VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The life of consecrated souls is summed up in “aspiring to holiness,” says John Paul II.
The Pope stated this in his message to Father Camilo Maccise, general superior of the Discalced Carmelites, on the occasion of the order’s 89th general chapter, which began Monday. The meeting in Avila, Spain, runs until May 18.
The topic chosen for the general chapter is “Journeying with St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross: Return to the Essential.”
That theme, the Pope said, seeks to underscore the “will of the order to remain faithful to the charism” of its founders when “responding to the challenges of the third millennium.”
“To aspire to holiness — this is the program of every consecrated life,” the Holy Father said in his message, adding that it is a path which “calls for leaving everything for Christ.”
“Growth in the spiritual life must always be the first thing that families of consecrated life must look to, because it is precisely the spiritual quality of consecrated life that has an impact on people of our time, also thirsty for absolute values,” the papal message added.
In this regard, “the vocation of consecrated persons to seek the Kingdom of God above all is, primarily, a call to full conversion, in renouncing oneself,” he said. The vocation also calls for renouncing “anxiety for efficiency, and excessive activism,” the Pope added.
The Order of Discalced Carmelites has 20 bishops, and just over 4,000 religious, including 2,565 priests.