VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI urged consecrated men and women in the Church to be “assiduous listeners of the Word” as he offered Simeon and Anna as examples of lives “dedicated totally to the search for the face of God.”
The Pope said this today during evening vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica on the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life, which is observed on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Reflecting on the Gospel passage that recounts the entrance of the Child Jesus into the Temple, the Holy Father noted that only “two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, discovered the great novelty” of Christ’s presence.
“Led by the Holy Spirit, they see in that Child the fulfillment of their long expectation and vigilance,” the Pontiff said. “Both contemplate the light of God that comes to illumine the world, with their prophetic gaze open to the future, as proclamation of the Messiah: ‘Lumen ad revelationem gentium (a light for revelation to the Gentiles)!'”
“The evangelical icon of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple,” he continued, “contains the essential symbol of light; the light that, coming from Christ, shines on Mary and Joseph, on Simeon and Anna and, through them, on everyone.”
The Holy Father noted that the Fathers of the Church “linked this radiation to the spiritual journey,” and he added that consecrated life “expresses this journey, in a special way as ‘philocalia,’ love of divine beauty, reflection of the goodness of God.”
Benedict XVI said the evangelical icon also “manifests the prophecy, gift of the Holy Spirit.” He explained: “Simeon and Anna, contemplating the Child Jesus, perceive his destiny of death and resurrection for the salvation of all peoples and proclaim this mystery as universal salvation.
“Consecrated life is called to this prophetic witness, linked to its twofold attitude, contemplative and active. Given to consecrated men and women, in fact, is to manifest the primacy of God, passion for the Gospel practiced as a way of life and proclaimed to the poor and to the last of the earth.”
“In this way,” he added, “consecrated life, in its daily living on the paths of humanity, manifests the Gospel and the Kingdom already present and operative.”
Finally, the Holy Father said that the evangelical icon of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple “manifests the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life dedicated totally to the search for the face of God, of his signs, of his will; a life dedicated to listening and to proclaiming his Word.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope urged, “be assiduous listeners of the Word, because the wisdom of life is born from the Word of the Lord!”
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