sussidio 5 2015
Moses then went up to God, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob! Tell the Israelites, “You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you away on eagle’s wings and brought you to me. So now, if you are really prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine. For me you shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”
From the Documents of the Church
In this letter, I wish to speak not only to consecrated persons, but also to the laity, who share with them the same ideals, spirit and mission. Indeed, around each religious family, every Society of Apostolic Life and every Secular Institute, there is a larger family, a “charismatic family”, which includes a number of Institutes which identify with the same charism, and especially lay faithful who feel called, precisely as lay persons, to share in the same charismatic reality.
I urge you, as laity, to live this Year for Consecrated Life as a grace which can make you more aware of the gift you yourselves have received. Celebrate it with your entire “family”, so that you can grow and respond together to the promptings of the Spirit in society today. As Blessed Paul VI pointed out: “Without this concrete sign there would be a danger that the charity which animates the entire Church would grow cold, that the salvific paradox of the Gospel would be blunted, and that the “salt” of faith would lose its savour in a world undergoing secularization” (Evangelica Testificatio, 3). I thank the Lord that the Year of Consecrated Life coincides with the Synod on the Family. Family life and consecrated life are both vocations which bring enrichment and blessings for all. They are spaces where human growth comes about through relationships, and they are also places of evangelization. Each can help the other. “Consecrated life is a gift to the Church, it is born of the Church, it grows in the Church, and it is entirely directed to the Church”. For this reason, precisely as a gift to the Church, it is not an isolated or marginal reality, but deeply a part of her. It is at the heart of the Church, a decisive element of her mission, inasmuch as it expresses the deepest nature of the Christian vocation and the yearning of the Church as the Bride for union with her sole Spouse. Thus, “it belongs… absolutely to the life and holiness” of the Church (ibid., 44).
(Apostolic Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to All Consecrated People on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, 21 November 2014)
From the writings of Blessed Antonio Rosmini
We must take care that ascription does not degenerate into a mere formality, or become a society only in name, useless for the kingdom of God. So it must be wholly the work of the mercy, grace and Providence of our Lord, since all our actions must be moved by and depend on the known will of God. We are always intent on helping souls; and by so acting, doing all possible good to our neighbour with unbounded charity. I foresee that ascription may do great, very great things if it is introduced wisely, with the wisdom and holiness of God, especially in the early days. Ascription is not to be confused with the Third Order of St Francis or with ascription to other religious Orders. It has some similarity with those things; but it is also greatly different from them. So if we led people to think that ascription to the Institute was all of a piece with ascription to other Orders, this would give them a wrong idea, and would prejudice the good that could be done. So we must avoid this, but at the same time we ought not to present it as something totally different, since this is not the case. It has an analogy with these other sorts of ascription, but its real nature ought to become clear by itself – through good works rather than by any words of ours.
As soon as the ascribed members are organized, and group associations (sodalities) are formed, then great good will come of them. For whereas ascription in general is something passive rather than active, looking to the cultivation of devotion, piety and above all purity of conscience, the sodalities are active: they are, so to speak, the tireless hands with which in time the members will come to exercise charity towards others. But for all this to happen it is essential that the focus of ascription, the Institute itself, to which ascription is complementary, should be distinguished by great holiness and possess the wisdom in the art of governing which can only be communicated by the Spirit of Christ.
(Ascetical Letters, translated by John Morris, , Vol IV,let.7,pp. 9-10; to Don Luigi Gentili at Grace Dieu, Stresa, 24 January 1841)
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