The following are the unprepared words the Holy Father Francis addressed this afternoon to the faithful gathered outside the Cathedral, before his meeting with the bishops of Bangladesh in Dhaka:
Words of the Holy Father
I thank all of you who are here, Christian leaders and lay people who work in the service of God’s kingdom. They told me I had to say a few words to you, and one word comes to mind, which I would like to share with you. The Apostle Paul said that he felt in his heart: “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).
We want the Gospel to be lived as a grace, a treasure, which we have received freely. We need to ask the Lord to give us the grace to feel as Paul did: to feel that fire, that burning in our hearts, to evangelize. This has nothing to do with proselytizing, not at all. The Church, the Kingdom of God, does not grow by proselytizing. She grows by witness. That means showing by our words and our lives the treasure we have received. That is what it means to evangelize. I live this way, I live this word, and may others see this; but that is not to proselytize.
I thank you for all that you are doing, I thank you for your commitment, I thank you for showing forth the gift that God has given us.
And I dare to ask you a favour. Guard the treasure that God has given us in the Gospel. The best means to guard it is God’s grace. So I ask you to keep praying, for His grace to come and enable you to guard this treasure.
Let us continue, then, to let others see this treasure which God freely gave us and which we must freely offer to others. And now, as brothers and sisters, all together, let us implore this grace for one another, by praying the prayer that Jesus taught us: “Our Father…”
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.
Do not forget to pray for me.