Counsels Are Living Exegesis, Pope Tells Religious

1,600 Young Nuns Meet With Benedict XVI

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MADRID, Spain, AUG. 19, 2011 ( Benedict XVI looked out this morning over a sea of veils of various lengths and colors, as some 1,600 young women religious met with the Pope at the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

The Holy Father’s first full day in Madrid for the 26th World Youth Day began with private Mass at the apostolic nunciature. Afterward he travelled to the monastery, which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1984. There he met with religious and then with university professors.

The exuberant young religious — with postulants’ and guests’ bare heads standing out among the gray, black and white habits — showed their accustom to silence as they listened attentively to the Pope’s words in lightly accented Spanish.

The Holy Father noted how the famous library of the monastery preserves important editions of Scripture and monastic rules. “Yet your own lives of fidelity to the calling you have received is itself a precious means of preserving the word of the Lord,” he told the nuns.

“Dear sisters, every charism is an evangelical word which the Holy Spirit recalls to the Church’s memory,” the Pope reflected. “It is not by accident that consecrated life ‘is born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life.

“A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty and obedience becomes a living “exegesis” of God’s word. … Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel.'”

The Pontiff alluded to the theme of World Youth Day as he spoke of consecrated life as a “going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love.”

“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter,” he encouraged the religious.

“In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

“The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ,” the Holy Father affirmed. “Thank you for your generous, total and perpetual ‘yes’ to the call of the Loved One.”

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