“Religious should be men and women able to wake the world up” says Pope Francis in his letter to the consecrated men and women. “Religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way. It is the witness that I expect of you” affirms Holy Father.
How can we wake up the world? It is impossible for a man to wake up others without being waken up first. The call of Holy Father invites us to ponder upon our own religious commitment towards the Lord and to the Congregation. “A person who experiences God in Christ cannot but become missionary wherever he is and whatever he does. It is not something that is added to one’s identity. If it is added, it may be optional. In that case, it can also be removed. The sun spreads its powerful rays, simply by being sun. A flower cannot but spread its fragrance; it does so always and everywhere.”
Likewise, Christ- experience should not be something attributed to us but engraved in us. As religious it is possible through responding to the charisms of our congregations. It is a time for spiritual awakening. At times our spiritual Alzheimer’s can throw us away from the Lord. It will create numbness in our relationship with the Lord and other. We may even forget that we have made a promise to the Lord.
As I ponder personally upon the words of the Holy Father, I realize that it is time to reaffirm our commitment to our vocation and our community life. If I am not happy in my community and consecrated life I cannot radiate happiness to the world outside. If we are awaken we can wake up others, if we are lighted up we can light up others, if we are joyful we can make other’s joyful. “Community is the first and most believable gospel that we can preach. We are asked to humanize our community. May the monastery not be a Purgatory but a family. There are and there will be problems but like in a family, with love, search for a solution; do not destroy this to resolve that; do not enter competitions”. Let us all together pray and strive to achieve that.
Image Courtesy: SFD brothers’ website