Pope to Consecrated: Fidelity Is Greatest Concern

Cautions Against Mediocrity and Minimalism

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today told priests and consecrated men and women that especially for them, the greatest concern must be fidelity, as «faithfulness over time is the name of love.»

The Pope spoke of the special vocation of consecrated persons and priests when he celebrated vespers with them at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Fatima.

The Holy Father is on his second day of a four-day trip to Portugal.

«Each one of us is called to be with Mary and like Mary, a humble and simple sign of the Church who offers herself constantly as a spouse into the hands of her Lord,» he told the consecrated persons.

And on behalf of the Church, he expressed appreciation and recognition for their «witness, often silent and certainly not easy.»

Loyal to the call

Asking the consecrated to «let me open my heart,» Benedict XVI told them that «the greatest concern of every Christian, especially of every consecrated person or minister of the altar, must be fidelity, loyalty to one’s own vocation, as a disciple who wishes to follow the Lord.»

«Faithfulness over time is the name of love, of a consistent, true and profound love for Christ the Priest,» he added.

Then the Bishop of Rome cited a phrase from Pope John Paul II’s «Novo Millennio Ineunte» to caution against the «contradiction» of a «life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalistic ethic and a shallow religiosity.»

He prayed that «grace in abundance» would come down upon priests so they might «live joyfully» their consecration.

«This evidently supposes true intimacy with Christ in prayer, since it is the powerful and intense experience of the Lord’s love that brings priests and consecrated persons to respond to his love in way that is exclusive and spousal,» the Holy Father affirmed.

Fraternal life

After reflecting on the value of consecration as a witness for the entire People of God, Benedict XVI turned his attention to the benefit of fraternal life for priests.

«Fidelity to one’s vocation requires courage and trust,» he said, «but the Lord also wishes that you join forces: that you be concerned for one another and support one another fraternally.»

The Pope recommended moments of common prayer and study, and sharing in the demands of priestly life.

He continued: «It is a fine thing when you welcome one another into your homes with the peace of Christ in your hearts! It is important to assist one another with prayer, helpful advice and discernment!

«Be especially attentive to those situations where there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals or dedication to activities not fully consonant with what is proper for a minister of Jesus Christ. Then is the time to take a firm stand, with an attitude of warm fraternal love, as brother assisting his brother to ‘remain on his feet.'»

Free to love

The Pontiff concluded his homily with a reflection on the freedom of consecrated life.

Referring to Our Lady, he said that «with her and like her, we are free so as to be saints; free so as to be poor, chaste and obedient; free for all because detached from all, free from self so that others may grow in Christ, the true Holy One of the Father and the Shepherd to whom priests, as his presence, lend their voice and their gestures; free to bring to today’s world Jesus who died and rose again, Jesus who remains with us until the end of time and who gives himself to all in the Most Holy Eucharist.»

At the end of vespers, Benedict XVI made an Act of Entrustment and Consecration of Priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The encounter was dedicated to the priesthood in this Year for Priests.

«Immaculate Mother, in this place of grace, called together by the love of your Son Jesus the Eternal High Priest, we, sons in the Son and his priests, consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart, in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will,» the Pontiff prayed.

«Bride of the Holy Spirit, obtain for us the inestimable gift of transformation in Christ,» he continued. «May the Church be thus renewed by priests who are holy, priests transfigured by the grace of him who makes all things new.»

— — —

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Benedict XVI’s address: www.zenit.org/article-29230?l=english

Act of Consecration: www.zenit.org/article-29233?l=english

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation