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Pope Francis: Church invites us to look to the East

A new book with Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-Sik “gives voice to the Church of the East” through stories, anecdotes, and reflections, according to a preface written by Pope Francis.

By Vatican News staff reporter

“The Church, in its theological and liturgical tradition has always turned to the East, and invites us to look there,” Pope Francis writes, “because from the East rises the light, the sun of justice, the shining star that is Christ.”

The Pope’s comments come in the preface to a new book recounting stories, anecdotes and reflections by Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-Sik, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy.

“Lazzaro You Heung-Sik: As the lightning comes from the East” is available in Italian from publishing house Edizioni San Paolo.

Cover of the book "Lazzaro You Heung-Sik: Come la folgore viene da Oriente"

Cover of the book “Lazzaro You Heung-Sik: Come la folgore viene da Oriente”

“The Church always needs to be enlightened by Christ and His Gospel,” because it runs the risk of not being the Church Jesus intends, the Pope writes. “Jesus continues to be a scandal today, a sign of contradiction that challenges our securities and shakes up our hearts so that they are not paralysed by fear, imprisoned in hypocrisy, or hardened by sin.”

That, he said, is why he was happy to introduce a book “that intends to give voice to the Chuch of the East,” in the person of Cardinal Lazarus.

The Pope praises the Cardinal for his “amiable and affable manner” that “allows us to grasp the fruits of a faith sown in the land of martyrs and that have blossomed with simplicity thanks to the joyful witness of a living Church.”

A Church that is faithful to Jesus

From the story that emerges, Pope Francis says, “we can glimpse the way for all of us to remain as a Church that is faithful to Jesus and His Gospel, far from all worldliness.”

The Holy Father concludes his preface with a word of gratitude to Cardinal Lazarus and to the editors of the book, because, he says, “we all need this light form the East.” We need to listen to our eastern brothers and sisters, to journey to the East and learn from “a spiritual and ecclesial way of life that can reinvigorate our fatih.”

Finally, he says, we must remember that, even in hardship and darkness, the Lord comes like a bolt of lightning, “and desires to illuminate our lives.”

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