbearable silence, filled with the Presence of Him who mysteriously walks with us.

Like the disciples of Emmaus, we have heard the question: «who were you talking about while you were on the way?» (Lk 24.17). The question of Jesus necessarily transforms the message of life. «What is it that you crave? What are you looking for?» The experience of listening enables us to relive the process of change the two disciples go through. From a path of sadness and grief, we feel called to return, joyful and hopeful, to the community. To bear witness, to bring life among the poor and suffering. To listen transforms the reader into a disciple, a tireless servant of Christ with the poor. Only the one who listens is able to teach, to offer oneself, and to get imbued in service.

We have also experienced that getting caught up in the struggles of the poor is at times frustrating. We are never fully are able to give all we’re ask. Nothing is adequate: the means, things, time, money. The listening center, in the midst of its agitation and confusion, transforms into a permanent practice the itinerary that gives meaning to life itself. Listening – Service. To lose one’s own life is to find it. The evidence of a lived experience is the constant in the history of each call: Word Mission. I have experienced in these years the skin which makes up the importance of radical availability. The only way to a true contagion. «To touch the flesh of Christ in the poor.» Many times Pope Francis, with passion, conveyed this wish: «I wish that this city, would always have people saturated with the love of God, so that they could shine in the «PIETAS» for the suffering, to welcome those who flee from war and death, with the smile and magnificence of those who have lost hope.»

The Pope clearly says, this is a test to understand how we walk. We must be provocative with prophetic language in the Church of Rome, before any show in which there are actors and the poor. When “entering a Church, on the steps, we find the poor, we should kneel, as we kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.» This is the point. We must learn to move beyond annoyances, because of the disorder that may dirty one’s hands, to worship the mystery. To adore the presence. «I was hungry…» Only when the light surrounds you, availability come from within: «Here I am. Send Me.»

Franco Incampo CMF

Church of St. Lucia the Gonfalone – Rome