To the directors and coordinators of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – EYM

Dear friends,

The last few days have seen attacks from ultraconservatives, with the support of journalists, looking—as they have on repeated occasions—to destabilize Pope Francis and the reform of the Church. In the spiritual tradition, we learn that when the “enemy of human nature” tries to seek connivance in hearts, to draw them to his side, intending to destroy the work of God from within, he appears as an Angel of light to confuse. The entire spiritual tradition, such as the book of Bergoglio “Silence and Word” (1990) invites us not to respond directly.

When faced with such attacks, the best response, as Jesus Christ himself teaches us in his Passion, is silence, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Austen Ivereigh, his biographer comments “this type of silence supposes a deliberate choice to not respond with an intellectual or reasoned self-defense, which in a context of confusion, of claims and counter-claims, and half-truths, simply fuels the cycle of hysterical accusation and counter-accusation.” It takes courage to remain silent, but this is how the initial appearance of the angel of light is revealed, the demon (the one who divides) revealing his true intentions. This approach is characteristic of discernment in the Spiritual Exercises.

Bergoglio-Francis says this in his book “Silence and Word”: “In moments of darkness and great tribulation, when the knots and the tangles cannot be untangled or straightened out, nor things be clarified, then we have to be silent. The meekness of silence will show us to be even weaker, and so it will be the devil who, emboldened, comes into the light, and shows us his true intentions, no longer disguised as an angel but unmasked.”

In the private audience that I had with the Holy Father this past Friday, I assured him of the support and prayer of all his Worldwide Prayer Networking (including the EYM.)

The manifestations of our support and prayer must be simple. We can pray for Pope Francis, and simply remembering that our mission is to pray for his intentions, which means also praying for him, given that the intentions express his concerns and discernment for the world and then church.

In communion in the Heart of Jesus,
Frédéric Fornos, SJ
International Director