» 02/02/2014, 00.00
Pope: The Church and the world need the religious, "a sign of God in the different areas of life "
On the Day for Consecrated Life , the Pope speaks of those who "with the profession of vows belong fully and exclusively to God". " The Church or the world without nuns is unthinkable". "To love and serve life, to welcome, respect and promote it, especially when it is fragile and in need of attention and care, from the womb to its end on this earth".
Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - The
Church and the world needs the witness of God's love and mercy given by men and
women religious" signs of God in the different areas of life", "
yeast for the growth of a more just and fraternal society, prophecy of sharing
with young and poor". Pope
Francis was speaking at the Angelus, marking today's Feast of the Presentation
of the Lord, Day of Consecrated Life, before 50 thousand people present in St
Peter's Square, despite pouring rain. "You
are all wet there in the square - the Pope greeted them - but you are brave!.
At the end of the Marian prayer,
he recalled that in Italy today is also the Day for Life, saying that
"everyone in their role and in their field, should feel themselves called
to love and serve life, to welcome, respect and promote it, especially when it
is fragile and in need of attention and care, from the womb to its end on this
Marking the Day dedicated to religious
life, this morning the Pope celebrated Mass (pictured) in the Saint Peter's Basilica,
in the presence of thousands of nuns, friars, monks and consecrated lay people.
a cue from the Gospel of Jesus' presentation in the temple, he reflected on the
encounter between the young and old, within religious communities, as well as
the encounter "between observance and prophecy", like that
of the young Mary and Joseph and the elderly Simeon and Anna, the two "
newlyweds " with " the joy of walking in the law of the Lord"
and the older couple "full of joy for the action of the Holy Spirit".
"This Gospel episode - he said
later at the Angelus - is also an icon of the gifting of their entire lives by
those who, through a gift of God, take on the typical traits of Jesus, chaste,
poor and obedient, the Anointed One of the Father. This
offering of themselves to God relates to every Christian, because we are all
consecrated to Him through baptism. We are all called to offer ourselves to the
Father with Jesus and like Jesus, making a generous gift of our life, in the
family, at work, in the service the
Church, in works of mercy. Nevertheless, this consecration is lived in a
particular way by the religious, monks, consecrated lay people, who with the
profession of vows, fully and exclusively belong to God. This belonging to the
Lord allows those who live it in an authentic way to offer a special witness to
the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Totally
consecrated to God, they are totally consigned to their brethren, to bring the
light of Christ there where the darkness is densest and to spread His hope in
the hearts of the disheartened".
"Understood and lived in
this way, consecrated life appears as it really is: a gift from God, a gift of
God to the Church, a gift of God to His people. Every consecrated person is a
gift to the people of God on their journey. There is so much need of these
presences, which strengthen and renew the commitment to spread the Gospel,
Christian education, charity towards the needy, contemplative prayer , the
commitment to the human and spiritual formation of young people, families
, a commitment to justice and peace in the human family. Just think a little what would happen if
there were no nuns in hospitals, schools, missions, just think of a world
without sisters: it's unthinkable, these women are great!".
"The Church and the world
needs this witness of God's love and mercy. Therefore, we must appreciate, with gratitude,
experiences of consecrated life and deepen our knowledge of the different
charisms and spirituality. We must pray that many young people respond 'yes' to
the Lord who calls them to consecrate themselves wholly to Him, in selfless
service to others. Who consecrate their lives to serve God in our brothers and
sisters. For all of these reasons, as has already been announced, the year 2015
will be dedicated in a special way to consecrated life".
If Pope Francis centered his Angelus
reflection on the relationship between consecrated life and the world, during
Mass he expanded on life within religious communities. "The
Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple - he said - is also called the
Feast of the Encounter: The encounter
between Jesus and his people, when
Mary and Joseph brought their child to the Temple in Jerusalem , the first
meeting between Jesus
and his people took place, represented by the elderly couple Simeon and Anna.
This was also an encounter within the history of the people, an encounter between the young and old: the young
were Mary and Joseph with their infant, and the old
were Simeon and Anna, two characters who always attended the Temple".
"In light of this Gospel
scene let us look at consecrated life as an encounter with Christ : it is He
who comes to us, led by Mary and Joseph, and we who go to Him, guided by the
Holy Spirit. But He is at the center. He moves everything, He draws us to the
Temple, the Church, where we can encounter Him, recognize Him, welcome Him,
embrace Him. Jesus comes to us in the Church through the foundational charism
of an Institute: How beautiful it is to think of our vocation in tehis way! Our
with Christ took its shape in the Church through the charisma of one of his witnesses,
of a witness. This
always amazes us and makes us give thanks".
"And even in the consecrated
life, there is the encounter between the young and the old, between obedience
and prophecy. We should not see them as two opposing realities! Instead we
should allow the Holy Spirit animate them both, and the sign of this is joy: joy
of observing, walking according to a rule of life is the joy of being led by
the Spirit, never rigid, never closed, always open to the voice of God who
speaks, who opens up, who leads and guides us toward the horizon. It's good for
the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young, and is good for young
people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and carry it forward,
not to safeguard it, but to move forward with the challenges that life brings
us, to carry it forward for the good of their
religious orders and of the entire Church".
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