Put your guitars away and consecrate yourself daily to dialogue with reality

It is good to get together and sing and play the guitar, but that’s not what consecrated life is about, Pope Francis told two religious institutes celebrating 50 years of consecrated life.

Consecrated life means “consecrating oneself every day” and should be understood in “dialogue with reality,” he says.

Pope Francis made the comments in a video-message to the Claretian Institute of the Theology of the Consecrated Life in Rome and the Theological Institute of Religious Life currently meeting in Madrid.

The institutes are dedicated to consolidating and fortifying consecrated life in its mission throughout the world.

The pope’s video-message to participants of the 50th National Week for Institutes of Consecrated Life, thank its promoter Cardinal Aquilino Bocos for “continually sowing a restlessness to understand the richness of consecrated life and to make it bear fruit.”

The programme for the celebrations includes participants with a wealth of experience, Francis notes in the video.

“When consecrated life loses this (reality) dimension, it starts to become sterile.”

Taking inspiration from St Teresa of Avila, the Pope said Teresa saw this and went ahead with reform.

Speaking of Teresa’s reform, Francis notes that “later, along the way, there were attempts to transform that reform into enclosure, there always are. But reform is always a journey, it is a journey in contact with reality and the horizon in the light of a foundational charism.”

“When an institute reformulates itself from charism to ideology, it loses its identity, it loses its fruitfulness,” Francis explains.

“To keep alive the foundational charism means keeping it moving and growing, in dialogue with what the Spirit is telling us in the history of the times.”

Reform “presupposes discernment and prayer,” Francis explains in the video.

“It is not possible to maintain a foundational charism without apostolic courage, that is, without walking, without discernment, and without prayer.”

While the 50-years’ service celebrations include getting together, singing and playing the guitar, that’s not what their ministry is all about, Francis notes.

It’s important “not to get lost in formulations, in ideologies, in fears, in dialogues with ourselves,” but to be guided by the Holy Spirit, Francis reminds his audience.

Don’t be afraid of limits, of borders, or of peripheries, Francis urges them.

It is in these places that “the Spirit will speak to you,” he concludes.


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News category: World.

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