Pope Francis Celebrates Year of Consecrated Life with Young Religious

pope-francis-general-audience-610x343Pope Francis held a special audience Thursday morning when he welcomed young people in consecrated life who were in Rome for the International Congress for Young People in Consecrated Life which met within the context of the Year of Consecrated Life.
The Pope answered several questions posed by young consecrated men and women from throughout the world during the audience. While speaking particularly to religious women, the Holy Father said, “You have this desire to be on the front line: why? Because you are mothers – you have this maternal quality of the Church herself, which unites you.” Pope Francis emphasized the integral role which consecrated men and women play in spreading the Gospel saying, “The Church is the Bride of Christ, and religious sisters are brides of Christ – they draw their whole strength from there: before the sanctuary, before the Lord, in prayer with their Bridegroom, in order to carry His message.”
The Holy Father warned those in attendance of the dangers of “comfort” in religious life and how it can affect one’s ability to live out their vocation. He emphasized that the key is to have a, ” heart always open to that, which the Lord tells us, and to bring that, which the Lord tells us, to dialogue with our [religious] superior, with one’s spiritual maestro or maestro, with the Church, with the bishop.” He also caution about the dangers of gossip in religious life calling it the, “plague of community life.”
The questions also asked the Holy Father to reflect on his calling to religious life. When asked about his first memory of a vocation to religious life he said, “You asked me to share my memory – how it was – that first call on September 21st, 1953 – but I don’t know how it was: I know that, by chance, I walked into church, I saw a confessional, and I came out different.”

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