The Church is not merely “a human enterprise,” but rather “a love story,” said Pope Francis, and the faithful must remember that it is only in the path of love that the Church can grow.
The Church began “in the heart of the Father,” said the Pope at an April 24 Mass for Vatican Bank employees in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.
“So this love story began, a story that has gone on for so long, and is not yet ended,” he explained. “We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is.”
Pointing to the growth and persecution of the early Church, Pope Francis stressed that the faithful must not compromise to get “more partners in this enterprise,” Vatican Radio reported.
He cautioned that “the Church does not grow by human strength” but through the path of love.
While some Christians have “taken the wrong path” and “waged wars of religion,” he said, “that is not the story of love.”
“Yet we learn, with our mistakes, how the story of love goes,” he continued, explaining that it is the Holy Spirit rather than any military strength that allows the Church to grow.
The Pontiff asked the mothers in the congregation how they might feel if someone referred to them as “a domestic administrator.” He suggested that they might respond, “No, I am the mother!”
Likewise, he said, “the Church is Mother.”
“And we are in the middle of a love story that continues thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. All of us together are a family in the Church, who is our Mother,” he explained.
Pope Francis turned to Mary to ask for “the grace of the spiritual joy of participating in this love story” with her son.