'Praying, Worshiping God Is Not Wasting Time'

Pope Tells Consecrated Life Congregation Not to Forget Source of the Call

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“While you do not hide the areas of weakness that it is possible to verify today in consecrated life,” the Pope told consecrated persons today at the Vatican, he encouraged them to still “be listening to the signs of the Spirit, who opens new horizons and pushes to new ways.”

Speaking to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pope Francis said to let the Spirit guide them as they deal with various issues, such as: “resistance to change of some sectors,” “the diminished force of attraction,” “the number of abandonments,” “the fragility of certain formative itineraries, “anxiety over institutional and ministerial tasks at the expense of the spiritual life,” “difficult integration of the cultural and generational diversities,” and a “problematic balance in the exercise of authority and in the use of goods.”

The Holy Father acknowledged these challenges to those gathered for the session on the theme: “New Wine in New Wineskins” in Rome, Nov. 25-29, to “explore fostering creative fidelity to their specific callings and to their particular charisms within the broad vocation to consecrated life.”

Saying he found the title they chose for the session “beautiful” and “significant,” he noted how after the Second Vatican Council, “the wind of the Spirit has continued to blow with strength.”

On one hand, he said, it’s been “driving institutes to implement the spiritual, charismatic and institutional renewal, which the council itself requested,” and on the other, “arousing in men’s and women’s hearts new ways of responding to Jesus’ invitation to leave everything to dedicate their lives to following Him and to the proclamation of the Gospel.”

“In the part of the Lord’s vineyard, represented by those who have chosen to imitate Christ more closely through the profession of the evangelical counsels,” he said, “new grape has matured and new wine has been distilled. “

The Jesuit Pope urged them not to be afraid to renew habits and structures, in the life of the Church and, therefore, also in consecrated life.

While calling on them to let the creative audacity of their founders inspire them, he stressed their works are always guided by certain criteria: “the evangelical originality of the choices, charismatic fidelity, the primacy of service, care of the littlest and fragile, respect of the dignity of every person.” 

Given this, Francis encouraged them to continue their work “with generosity and enterprise in the Lord’s vineyard, to foster the growth and maturation of lush bunches, from which to be able to extract that generous wine.”

This, he added, “will be able to reinvigorate the life of the Church and rejoice the heart of so many brothers and sisters in need of your solicitous and maternal care.”

The Argentine Pope concluded, saying the substitution of the old wineskins with the new does not happen automatically, but “calls for commitment and ability, to offer the ideal space to receive and bear fruit the new gifts with which the Spirit continues to beautify the Church, his Bride,” and reminded them not to forget “the Owner of the vineyard who has called you to this exalted task.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-address-to-congregation-for-institutes-of-consecrated-life-and-societies-of-apostolic

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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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