Pope Francis Tells Religious "I urge you to dedicate yourselves especially to the prayer of adoration.... It is beautiful to adore in silence before the Blessed Sacrament...and focus your life on Jesus..." FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENERAL CHAPTERS
OF THE ORDER OF THE MOST HOLY SAVIOR OF SANTA BRIGIDA
AND OF THE COMBONI MISSIONARY SISTERS
Hall of the Consistory
Saturday, October 22, 2022
Dear sisters, good morning and welcome!
I am happy to welcome you on the occasion of your General Chapters. Not to argue, no, but to be together, as sisters; and I thank the Superiors General for the words with which they presented the progress made and the operational guidelines for the future; and I wish them all the best for the service to which they have been called by the trust of the sisters. Come on! I express the gratitude of the Church for your witness and for the apostolic work deployed in the countries where you are present.
Each General Chapter constitutes a moment of grace for the religious Family that celebrates it. It is a time of docility and openness to the Holy Spirit, to understand the priorities of the mission that God entrusts to you for the good of the Church and the world. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to start afresh from Christ, who gives meaning and fullness to every ecclesial journey (cf. Gaudete et exsultate, 20). He, the Lord, is the starting point for interior and community renewal. There is no renewal if the Lord is not there, we start from him and return to him. For this reason, in the first place for us there is always the spiritual life, the personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. If the spiritual life is lacking , you are finished, there is no exit.
"The relevance of our charism from the perspective of the Founding Mothers. The triple love: the Order, the Church and the world ": this is the theme that you, Sisters of the Order of the Most Holy Savior of Santa Brigida, have chosen for your chapter assembly. It reminds you of the spirit of your origins, so that you can translate your founding charism into apostolic choices that adhere to contemporary changing situations. Therefore, faithful to the particular monastic vocation that distinguishes the Brigidine family, you are called to confirm the primacy of God in the existence of each of you and of your communities.
I urge you to dedicate yourselves especially to the prayer of adoration: this is important. Today the meaning of the prayer of adoration has been lost a little, wasting time by adoring. This prayer is not often done: I ask you to do it. Adore, to immerse yourself in divine love and give it generously to those you meet on your path. It is beautiful to adore in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, to be in the consoling presence of Jesus and to draw the apostolic impulse there to be instruments of goodness, tenderness and welcome in the community, in the Church and in the world. Welcoming, one of the characteristic aspects of your mission, will be more fruitful to the extent that the prayer of contemplation will make you go out of yourselves and focus your life on Jesus Christ, letting him do things in you, may He act in you. This inner movement will make possible a service to others that is not philanthropy or welfare, but openness to the other, proximity, sharing; in a word: charity. The charitable dimension, as the fruit of spiritual growth, requires to be lived first of all in the daily details of community life. As in the family, it is there that love is seen, in taking care of each other, giving space to small gestures of attention and concern, guarding the heart and measuring words. And on this I would like to emphasize, not only for you but for everyone, the measure of words. Many times we are ready to speak, and from speaking we pass to gossiping. There are communities where they "peel" each other with the language. It is a great virtue not to speak ill of another, never, never! Chattering is a plague of consecrated life. Not only with women, also with men. It is a pest. Because it is like a worm that gradually destroys the coexistence and strength of community life. Beware of chatter. “But, Father, it's not easy… I don't know how to do it…”. I know of a nice remedy for this. I offer it to you if you feel like it. A nice remedy: bite your tongue; you know, the tongue will swell and you will not be able to speak! Please, this destroys community life and religious life: no chatter. If you have something with someone else, either you say it to the face or you say it to the superior, but not to the others. Excuse me, but for me this is a great evil of community life, both of women and of men, it is the same.
By imitating the compassion and tenderness - closeness, compassion, tenderness, the style of God - of your Founder, you will be able to place yourselves at the service of the victims of modern slavery, which as social plagues unfortunately continue to be present on a large scale throughout the world. They enslave in prostitution, in human trafficking, in forced labor, in the sale of organs, in drug use, in the work of shamefully exploited children, in migrants who are victims of hidden interests. You are there. The problem of this slavery cannot be overcome without eliminating its deepest causes, including poverty, inequality and discrimination. Faced with, indeed, in the midst of these realities - in the midst of reality - you propose to offer the Christian response, which does not lie in resigned observation, but in charity which, animated by trust in Providence, knows how to love one's time and , with humility, he bears witness to the Gospel. By doing so, you are aware that you are going against the tide, clashing with the culture of individualism and indifference, which generates loneliness and causes the waste of many lives.
Dear Brigidine Sisters, dear Comboni Sisters, today the liturgical memory of St. John Paul II is celebrated. He was a man of God because he prayed so much, he found the time to pray while immersed in the numerous and burdensome commitments of his ministry. He testified so concretely that the first task of a Christian, a consecrated person, a priest and a Bishop is to pray - the first task is to pray - and that personal prayer must not be neglected for any reason. Is the most important thing. Another aspect of the life and witness of this holy Pontiff was his closeness to the people of God, which was expressed in seeking contact with people and in traveling to all continents to be close to everyone, to adults and children, to the healthy and sick, near and far. Inspired by him will do you good to look at reality with the eyes of the Lord Jesus; and he will help you to walk in joy, docile to the Holy Spirit, and to make your charisms an incarnate prophecy.
Dear Sisters, I pray the Holy Spirit to grant you his gifts in abundance, so that you can translate the choices and decisions arising from the Chapter works into the life of your communities. May the Spirit give you strength to face the challenges, present and future, and constancy in your ecclesial service. May the Virgin Mary protect you, help you and be the sure guide on the journey of your religious institutes, to bring every good project to completion. Thank you for your visit! I cordially bless you and all your sisters of both congregations in every part of the world. And I ask you to please pray for me, because this work is not easy!