VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- To present God to a world overwhelmed by hedonism, materialism and individualism, the Church needs the testimony of chastity, poverty and obedience of consecrated persons, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope expressed this conviction Saturday when meeting in Paul VI Hall with 8,000 religious and members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life of the Rome Diocese.
“The Church has need of your testimony, she has need of a consecrated life that will address with courage and creativity the challenges of the present time,” the Holy Father told his listeners, after they were introduced by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar for Rome.
“In the face of the advance of hedonism, you are asked for the courageous testimony of chastity as expression of a heart that knows the beauty and the price of the love of God,” Benedict XVI told the men and women present.
“In the face of the thirst for money, your sober and available life at the service of the neediest is a reminder that God is the authentic wealth that does not perish,” he continued.
Finally, “in the face of individualism and relativism, which lead persons to become the sole norm of themselves,” the fraternal life of the consecrated allows them to be coordinated and therefore to obey, said the Bishop of Rome.
Such a life, he said, “confirms that you place your fulfillment in God.”
So, the consecrated person “lives in time, but his heart is projected beyond time and witnesses to contemporary man — often absorbed by the things of this world — that his true destiny is God himself.”
According to the Pope, the secret for the life of the consecrated to become a “prophetic sign” of the Kingdom of heaven, is to love God with one’s whole heart, with one’s whole soul, and with one’s whole strength, rather than any other person or thing.
“Do not be afraid to presents yourselves, even visibly, as consecrated persons, and try with all means to manifest your belonging to Christ, the hidden treasure for which you left everything,” the Pontiff exhorted.
He suggested that the consecrated take up a motto of St. Benedict: “Prefer nothing, absolutely nothing to the love of Christ.”