Benedict XVI received in audience the members of the Union of Superiors General (USG) and of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) on 26 November. The Pope spoke about the particular features of Consecrated Life and invited them anew to seek the “essentials”.
After a message of greeting given by Fr Pascual Chávez, as President of the USG, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude to the Superior: “I would like to express my sincere thanks for what you do in the Church and with the Church on behalf of evangelization and of man. I think of the multiple pastoral activities in the parishes, in the shrines and the centres of worship, for the catechesis and Christian formation of children, of young people and of adults, manifesting your passion for Christ and for humanity. I think of the great work in the field of education, in the universities and in the schools; of the multiple social works, through which you encounter the brothers who are most in need with God’s love itself. I think also of the witness, at times dangerous, of the evangelical life in the missions “ad gentes,” in often difficult circumstances.”
The Pope then emphasised how Consecrated Life was the expression of a total and radical search for Jesus and pointed out how the many varied activities undertaken by the religious Institutes were different expressions of the one search for God. In helping the men and women of today, especially those most poor and in need, in the service of confreres in the community and in the universal Church the religious is always moved by the same aim: to be “a seeker of God by vocation.”
Benedict XVI then mentioned the central pillars which support Consecrated Life in every religious institute. In first place the centrality of the Word of God and especially of the Gospel from which the religious can obtain the strength to follow the Message of Christ in its fullness.
He then mention the importance of fraternity within the Institutes and also outside the communities – “confessio Trinitatis” -, emphasising that “The witness of your consecration passes through it.,” and that it represents a defence against current life styles and the criteria of this world: individualism, consumerism, materialism.
In conclusion the Pope exhorted the religious to live to the full their own missionary charism: “Go, then, and in creative fidelity make the challenge of the new evangelization your own.” And in view of the fall in the number of vocations, especially in Europe, he asked for a renewed commitment to vocation ministry and to initial and ongoing formation.
Source: Info ANS