Pope Francis says "A life of prayer and contemplation that allows you to contemplate the Mirror, which is Christ, to become yourself a mirror for others." FULL TEXT
ADDRESS BY HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENERAL CHAPTER
OF THE MISSIONARIES CHILDREN OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Sala Clementina - Thursday, September 9, 2021
It is a great joy for me to host your General Chapter, and it is true, it is a joy. Missionary brothers from all over the world participate, representing the almost three thousand Claretians that make up the Institute. Thank you for coming to this meeting. Thanks to Cardinal Aquilino Bocos Merino for his presence, and thanks to Sister Yolanda Kafka for her help. This woman can help a lot. I once told her: “they told me that you speak many languages”, and she told me: “but I don't know if I speak the language of God”. He paints her full-length.
I congratulate Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, in whom the capitulars renewed their confidence by re-electing him as Superior General. With him, I greet the brothers who have been chosen to form the new government of the Institute. Who are they? Make it mild. May the Spirit of the Lord be upon you at all times so that, as missionaries, you can announce the Good News to the poor (cf. Lk 4,19) and to all who are hungry for the Word that saves (cf. Is 55,10 -eleven).
The theme of the Chapter is “ Rooted and Bold ”. Rooted in Jesus. This supposes a life of prayer and contemplation that leads them to be able to say like Job: "I knew you only by hearsay, but now my eyes have seen you" ( Jb 42,5). And it is sad when we find consecrated women, consecrated women, who know only by hearsay and many times I found myself outside in the examination of conscience when I realized that I did not allow myself to be searched in prayer, in wasting time before the Lord, I did not let my eyes would see it. This can help us. A life of prayer and contemplation that allows one to speak, as friends, face to face with the Lord (cf. Ex.33.11). A life of prayer and contemplation that allows you to contemplate the Mirror, which is Christ, to become yourself a mirror for others. And this is yes or yes. "I have a lot to do, a lot of work." Look, the first thing you have to do is look at the one who sent you to work and let him look at him. "I'm bored, all the time." Well, fix boredom problems in prayer with whom it may concern, but without prayer, things are not going, so simple let's say it.
You are missionaries: if you want your mission to be truly fruitful, you cannot separate the mission from contemplation and a life of intimacy with the Lord. If they want to be witnesses they cannot stop being worshipers. Witnesses and worshipers are two words found in the heart of the Gospel: "He called them to be with Him and to send them out to preach" ( Mk 3,14). Two dimensions that nurture each other cannot exist without each other.
"The son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a person who burns with charity and wherever he goes he burns", say your General Constitutions , quoting Father Claret (n. 9). Let yourself be burned by the Lord, by his love, in such a way that you can be incendiary wherever you go, with the fire of divine love. May He be your only security. And this will allow them to be men of hope, of hope that does not disappoint (cf. Rm 5,5), of hope that knows no fear, because it knows that it is in our fragility that the strength of God is manifested (cf . 2 Co12.9). If we are never aware of the fragility and we are the tarzanes of the apostolate and the invincible, the strength of God will never be manifested, the Lord will tell us: well, fix them, and so we will. Quoting once more your Constitutions, I tell you: "Do not be intimidated by anything." Jesus said that, do not be afraid, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of your weaknesses; How beautiful it is when a consecrated person, a consecrated person, feels fragile, because he feels the need to ask for help. Do not be afraid of them, be afraid, yes, to fall into spiritual "schizophrenia", into spiritual worldliness that would lead them to trust only your "chariots" and "horses", to trust their strength, to believe themselves to be the best , sometimes obsessively seeking well-being, power (cf. Evangelii gaudium, 93). It is very difficult to not conform to worldly logic because the world invades us, right? And spiritual worldliness is tremendous, because it transforms you inside. I was very impressed when I read "Meditations on the Church" by Father de Lubac, the last four pages, there he deals with the drama of spiritual worldliness and he says this more or less - you look for it and you will have exactly what it says. - It is the worst of the evils that can happen to the Church, even worse than the evils of the concubinary popes. Livianito, right? Beware of spiritual worldliness that leads us to trust our forces, to believe ourselves to be the best, to obsessively seek well-being or power. Do not conform to this worldly logic that will make the Gospel, that Jesus, cease to be the guiding criterion of your lives and of your missionary options. They cannot live with the spirit of the world and pretend to serve the Lord. Orient your existence based on the values of the Gospel. But never use the Gospel in an instrumental way, as an ideology, rather use it asvademecum , allowing himself to be guided at all times by the options of the Gospel and by the ardent desire to "follow Jesus and imitate him in prayer, in fatigue, and in always seeking the glory of God and the salvation of souls." So said Father Claret. They found their lives in Christ, and Saint Paul, who had founded them in Christ, could say: "It is not I who live, it is Christ who lives in me" ( Gal 2:20).
