ASIA/BANGLADESH - The Pope: the seed and the bud of every Christian life "is neither mine nor yours: God sows it and makes it grow

Chittagong - The seed and the bud of every Christian life "is neither mine nor yours: God sows it. And it is God who makes it grow". It can be safeguarded and nurtured not by virtue of ones own efforts, but in prayer, "asking the One who planted the seed to help me water it and if I fall asleep, let Him water it". This was recalled by Pope Francis in his meeting with religious priests, nuns, seminarians and novices in Bangladesh, which took place on the morning of Saturday 2 December in the cathedral of Chittagong. The meeting opened with the some religious speaking about their experiences. Then Francis took the floor and began talking, leaving aside his written speech thinking of the Reading of Isaiah, which will be proclaimed in the mass next Tuesday. "In those days" Pope Francis recalled, citing the Prophet, "a small sprout will rise in the house of Israel ... Isaiah describes the greatness and littleness of life at the service of God, and this concerns you, because you are men and women of faith who serve God". "Sprout" continued Pope Bergoglio "what is inside the earth sprouts. And this is the seed, that is neither mine nor yours: God sows it. And it is God who makes it grow. I am the bud, each of us can say: yes, but it is not thanks to you, but thanks to the seed that was grown. And I must water it so that it grows and reaches fullness. This is what You must bear witness to".
Also the solicitude to safeguard and allow the sprout of every Christian vocation to grow - continued Pope Francis - should not be entrusted primarily to our effort of coherence, but to the work of grace: "You must safeguard your vocation" suggested the Bishop of Rome "as if it were a child, a sick person, an elderly person. Vocation is to be fostered with human tenderness. If this dimension of human tenderness is lacking in our communities and our presbyteries, the small bud can’t grow and might dry out".
The risk of seeing that the good seed is suffocated by the bad seed - the Pope added - can be overcome "only when one has the heart that prays. To foster is to pray! Ask the One who planted the seed to help me water it and if I fall asleep, let Him water it. "To pray", added Pope Bergoglio,"is to ask the Lord to foster us and give us the tenderness that we must give to others" .
Among the dynamics that jeopardize the growth of every Christian vocation, Pope Francis once again indicated the "weeds" that can take root even in Episcopal Conferences, in religious communities and in seminaries, where human passions, flaws and limitations always threaten community life, threaten peace. The Successor of Peter, also referring to the Letter of St. James, recalled that from the beginning of Christianity among the enemies of harmony within the Christian community is "the spirit of bad-mouthing" and slander between brothers and sisters. Then he concluded his speech confessing it gives him great tenderness when he meets priests, bishops or elderly nuns who have lived their lives with fullness: "their eyes", said Pope Francis, "are indescribable, full of joy and peace". Those who have not experienced life in this way lack this brilliance in their eyes. Above all, we see this brilliance in women: look for those old nuns who have spent their whole lives serving with joy and peace. They have brilliant eyes, because they have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The small bud in these old persons became full of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. I hope that your eyes will shine with the light of the Holy Spirit".