Lay faithful urged to live in communion with God, neighbors

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MANILA, September 14, 2014–Amid the prevalence of armed conflicts around the globe, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Filipinos to foster communion and live in solidarity with one another.

To achieve this, Tagle said that the faithful must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, listen to the Word of God, receive the sacraments, and heed the call of the church’s ordained ministers.

“If we want to be in communion with others, we have to open ourselves to the actions of the Holy Spirit. We should not let the influence of other spirits reign upon us,” Tagle said in his talk during the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Malate Catholic School last September 6.

Noting that the spirit of love is what binds people together, Tagle urged the laity to be more discerning of the spirit that reigns in their lives.

“Prayer, conversion, and discernment are needed for us to truly identify if the Holy Spirit is what reigns upon us. A lot of other influences might lead us astray, that is why it is very important for us to be guided by the spirit of God’s love towards communion,” he said in Filipino.

Word of God

Despite individual differences, the cardinal also emphasized the importance of the Word of God as a unifying factor that connects people all over the world.

“Even if we express the Word of God in a different language, it still conveys the same meaning. Different countries are united together to become one communion through His word,” he said.

“if we want to strengthen our relationships, we should never forget the Word of God for it is through His words that we become one,” he added.

Event of communion

Noting the importance of sacraments in the life of the faithful, Tagle called on them to perceive the sacraments not as mere social and cultural events, but as an event of communion with God and His people.

“Let us fight the temptation of perceiving sacraments as purely social or cultural events. Sacraments are not only about festive celebrations, but about events of communion with God and the community,” he said.

“It is important for us to receive sacraments with the intention of enriching our communion and not for our personal gain,” he added.
It is through the sacraments that the faithful are united with the Lord and their neighbors, he said.

Ordained ministers

According to Tagle, the church’s ordained ministers are “visible signs of unity” who serve as example to the faithful that communities flourish best through communion with one another.

He reminded priests to remain true to their mandate of guiding the faithful towards Christ and living in solidarity with one another.
“To my brother priests, we are not called by the Lord for this ministry to pave the way for selfishness and division. We received the blessing of ordination because of our mandate to serve and to become living examples of communion,” he said.

“Through us, priests, we hope that the acts of the Holy Spirit will become effective. We hope that we will be able to evangelize with the Word of God to His people, and that we will be able to bring the sacraments closer to the faithful so they may be one in communion with others,” he added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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