“The Church needs you,” was the key message of Pope Francis in his January 21, 2018, address at the Terce Prayer with Contemplative Sisters at Lima’s Lord of the Miracles Shrine.
Repeating that message, he encouraged the gathered contemplative sisters to, “Strive to grow in the fraternal life, so that every monastery can be a beacon of light in the midst of disunity and division.”
The contemplative crowd erupted in laughter when the Pope opened his address by joking that perhaps the sisters had used the event as an excuse to get a little fresh air. But he quickly moved to a serious talk of encouragement for their vital role in the Church, and he encouraged them in their vocation.
“You pray and intercede for our many brothers and sisters who are prisoners, migrants, refugees and victims of persecution,” the Holy Father stressed. “Your prayers of intercession embrace the many families experiencing difficulties, the unemployed, the poor, the sick, and those struggling with addiction, to mention just a few of the more urgent situations.”
The Pope told the sister they are “like those who brought the paralytic to the Lord for healing.” He said that their prayer – “night and day” – they “bring before God the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters who for various reasons cannot come to him to experience his healing mercy, even as he patiently waits for them.”
“For this very reason, we can state that cloistered life neither closes nor shrinks our hearts, but rather widens them in our relationship with the Lord, making them capable of feeling in a new way the pain, the suffering, the frustration and the misfortune of so many of our brothers and sisters who are victims of today’s ‘throwaway culture’.”
He continued by encouraging the sisters to, “Grow in the fraternal life, so that every monastery can be a beacon of light in the midst of disunity and division.” He concluded: “Be beacons through your lives of fidelity, and keep pointing to the One who is the way, and the truth and the life, to the one Lord who brings us fulfillment and grants us life in abundance.”