In the catechesis of the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope presented the figure of the Frenchwoman Madeleine Delbrêl, an example of passion in the proclamation of the Gospel. “We just keep standing, moving forward, moving, in an impulse of charity. It’s what she calls ‘bicycle spirituality'”.
Mariangela Jaguraba – Vatican News
In the catechesis of the General Audience, this Wednesday (08/11), held in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about a 20th century French woman: the venerable servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl.
Madeleine was born in 1904 and died in 1964. “She was a social worker, writer and mystic, and lived for more than thirty years in the poor, working-class outskirts of Paris”, the Pope highlighted in his catechesis. Dazzled by her encounter with the Lord, she wrote: “Once we know the word of God, we have no right not to receive it; Once received, we have no right not to let it incarnate in us, once incarnated in us, we have no right to keep it for ourselves: from that moment on we belong to those who await it.”
“After an adolescence spent in agnosticism, Madeleine met the Lord around the age of twenty, impressed by the testimony of some friends. She then went in search of God, giving voice to a deep thirst she felt within herself, and came to understand that “that “emptiness that screamed its anguish within her” was God who was looking for her”, said the Pope.
“Spirituality of the bicycle”
“The joy of faith leads her to develop a life option entirely surrendered to God, in the heart of the Church and in the heart of the world, simply sharing in fraternity the lives of ‘people on the streets'”, underlined Francisco, adding:
Poetically addressing Jesus, he writes: “To be with You on Your path, we must go, even when our laziness begs us to stay. You chose us to remain in a strange balance, a balance that can be established and maintained only in movement, only in one impulse. A bit like a bicycle, which cannot hold without turning […] We just keep standing, moving forward, moving, in an impulse of charity.” This is what she calls “bicycle spirituality”. Only on the way, on the track, do we live in the balance of faith, which is an imbalance, but it’s like a bicycle, if you stop, you fall.
The heart always on the way out
According to the Pope, Madeleine “had her heart always outgoing, and allowed herself to be challenged by the cry of the poor. She felt that the Living God of the Gospel should burn within us until we bring his name to those who have not yet found him.”
In this spirit, focused on the convulsions of the world and the cry of the poor, Madeleine feels called to “live the love of Jesus fully and to the letter, from the oil of the Good Samaritan to the vinegar of Calvary, giving it so love for love […]”.
Living this faith “in movement”
Madeleine Delbrêl teaches us something else: that by evangelizing we are evangelized. That’s why she said, remembering Saint Paul: “Woe is me if I don’t proclaim the Gospel!” “Evangelizing, evangelizes a person and this is a beautiful doctrine”, underlined Francisco.
Looking at this witness to the Gospel, we too learn that in every personal or social situation and circumstance of our lives, the Lord is present and calls us to live our time, to share the lives of others, to mingle in the joys and sorrows of the world. In particular, he teaches us that even secularized environments help us to convert, because contacts with non-believers provoke the faithful to continually review their way of believing and to rediscover faith in its essentiality.
“May Madeleine Delbrêl teach us to live this faith “in movement”, so to speak, this fruitful faith that every act of faith becomes an act of charity in the proclamation of the Gospel”, concluded the Pope.