This orientation will make you bold in the mission, that missionary boldness as bold was the mission of Fr. Claret and the first missionaries who joined him. The consecrated life requires boldness, it needs seniors who resist the aging of life, and young people who resist the aging of the soul. Said a bit in everyday jargon, don't settle.
This conviction will lead them to go out, to set out and go where no one wants to go, where the light of the Gospel is necessary, and to work side by side with the people. Your mission cannot be "at a distance", but from closeness, proximity. Don't forget what God's style is: closeness, compassion, and tenderness. This is how God acted from the time he chose his people until today. Closeness, compassion and tenderness. On the mission they cannot be content with balconying , with watching curiously from a distance. We can balconyin front of reality or commit ourselves to change it. You have to choose. Following the example of Father Claret, they cannot be mere spectators of reality. Take part in it, to transform the realities of sin that you encounter along the way. And closeness, compassion and tenderness. Do not be passive in the face of the dramas experienced by many of our contemporaries, rather play the guy in the fight for human dignity, play for the respect for the fundamental rights of the person. How to achieve this? Let yourself be touched by the Word of God and the signs of the times, and in the light of the Word and the signs of the times reread your own history, it is important, reread your own charism, remembering that consecrated life is like water, yes does not run rots. Recalling the deuteronomic memory of the past, re-adopt the lymph of charisma.
May the Word and the signs of the times shake us out of so much drowsiness and so many fears that, if we are not attentive, they prevent us from living up to the times and circumstances that demand a bold, courageous consecrated life, a free religious life. and at the same time liberating properly from our own precariousness. Someone can say: "Father, this is too stoic, it is too austere", right? The formulation of Father Rodríguez's treatise on virtues appears a little there, but it is not that, and for that, so that they do not fall into that of that dry austerity please do not lose your sense of humor. Know how to laugh in community, know how to make jokes, and laugh at the jokes that the other tells, do not lose your sense of humor, the sense of humor is a grace of joy and joy is a dimension of holiness.
I hope, dear brothers and sisters, that this Chapter that is about to conclude, and which the General was condemned for the second time, will help you to focus on what is essential: Jesus, to put your security in Him and only in Him who is all good, who it is the highest good, true security. I think this could be one of the best fruits of this pandemic that has called into question so many of our false assurances. I also hope that the Chapter has led you to focus on the essential elements that define consecrated life today: consecration, which values the relationship with God; fraternal life in community, which gives priority to authentic relationship with the brothers; and the mission, which leads them to go out, to de-center ourselves to go to meet others, particularly the poor, to bring them to Jesus.
I do not want to end without thanking you for all the apostolic work and all the reflection on consecrated life that you have carried out in these years. Carry on, and may the Spirit guide you in this noble task.
And from my heart I impart to all of you and to all the brothers and members of the Claretian family, the Blessing. And please, I do ask you seriously, do not forget to pray for me. Because if I don't beg for prayers, I'm toast. Thanks.