Ignore pundits who say religious life doomed – pope

Sisters hold candles as Pope Benedict celebrates Mass to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 2.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Sisters hold candles as Pope Benedict celebrates Mass to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 2.

February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict asked sisters, brothers and priests not to listen to the "prophets of doom" who say consecrated life has no future or that it has no meaning in today's world.

Pope Benedict celebrated Mass Feb. 2, to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life.

With thousands of consecrated men and women filling St. Peter's Basilica, the pope said he wanted to ask three things of the world's religious during the Year of Faith.

First, he said, they should meditate on that "'first love' with which the Lord Jesus Christ warmed your hearts, not to be nostalgic, but to fan that flame."

"To do this, you must spend time with him, in the silence of adoration, and then you will reawaken the desire and the joy of sharing his life, his choices, his obedience of faith" and "the radical nature of his love," the pope said.

The pope also asked the religious to recognize "the wisdom of weakness," modeling themselves after Christ who emptied himself out of love for God and God's creation.

In modern cultures that value efficiency and success, he said, the humility and poverty of religious life are "Gospel signs of contradiction" and ensure that religious can empathize with and become a voice for the voiceless.

Pope Benedict's third call to religious was to "renew the faith that makes you pilgrims moving toward the future."

Rather than listening to those who see the declining numbers of religious as a sign that consecrated life will disappear completely, he said, religious must live their lives seeking the face of God.