Cardinal João Braz De Aviz appealed for harmony in closing remarks to the International Conference “Consecratio et consecratio per evangelica consilia”, organized by the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, which ended May 6, 2018.
Cardinal De Aviz, Prefect of the CICLSAL, stated: ‘We need to keep journeying together, in a synodal manner, because the Holy Spirit speaks only where there is harmony of fraternal life’. The reflection upon the theme of ‘consecration’, which started during these days, needs to be developed further, first of all from the theological perspective, taking into account the teachings of Vatican II and the Magisterium; all this is best done in communion with other Dicasteries. On his part, Mgr José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Archbishop Secretary of the CICLSAL, affirmed: “Consecration is a dynamic reality. It is a reality of relationships because each charism has an aspect regarding relationships. We may be the dawn of the Church, as Pope Francis told us the other day, if we journey together, in communion with the Church and humanity”.
During the days of the Conference, the consecrated men and women who came from all parts of the world, held small group meetings to share their reflections and experiences on the theme of consecration, charism, fraternity, and mission.
Pope Francis spoke to the conference attendees on May 4, 2018, reminding them of the three pillars of consecrated life: prayer, poverty, and patience:
- Prayer is always returning to the first calling. Any prayer, perhaps a prayer in need, but always a return to that Person who called to me.
- Without poverty, there is no fruitfulness in consecrated life. It is the “wall”, it defends.
- When we look at Jesus, patience is what Jesus had to arrive at the end of His life. When Jesus, after the Supper, goes to the olive orchard, we can say that in that moment, in a special way, Jesus “enters in patience”.
Sharing his experience of the Conference, Kris Van Damme, a consecrated person belonging to the Spiritual Family ‘Opera’, said: “What I’m experiencing these days is the great diversity of charisms and the way consecration is understood and lived out. Despite this diversity, I perceive unity in the love of Jesus Christ and the commitment for the Church, nurtured by a strong experience of the Holy Spirit”.
Jeanne Marie Cooper, 33, who has been consecrated in the Ordo Virginum for about 10 years, is a judge and coordinator at the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. This is her impression: “During this Conference, I felt encouraged by the opening of the Congregation toward the various Forms of Consecrated Life, like the Ordo Virginum, which are new realities in the life of the Church. It was a joy meeting other consecrated virgins from all parts of the world, and discover how similar our personal experiences are, in spite of our different cultural contexts”.