VATICAN CITY, March 16, 2015 – “As laypeople, you are immersed in the world and you engage in earthly realities to serve the good of man.” Pope Francis made this statement Saturday afternoon when he met members of the Rome-based lay association ‘Seguimi’ (‘Follow Me’) on Saturday on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. “You are called to permeate Christian values in the environments in which you work with the witness and the word, meeting people in their concrete situations, so that they have full dignity and are reached by salvation in Christ,” the Pope stressed in his address. “I encourage you to be lay on the front line,” he continued, “to feel an active part in the mission of the Church, to live your own secularity dedicating to the realities of the earthly city: the family, the professions, social life in the different expressions. “ If you do this, he stressed, like leaven, you can help live the Gospel through a witness of faith, hope and charity. So many times, even in the Church, he noted, we believe we are good Christians because we do social works and well-organized charity work.
While acknowledging these are good things, he underscored: “We must not forget that the sap that brings life and transforms hearts is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.” “Let Him, the Lord, occupy the center of your heart and of your work. And remaining firmly united to him as branches to the vine, you can go to the suburbs of the world,” he stressed. A program of Christian life for the laity, with clear and challenging objectives, Francis said, is an effective way to walk in the world. He noted there are many ways of participation and commitment which all people can achieve this. “Be vigilant on your spiritual journey and help yourself to practice more and mutual charity,” he said, noting this requires being able to defend one’s self from “selfishness individualistic” in order to be “true witnesses of the Gospel.” The Holy Father concluded, imparting his blessing and telling them not to forget to pray for him.