Secularism Also Threatens Consecrated, Says Pope

Urges Salesians to Focus Lives on Christ

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 31, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says that even consecrated persons need to guard against an increasing process of secularization that is gaining ground in modern times.

The Pope said that today when he received in audience participants in the 26th General Chapter of the Salesian Society of Don John Bosco which is, he told them, taking place “in a period of great social, economic and political changes,” of “more intense communication among peoples,” and of “lively debate on the spiritual values that give meaning to existence.”

“Don Bosco,” the Holy Father added, “wished the continuity of his charism in the Church to be guaranteed by the choice of consecrated life. Today, too, the Salesian movement can grow in charismatic faithfulness only if it continues to maintain a strong and vibrant nucleus of consecrated people.”

“The entire congregation must constantly strive to be ‘a living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting as the Incarnate Word in relation to the Father and in relation to the brethren.’ […] May Christ be the focus of your lives! […] It is here that ardent love for the Lord Jesus is born, the aspiration to become one with him, adopting his feelings and way of life: faithful abandonment to the Father and dedication to the evangelizing mission which must characterise all Salesians.”

Benedict XVI then went on to consider “the process of secularization that is gaining ground in modern culture” and that “unfortunately does not even spare communities of consecrated life. Hence it is necessary to be cautious with lifestyles that risk abating evangelical witness, rendering pastoral activity ineffective and weakening the vocational response.”

The Pope called on the participants in the chapter to help their companions “in protecting and reviving their faithfulness to the call. […] May the Word of God and the liturgy be sources of Salesian spirituality! And especially, may ‘lectio divina’ practiced daily by each Salesian, and the Eucharist celebrated in the community every day, provide nourishment and support.”

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