By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis spoke to Peru’s priests, religious men and women, and seminarians in Trujillo on Saturday, inviting them to live their vocation in “remembrance”.
The Holy Father told the young men and women to always look to their own past and roots so they may grow and bear fruit. He called this a “deuteronomic” dimension of life.
“Remembrance looks to the past in order to discover the sap that nourished the hearts of disciples for centuries, and thus comes to recognize God’s presence in the life of his people,” he said.
Pope Francis then spoke about three virtues of remembrance.
The first, he said, is “a joyful self-awareness” which allows the disciple to laugh at himself or herself.
“Learning to laugh at ourselves gives us the spiritual ability to stand before the Lord with our limitations, our mistakes and our sins, but also our successes, and the joy of knowing that he is at our side.”
The Holy Father said the consecrated man or woman is “not called to supplant the Lord” with countless activities. “All that we are asked to do,” he said, “is to work with the Lord, side by side, never forgetting that we do not replace him.”
Time of the call
Pope Francis said the second virtue is living the time of the call. “An encounter with Jesus changes our lives, it establishes a “before” and an “after”.
Forgetting that hour, he said, means forgetting “our origins, our roots, and by losing these basic coordinates, we lose sight of the most precious part of our lives as consecrated persons: the Lord’s gaze.” He said the vocational call is “a loving call to love in return, and to serve.”
Speaking off-the-cuff, Pope Francis said the best way to live one’s vocation is to live the faith as their mother and grandmother had taught them, as St. Paul told Timothy (cf. 2 Tim 1:5).
He warned them not to become “professionals of the sacred” by forgetting their people and roots. “I urge you not to forget, much less look down on, the solid and simple faith of your people,” he said.
Lastly, Pope Francis said a vocation lived in remembrance leads Jesus’ disciple to live a “contagious joy”. “Faith in Jesus is contagious; it cannot be restrained or kept within,” he said. The Holy Father said the joy of finding Jesus “opens us up to others; it is a joy to be shared.”
He warned against “fragmentation or isolation”, which he said can be found even within religious communities. “We are called to be builders of communion and unity,” which he said, “means discerning what everyone has to offer, respecting their differences, and acknowledging the gift of charisms within the Church, knowing that while each of us contributes what he or she has, we also need one another.”
Finally, Pope Francis told the young men and women religious of Peru to listen to the stories of their elders in the faith. And he finished by telling them an African proverb he had heard from an Apostolic Nuncio once assigned to the continent.
“Young people know how to run fast, but old people know the way.”