Pope Francis says "The fundamental rule of religious life is the following of Christ proposed by the Gospel...May the Gospel be your handbook" FULL TEXT

Friday, January 13, 2023
Dear brothers, good morning and welcome!
I am pleased to welcome you to your Primatial Council meeting. I greet you, Father Abbot Primate, and thank you for his words, as well as you Superiors General and Father Secretary.
Your Confederation was established in 1959 by Saint John XXIII. This structure, even if it is not juridical, is important for fostering communion among the Congregations that make it up and that share the same charism. In fact, the main objectives of the Confederation are to unite the different branches of your Order in a bond of charity, to value the evangelical meaning of your charism and to help each other, above all with regard to the spiritual dimension, the formation of young people, the permanent and the promotion of culture.
Even if each Congregation enjoys its own autonomy, this does not prevent the Confederal Statutes from providing competencies that favor a balance between this autonomy and an appropriate coordination that avoids, in any case, independence and isolation. Isolation is dangerous. We need to be very careful to protect ourselves from the disease of self-referentiality and to safeguard the communion between the different Congregations as a true treasure. You are well aware that you are all in the same boat and that "no one builds the future by isolating themselves or only with their own strength, but recognizing each other in the truth of a communion that is always open to encounter, dialogue, listening and mutual help » (Letter to all consecrated persons on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, 21 November 2014, II, 3). Practicing the spirituality of encounter: this is essential for living synodality in the Church.
Like any other form of consecrated life, yours too must adapt to the circumstances of the time, the different places where you are present and the cultures, always in the light of the Gospel and your own charism. Consecrated life is like water, if it does not flow, it rots, loses meaning, it is like salt which loses its flavour, becomes useless (see Mt 5:13). Good memory is fruitful, it is the "Deuteronomic" memory of roots, of origins. We must not be satisfied with an archaeological memory, because this transforms us into museum pieces, perhaps worthy of admiration but not of imitation; instead the deuteronomic memory helps us to live the present fully and without fear in order to open ourselves to the future with renewed hope. You too – as St. John Paul II wrote – «have a glorious story to remember and to tell», but above all you have «a great story to build! Look to the future, into which the Spirit projects you in order to still do great things with you” (Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, 25 March 1996, 110).
The fundamental rule of religious life is the following of Christ proposed by the Gospel. Assuming the Gospel as a rule of life, to the point of being able to say with Saint Paul: "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20). May the Gospel be your handbook, so that, staying away from the temptation to reduce it to an ideology, it will always remain spirit and life for you. The Gospel continually brings us back to placing Christ at the center of our life and our mission. It takes us back to “first love”. And loving Christ means loving the Church, her body. Consecrated life is born in the Church, grows with the Church and bears fruit as a Church. It is in the Church, as Saint Augustine teaches us, that we discover the total Christ.
God made us for himself and our heart is restless until it rests in him (see St. Augustine, Confessions, 1,1,1). For this reason, as Canons Regular, your main occupation is the constant and daily search for the Lord. Seek him in community life, a reflection of God's being and of his delivery and his testimony that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8.16). Koinonia makes you all feel builders, weavers of fraternity. Seek the Lord in the assiduous reading of Sacred Scripture, in whose pages Christ and the Church resound (see St. Augustine, Disc. 46, 33). Seek the Lord in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, the summit of the Christian life, which signifies and realizes the unity of the Church in the harmony of charity (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 25). Look for him in study and in ordinary pastoral care. Seek him also in the realities of our time, knowing that nothing human can be extraneous to us and that, free from all worldliness, we can enliven the world with the leaven of the Kingdom of God. These are the different paths of a single search, which presupposes the path of interiority, of knowledge and love of the Lord, at the school of Saint Augustine: “Don't go out of yourself, constantly go into yourself; the truth dwells in the inner man" (see De Vera Religione, 39,72; Confessions, 3,6,11). In this way the light of the inner Master illuminates temporal realities for us.
Dear brothers, may this time of encounter with each other and with the Successor of Peter help you to revisit your charism and strengthen the communion of life following the example of the primitive apostolic community (see Acts 2:42-47). And this communion is also an anticipation of full and definitive union in God and the path towards it.
I thank you for your presence for your witness in the Church. May Our Lady keep you and intercede for you. I cordially bless you and your communities. And I ask you please to pray for me.
Source: Vatican.va - Translation from Italian