Dear brother priests:

First of all, THANK YOU for your presence here, but much more for your service to the People of God, your dedication to the people who is entrusted, day after day and especially in the recent pandemic thatIt has been for us, ministers of God, a time that has put us to tough test for everyone.

I am happy to be able to meet you today and have this opportunity to look with you at my life and our life. I speak to you with an open heart, without formalities, and therefore I begin with first of all tell you something about myself and also after that, from time to time when I will share with you something about my life.

An option that must always be renewed

When Pope Francis told me in April 2021 that he wanted calling me to Rome to become Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, I took a scare I would never have imagined working one day in the Vatican, far from my land and far from my people. In Korea I was a happy bishop, committed together with my diocese on a promising path after the footprints of our martyrs. Pope Francis had come to us in the diocese for Asian Youth Day and had emerged interesting initiatives. We had also held a diocesan Synod that brought together priests and lay people, and I was building a new Curia diocesan.

And this call came, this request from the Pope. I told him: “But I am a peasant, son of peasants.” The Pope was not impressed by that.

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General Audience of 18 October 2023 – Catechesis

Catechesis. The passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer. 23. Saint Charles de Foucauld, the beating heart of charity in the hidden life

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Let us continue in our encounter with some Christian witnesses rich in zeal for proclaiming the Gospel. Apostolic zeal, the zeal for proclamation: and we are looking at some Christians who have been an example of this apostolic zeal. Today I would like to talk to you about a man who made Jesus and his poorest brothers the passion of his life. I refer to Saint Charles de Foucauld, who “drawing upon his intense experience of God, made a journey of transformation towards feeling a brother to all” (Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 286).

And what is the “secret” of Charles de Foucauld, of his life? After living a youth far from God, without believing in anything other than the disordered pursuit of pleasure, he confides this to a non-believing friend, to whom, after having converted by accepting the grace of God’s forgiveness in Confession, he reveals the reason for his life. He writes: “I have lost my heart to Jesus of Nazareth”. [1] Brother Charles thus reminds us that the first step in evangelizing is to have Jesus inside one’s heart; it is to “fall head over heels” for him. If this does not happen, we can hardly show it with our lives. Instead, we risk talking about ourselves, the group to which we belong, a morality or, even worse, a set of rules, but not about Jesus, his love, his mercy. I see this in some new movements that are emerging: they talk about their vision of humanity, they talk about their spirituality and they feel theirs is a new path… But why do you not talk about Jesus? They talk about many things, about organization, about spiritual journeys, but they do not know how to talk about Jesus. I think that today it would be good for each one of us to ask him- or herself: “Do I have Jesus at the centre of my heart? Have I ‘lost my head’ a bit for Jesus?”.

Read the full document in PDF: General Audience of 18 October 2023 – Catechesis. eng