Below is a ZENIT translation of the words Pope Francis said to the religious outside the Basilica, off the cuff, following the Mass for the Presentation of the Lord and for the conclusion for the Year of Consecrated Life:
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Dear Consecrated Brothers and Sisters, thank you so much! You participated in the Eucharist with some chilliness, but the heart burns!
Thank you for concluding this Year of Consecrated Life all together, and, go forward! Each one of us has a place, has a task in the Church. Please do not forget the first vocation, the first call. Remember! With that love with which you were called, the Lord continues to call you today. Do not debase, do not debase that beauty, that wonder of the first call. And then, continue to work. It’s good! Continue. There is always something to do. The main thing is to pray. Prayer is the “medulla” of consecrated life: to pray! And thus to grow old, but to grow old like good wine!
I will tell you something. I very much like to meet those elderly religious men or women with glimmering eyes, because they have the fire of the spiritual life lit [in them]. It hasn’t gone out, that fire hasn’t gone out! Go forward today, every day, and continue to work and to look at tomorrow with hope, always asking the Lord to send us new vocations, so that our work of consecration can go forward. Remember: don’t forget the first call! — the everyday work, and then the hope of going forward and sowing well. May those who come after us be able to receive the inheritance that we will leave them. Now let us pray to Our Lady.
Hail Mary …[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]