VIDEO MESSAGE FROM HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 50TH NATIONAL WEEK
FOR THE INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
[Madrid, May 17-22, 2021]
Dear brothers and sisters who are participating in this 50 - or 49-50, because last year it could not be done - Week of Religious Life, which began there when the now Cardinal Aquilino Bocos Merino, from the magazine Vida Religiosa, began to move the environment.
I want to publicly thank Don Aquilino, the priest, the religious, who never stopped being a religious and a priest, and who always serves the Church in this way. I want to thank that continually sowing concern to understand the richness of consecrated life and make it bear fruit. Not just understand, live it. Not just theory, no, practice. In any case, catechesis to practice it better. So I publicly thank Cardinal Aquilino for all this.
And I see the program, I have it here, I see that there are people who have a lot of experience in religious life, and universal experience, and experience of the limit. For example, the president of CLAR, Sister Liliana: the limit in Latin America, which has appeared so many times at the Synod for the Amazon; or Cardinal Cristóbal, from Rabat: the limit with the Islamic world. And so many other participants from every point of view.
I like the message, I am seeing it now for the first time the program. And I want to tell you that I am close to you in the realization of this 49-50 —more is 50— National Week for Institutes of Consecrated Life. In consecrated life you understand walking, as always. It is understood by consecrating oneself every day. It is understood in dialogue with reality. When consecrated life loses this dimension of dialogue with reality and reflection on what happens, it begins to become sterile. I wonder about the sterility of some institutes of consecrated life, to see the cause, generally it is in the lack of dialogue and commitment to reality. Don't stop this. Consecrated life is always a dialogue with reality. Some will say "yes, now this modern form." Not! Let's think of Saint Teresa. Saint Teresa saw reality and made a reform option and went ahead. Later, along the way, there were attempts to transform that reform into a confinement, there always is. But reform is always a path, it is a path in contact with reality and the horizon in the light of a founding charism. And these days, these meetings, these weeks of consecrated life help to lose fear.
And also, it is sad to see how some institutes, to seek certain security, to be able to control themselves, have fallen into ideologies of any sign, of the left, of the right, of the center, whatever. When an institute reformulates itself from charisma to ideology, it loses its identity, it loses its fruitfulness. Keeping the founding charism alive is keeping it on the way and growing, in dialogue with what the Spirit is telling us in the history of time, in places, in different times, in different situations. It involves discernment and it involves prayer. A foundational charism cannot be maintained without apostolic courage, that is, without walking, without discernment and without prayer. And this is what you guys are trying to do with this week. It is not getting together to play the guitar and say "how beautiful is the consecrated life", no - yes,
Don't be afraid of limits! Don't be afraid of borders! Don't be afraid of the peripheries! Because there the Spirit is going to speak to them. Get “within range” of the Holy Spirit. And these weeks will certainly help to get "on target".
May God bless you, may Our Lady take care of you. And if you have a “little bit” of time, pray for me. Thanks.
FULL TEXT + Image Screenshot from Vatican.va - unofficial Translation