Pope Francis says "Please, this last thing is important: pray, don't leave the prayer. And not just formal prayer, no, pray! Pray seriously!" FULL TEXT

Hall of the Consistory
Monday, May 8, 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I thank the Superior General for the words he addressed to me; I greet the members of the Council and all of you.
I am happy with this meeting, in which I share with you the joy of the 175th anniversary of your re-foundation, with the merger of two religious institutes.
For a brief reflection, I would like to draw inspiration from the passage from the prophet Isaiah that you have chosen as a guide in your Congregation: "Behold, I am doing a new thing" (43:19). It is a very beautiful word, and it is part of a text that begins like this: «Do not be afraid [Israel], for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you belong to me” (Is 43:1). When I hear this, the hand of God that caresses, caresses the people, caresses each one of you comes to mind: the tender God who always caresses. I stop at these words because they seem to me to reflect very well some fundamental values of your charism: courage, openness and abandonment to the action of the Spirit to do something new.
These values are already evident in the history of your first foundation: a young deacon, with twelve seminary companions, impelled by the Spirit, courageously embarks on an unexpected adventure. He renounces the prospect of a peaceful future - he could have been a good priest from a wealthy family - for a mission yet to be discovered, exposing himself to sacrifices, misunderstandings and opposition, with very fragile health that will lead him to an early death, even before being able to see his dream come true. Many unforeseen events, which however his docility to the action of the Spirit transforms into courageous "yes", thanks to which God begins each time something new in him, and through him also in others.
Indeed, his example finds confirmation in the brothers who continue his work, ready to respond to the new signs of the times, first embracing service to poor seminarians, then popular missions and finally ad gentes announcements in various parts of the world. without even being intimidated by the religious persecution unleashed by the French Revolution.
A beautiful and rich story, of which today, however, we remember another special moment, in which everything once again comes into play. It is the second foundation, that of 1848, in which the Holy Spirit asks the community to share all the fruits of its past in a new scenario. It is time to join new companions, those of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Mary, also missionaries, but with a different story. To do this it is certainly necessary to overcome fears and jealousies, and the brothers of the two families accept the challenge, joining forces and sharing what they have in a new beginning.
Today, after more than a century and a half, we see that Providence has rewarded their generous and courageous docility to the Spirit: you are present in sixty countries on five continents, with about two thousand six hundred religious and the involvement of many lay people. Thanks to your willingness to change and your perseverance, you have remained faithful to the spirit of your origins: evangelising the poor, accepting missions where no one else wants to go, preferring service to the most abandoned, respecting peoples and cultures, training local clergy and laity to an integral human development, all in fraternity and simplicity of life and in assiduous prayer. Please, this last thing is important: pray, don't leave the prayer. And not just formal prayer, no, pray! Pray seriously! Thus you achieve what the Venerable Libermann called a "practical union" in service, the fruit of a habitual docility to the Holy Spirit and the foundation of every mission.
Your charism, open and respectful, is particularly precious today, in a world where the challenge of interculturality and inclusion is alive and urgent, inside the Church and outside it. This is why I tell you: do not give up your courage and your inner freedom, cultivate it and make it a living feature of your apostolate. There are many men and women who still need the Gospel, not only in the so-called "mission lands", but also in the old and tired West. Look at each one with the eyes of Jesus, who wishes to meet everyone - everyone! Do not forget this: everyone – drawing close especially to the poorest, touching them with his hands, fixing his gaze on theirs. And to bring to each one the fresh and vital breath of his Spirit, who is the true "protagonist of the mission" (cf. St. John Paul II, Enc. Redemptoris missio, 30), let yourselves be guided by him, because "there is no greater freedom than that of letting oneself be carried by the Spirit, renouncing to calculate and control everything” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 280). Allow him to enlighten you, to direct you, to push you where he wishes, without setting conditions, without excluding anyone, because it is he who knows what is needed in every age and at every moment (cf. ibid.).
This was the great intuition of your founders and the beautiful testimony of many brothers and sisters who preceded you. And this is also the wish and the invitation that I address to you today. Our Lady accompany you. I bless you all from my heart and ask you please to pray for me. Thank you!
Source: Vatican.va with Screenshot