Vatican City, 2 February 2014 (VIS) – After celebrating Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, on the 18th Day of Consecrated Life, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of people gathered below, despite heavy rain, in St. Peter's Square.
The Bishop of Rome, after thanking the many faithful and pilgrims for their presence, commented on today's Gospel reading, in which St. Luke narrates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple; an episode which is also “an icon of the giving of their lives by those who, through a gift of God, take on the typical traits of Jesus, chaste, poor and obedient”.
“The offering of oneself to God relates to every Christian, because we are all consecrated to Him through baptism … making a generous gift of our life, in the family, at work, in the service the Church, in works of mercy. Nevertheless, this consecration is lived in a particular way by the religious, monks, consecrated lay people, who with the profession of vows, fully and exclusively belong to God. Totally consecrated to God, they are totally consigned to their brethren, to bring the light of Christ there where the darkness is densest and to spread His hope in the hearts of the disheartened".
After emphasising that consecrated persons are a sign of God in the various contexts of life and “leaven for the growth of a more just and fraternal society”. The Pope repeated the need for these presences, “which fortify and renew commitment to the spread of the Gospel, of Christian education, of charity towards the neediest, of contemplative prayer; commitment to human formation, the spiritual formation of the young, of families; commitment for justice and peace in the human family. Let us imagine a moment what would happen if there were no nuns in hospitals, no nuns in missions, no nuns in schools. Imagine a church without nuns! It is unimaginable. They are … the yeast that carries forward the people of God. These women, who consecrate their lives to God, who bring forward the message of Jesus, are great”.
The Church and the world need “this witness of love and of God's mercy. Consecrated and religious persons offer witness that God is good and merciful. … We must pray that many young people answer 'yes!' to the Lord who calls to them to consecrate themselves fully to Him, in the disinterested service of their brothers, who consecrate their lives to serving God and their brothers”.