The year 2015 was dedicated by the Church to consecrated life. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life invites all to reflect on the graced time we have been given to live, at the special invitation that the Pope addresses to those in consecrated life. The following letter is a message from the teachings of Pope Francis. This could be a good challenge not only to consecrated people but also to those who are considering religious life.
“This is the beauty of consecration: it is joy.” It is the joy of bringing God’s consolation to all. These are the words spoken by Pope Francis during his meeting with seminarians and novices. “There is no holiness in sadness,” the Holy Father continued. “Do not grieve like others who have no hope” wrote St. Paul (1Thess 4:13).
Joy is not a useless ornament. It is a necessity, the foundation of human life. In their daily struggles, every man and woman tries to attain joy and abide in it with the totality of their being.
In the world there is often a lack of joy. We are not called to accomplish epic feats or to proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved.
Our short memories and flimsy experiences often prevent us from searching for the ’lands of joy’ where we can relish God’s reflection. We have a thousand reasons for remaining in joy. Its roots are nourished by listening with faith and perseverance to the Word of God. In the school of the Master we hear: may my joy be in you and may your joy be complete (Jn. 15:11) and we are taught how to practice perfect joy.
Sadness and fear must give way to joy: Rejoice… be glad…rejoice with her in joy, says the prophet (Is 66:10). It is a great invitation to joy. Every Christian, and especially you and I, we are called to be bearers of this message of hope giving serenity and joy, God’s consolation, his tenderness towards all. But if we first experience the joy of being consoled by him, then we can bring that joy to others. I have occasionally met consecrated persons who are afraid of the consolations of God. They were tormented, because they were afraid of this divine tenderness. But be not afraid. Do not be afraid, because the Lord is the Lord of consolation, the Lord of tenderness. The Lord is a Father and he says that he will be for us like a mother with her baby, with a mother’s tenderness. Do not be afraid of the consolations of the Lord. (A message from the teachings of Pope Francis.)
Sr. Yolanda J. Nava, FDZ