CONGREGATION FOR INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIF
Vatican City, September 16, 2015
«Be strong, be faithful, wake up the world!» With these words Mgr José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Archbishop Secretary of CICLSAL, opened the World Meeting for Young Consecrated Persons during a Prayer Vigil held yesterday in St Peter’s Square.
Today’s theme focused upon the calling. H. Em. Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation, dealt with the novel vital relationship that consecrated persons need to incarnate as a response to God’s call. He explained that “the Church is inviting us to embrace the spirituality of communion, the ‘culture of the encounter’, where the brothers and sisters with whom we follow Jesus do not remain solely ‘our major penance’; indeed, they offer us the possibility of experiencing God in a concrete way, because it is our brothers and sisters who give us the opportunity to love”.
Mgr Carballo, in his keynote speech, underlined the fact that “there are no such things as special vocations; there are only specific vocations”. Each one is called to have a personal encounter with the Lord, respond to his call and collaborate with him. The call to Consecrated Life is a specific call to follow the Lord ‘more closely’. Consecrated persons are called “to break with the past and share everything with Jesus: his lifestyle, his journeying, his mission and his fate”. Vocation is not a ‘profession’; it entails following a Person: Jesus. It is a personal call that waits for a response done in freedom; it’s a gift that needs to be shared with others; it remains evergreen and continually renewed in the measure that it becomes the means through which many are able to encounter the Lord.
Fr Fabio Ciardi affirmed that “to be young means to be open to novelties, free from prejudices, ready for an unconditional donation, docile to the Holy Spirit’s divine adventure, looking ahead for God’s future and his infinite horizons”. It’s an invitation to have the courage to trust in God and allow him to guide us by his Spirit, like a pencil or a brush in the Artist’s hands. How can this be done? Fr Ciardi explained: “By listening to and living the Word of God; by spending time to talk to him lovingly in prayer; by practicing practical love with all, especially the poor and the marginalized”.
Sr Mary Malone, SFA, Rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum, pointed out that to follow a calling within and for the Church, one needs to be aware that every vocation ‘needs the others’; one need also to recognize the fact that whatever one receives enhances one’s gratitude and prevents one to live his/her vocation in an ‘individualistic’ manner. She concluded with a strong appeal for co-responsibility: “The Church is our home; the Lord is continuously inviting us to take up the responsibility of enhancing communion: what kind of Church are we building?”