By Vatican News staff reporter
The Claretian Institute of the Theology of the Consecrated Life (ITVC) in Rome and the Theological Institute of Religious Life in Madrid (ITVR) this year celebrate 50 years of service dedicated to consolidating and fortifying consecrated life in its mission throughout the world.
Pope Francis on Monday sent a video-message to participants of the 50th National Week for Institutes of Consecrated Life, thanking its promoter Cardinal Aquilino Bocos for “continually sowing a restlessness to understand the richness of consecrated life and to make it bear fruit.”
The Pope noted that the programme for the Madrid celebrations, which take place from the 17-22 May, had participants with a wealth of experience.
Dialogue with reality
In his message, Pope Francis said consecrated life means “consecrating oneself every day” and should be understood in “dialogue with reality.”
“When consecrated life loses this dimension," he said, “it starts to become sterile.”
Taking inspiration from St Teresa of Avila, the Pope said she saw the reality and went ahead with reform.
Pope Francis went on to say that, “later, along the way, there were attempts to transform that reform into enclosure, there always are. But reform is always a journey, it is a journey in contact with reality and the horizon in the light of a foundational charism.”
The Pope warned that “when an institute reformulates itself from charism to ideology, it loses its identity, it loses its fruitfulness.”
“To keep alive the foundational charism means keeping it moving and growing, in dialogue with what the Spirit is telling us in the history of the times,” he said.
He continued, saying reform “presupposes discernment and prayer. It is not possible to maintain a foundational charism without apostolic courage, that is, without walking, without discernment, and without prayer.”
The Holy Spirit
During this National Week, underlined Pope Francis, it is good to get together and sing and play the guitar, but that’s not what it’s all about. He stressed that it was important “not to get lost in formulations, in ideologies, in fears, in dialogues with ourselves,” but to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Concluding his video-message, the Pope urged the participants not to be afraid of limits, of borders, or of peripheries — for it is there, he said, that “the Spirit will speak to you.”