Pope Francis on January 20, 2018, said: “our vocation is one of remembrance, that ‘Deuteronomic’ dimension of life.” He added that vocations will always have a double dimension: “roots in the earth and hearts of heaven.”
His comments came in an address to a gathering with the Priests, Religious Men and Women and Seminarians of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Northern Peru in the “Colegio Seminario SS. Carlos y Marcelo in Trujillo. Before the gathering, he made a “Popemobile Tour” of the Buenos Aires District of Trujillo, and made a brief visit to the city’s cathedral.
“Our vocations will always have that double dimension: roots in the earth and hearts in heaven,” the Pope stressed. “When one of these two is missing, something begins to go wrong and our life gradually withers.”
He continued with the theme of “remembrance,” noting that “it recognizes that neither life, nor faith, nor the Church began with the birth of any one of us.” And remembrance “looks to the past in order to discover the sap that nourished the hearts of disciples for centuries, and thus comes to recognize God’s presence in the life of his people.”
The Holy Father went on to mention three “virtues” of remembrance.
- A joyful self-awareness: “It is good to know that we are not the Messiah! It frees us from thinking that we are overly important or too busy…To be a people of remembrance frees us from the temptation of thinking that we are messiahs. We can fight this temptation in many ways, but also with laughter. Yes, learning to laugh at ourselves gives us the spiritual ability to stand before Lord with our limitations, our mistakes, and our sins, but also our successes, and the joy of knowing that he is at our side. A good spiritual test is to ask ourselves whether we can laugh at ourselves.
- The time of the call: “When we forget that hour, we forget our origins, our roots; and by losing these basic coordinates, we lose sight of the most precious part of our lives as consecrated persons: the Lord’s gaze…Remembering the moment of our call, rejoicing in the memory of Christ’s entrance into our lives, will help us to say that beautiful prayer of Saint Francisco Solano, the great preacher and friend of the poor: My good Jesus, my redeemer, and my friend! What do I have, that you have not given me? What do I know, that you have not taught me?”
- Contagious joy: “This joy opens us up to others; it is a joy to be shared. In the fragmented world in which we live, a world that can make us withdrawn, we are challenged to become builders and prophets of community. For no one is saved alone. I would like to be clear about this. Fragmentation or isolation are not things that just happen ‘out there’, only a problem with the ‘world’.”
The Pope urged the priests, religious and seminarians to remember the importance of prayer in the family, recalling that most who enter religious formation have been shaped by the faith of their families and neighbors. This is where people take their first steps to a vocation, he said.
“I urge you not to forget, much less look down on, the solid and simple faith of your people,” Francis stressed. “Welcome, accompany and stimulate their encounter with the Lord. Do not become ‘professionals of the sacred’ by forgetting your people, from whose midst the Lord took you. Do not lose your remembrance and respect for those who taught you how to pray.”