Pope Urges Korean Religious to Share Joy of Their Vocation, Spurn Worldly Riches

Warns Against Hypocrisy of Consecrated Who Live Like the Rich, Harming the Church

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Pope Francis has urged religious to share their joy with the world and to never be like hypocrites, living like the wealthy.

Speaking to members of South Korea’s religious communities on Saturday afternoon at the auditorium of the «School of Love» in Kkottongnae, the Holy Father encouraged them to do all they could «to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world.»

«Do not keep it to yourselves,» he stressed, but «share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country.»

He said some abuse their clerical roles by ignoring a fundamental vow. “The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church,” he said.

“Think, too,» he continued, «how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us.”

The Pontiff exhorted the assembled religious “to avoid all those things which can distract you and cause bewilderment and scandal to others.”

In the consecrated life, he said, poverty is both a «wall» and a «mother:» a «wall» because it protects the consecrated life, a «mother» because it helps it to grow and guides it along the right path.

“The experience of God’s mercy, nourished by prayer and community, must shape all that you are, all that you do,” he said, adding: “Your chastity, poverty and obedience will be a joyful witness to God’s love.”

Mature and generous obedience, Francis said, requires “you cling in prayer to Christ,” in the form of a servant.

“There are no shortcuts,” he added. “God desires our hearts completely and this means we have to ‘let go’ and ‘go out’ of ourselves more and more.” 

Inviting them to think about our own lives, the Pope recalled the Psalm, «My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,» and said this mentality must be foundational to the life of any person in the consecrated life.

While joy is not expressed the «same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty,» he said it «always endures.”

“At the center of your vocation,” he went on, “is the firm conviction of being loved by God,” to be for others “a tangible sign of the presence of God’s Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven.”

Yet, he continued, “only if our witness is joyful, will we attract men and women to Christ.”

To nourish this joy, the Pope said, religious must pray, meditate on the word of God, and celebrate the sacraments and life in community. This is “very important,” he said, departing from his prepared script. 

When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will “emerge to dampen the joy.”

Despite the many advances one can make in virtue, «this fundamental need of ours to be forgiven and healed is itself a form of poverty which we must never lose sight of,» he stressed.

No matter how weary we are or how helpless we feel, he noted, «we can offer Him our hearts burdened by sin and weakness.”

At times when we feel most helpless, we can reach out to Christ, «who made himself poor in order that we might become rich,» he said. Not only does poverty act as a source of strength, but also as a treasure. Again speaking off the cuff, Pope Francis reflected he is aware this “seems contradictory”, but that “to be poor means to find a treasure.” 

He thanked those present “for their efforts to build up God’s Kingdom in this beloved country.” South Korea has about 5,000 men and women religious.


On Zenit’s Web page:

Full Text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-korea-s-religious-communities

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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