Vatican City

Pope tells seminarians to put Eucharist at center of formation

Pope Francis said making God the 'cornerstone' of one's life 'can only be achieved through adoration'

Justin McLellan, OSV News

Updated: February 06, 2024 05:43 AM GMT

Pope Francis leaves at the end of a mass at St Peter’s basilica for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2, in The Vatican. (Photo: AFP)

If seminarians want to advance in their discernment and practice of religious life they must place the Eucharist at the center of their formation, Pope Francis wrote.

Making God the cornerstone of one's life can only be achieved through adoration, the pope said in a message to seminarians from the Archdiocese of Madrid.

Instead of reading his prepared remarks to the seminarians Feb. 3, he opted to field questions from them for more than an hour, reported COPE, the radio station owned by the Spanish bishops' conference. COPE's Vatican correspondent reported that among other things, the pope warned them against falling into ideology, which prevents us from looking at people as brothers and sisters.

For seminarians studying how to transmit Jesus to others, there is no other example but himself, the pope said in his written message. Jesus will be our teacher, patient, severe, gentle or firm as we need in our discernment, because he knows us better than we know ourselves, and he waits for us, encourages us and sustains us in all our journey, he wrote.

The pope encouraged the seminarians to come face to face with the Eucharist each morning, a practice which makes us reflect on the futility of our worldly ideas, of our desires to ascend, to appear, to stand out.

He who is immense makes a total gift of himself, and in my hands before receiving Communion he asks me: Have you reconciled with your brother or sister? Have you dressed in festive attire? Are you ready to enter my eternal banquet? the pope wrote.

Pope Francis told the seminarians to attend Eucharistic adoration so that you may build the temple of God in your persons and in your communities with docility.

The group traveled to Rome to accompany their archbishop, Cardinal José Cobo Cano, in formally taking possession of his titular church in Rome, St. Mary of Montserrat, which was built in 1506 as a church for the Spanish pilgrims traveling to Rome. With a titular church, the cardinals become members of the clergy of Rome, evoking ancient times when the cardinals who elected popes were pastors of the city's parishes.

Meeting with the Spanish seminarians at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged them to go into the desert as Jesus did, so that Christ may speak directly to their hearts.

If one is full of worldliness, of things -- no matter if they are deemed 'religious' -- God will not find a place (in him), nor will we hear him when he knocks at our door, he wrote.

Therefore silence, prayer, fasting, penance, asceticism are necessary to free ourselves from what enslaves us and to be entirely for God, the pope wrote.

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