Meeting With The Capuchin Religious Of The Brands, Oct. 10. 2019 © Vatican Media

‘Joy Is Your Strength,’ Says Pope Francis to the Capuchins

Meeting with the Religious

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“Joy is your strength,” Pope Francis pointed out and proposed as a program of life to the Capuchin Religious.

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, the Holy Father met with 73 of the Friars Minor Capuchins of the Italian province of Las Marcas, in the small room adjacent to Paul VI Hall, reported “Vatican News,” in a summary of an article published in L’Osservatore Romano.

In addressing this group, the Pontiff spoke of God’s call, fulfilled in a different way and with varied methods. Nevertheless, He always does so inviting to conversion, which is an intense option, “a decision that involves the consecrated person and leads him forward on the path of life,” he affirmed.

Constant Conversion

 In this connection, the Pope recalled how Saint Teresa of Jesus [of Avila] warned the nuns of the temptation to consider themselves the object of injustice, which entails the “whining adage,” a position that must be compensated with conversion. And he added that to enter a Religious Community implies constant conversion, as that is what leads to humility.

Moreover, the Bishop of Rome stressed again the importance of speaking with the theology of nouns, not with adjectives, exactly as the Franciscan spirit highlights.

Testimony of Poverty

Pope Francis alluded also to the topic of “misionaridad,” linked to the lack of vocations. Once one is consecrated “one must not think of oneself, but live as a witness. Proselytism must certainly not be engaged in, <but>, rather, to preach Jesus more through one’s existence rather than through words, as Francis of Assisi himself recommended to his brothers,” he explained.

For Pope Francis, personal witness, as was the case of contemporary examples, such as Teresa of Calcutta, calls forth respect between believers and non-believers. Therefore, he invited those present go give their own witness of meekness, but, especially, of poverty lived in practice, as the devil attacks precisely given the incoherence in the vow of poverty. And he recalled Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s words, who said that this should be the “mother and wall” of religious life.

Worldliness and Clericalism

 The Holy Father warned against worldliness, At times present in the Church, which harms the institution, — the reason why Jesus asked the Father to keep us away from the spirit of the world, which ruins everything, but not from the world itself. And to counteract this evil, he stressed the need for humility.

Finally, the Pope mentioned another temptation for the Church: clericalism, which is the child of worldliness and which can make Pastors pass from being servants to being masters. Therefore, it’s necessary to rediscover and take up again the structure of service in the heart of the ecclesial community, he added.

The Pope invited the Religious to live their Rule naturally, accepting others and respecting them. “Fraternal communion is natural, it’s not created artificially. It’s a grace of the Holy Spirit and is nourished by forgiveness,” he stressed.

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