Skip to comments.The "Black Conclave" Opens (fulltext homily of the papal legate)
Posted on 01/07/2008 10:31:07 AM PST by NYer
After more than two years of preparations, the General Congregation of the Jesuits began this morning in Rome with a papal delegate's call for enhanced fidelity from the church's largest religious community.
Representing Pope Benedict, Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode CM, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, celebrated the opening liturgy of GC35, which'll shortly see the election of the Society's new superior-general to replace the retiring Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach.
In his homily at the Mass, held in the Jesuit mother-church of the Gesu, Rode said that "with sadness and apprehension," he noticed an increasing lack of "sentire cum ecclesia" -- the "thinking with the church" -- on the part of "some members of the religious families."
What's more, the cardinal added that, with "sadness and apprehension," he sees "a growing detachment from the hierarchy" among the Jesuits.
"The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service 'under the Roman pontiff' does not accept this separation," he said.
"Your work must be eminently apostolic with a universal, human, ecclesial apostolic breadth," Rode said. "It must always be accomplished in the light of your charism, in which the growing participation of the laity in your activities must not obscure your identity, but rather enrich it."
Led by Kolvenbach, the 226 delegates concelebrated the Mass, most of which was said in Latin. Following the liturgy, the outgoing Father-General lit the traditional lamp at the tomb of Ignatius of Loyola to burn for the duration of the gathering. While the delegates' rooms have been booked for two months, the GC will remain in session until its business is finished.
The increasing presence of laity in Jesuits apostolates is high on the congregation's agenda, as is its vow of obedience, and how its "true spirit... [can] be renewed in the Society today."
Representing the community's Italian province (which he once headed), among the delegates is the "papal spokesman" Fr Federico Lombardi. Led by the new Father-General, the congregation's audience with Pope Benedict has been scheduled for 21 February, the eve of the Feast of the Chair of Peter.
SVILUPPO: More from CNS:
"Consecration in service to Christ cannot be separated from consecration in service to the church," Cardinal Rode said....-30-
"Love for the church in every sense of the word -- be it the church as the people of God or the hierarchical church -- is not a human sentiment, which comes and goes" depending on who its leaders and members are at any given moment in history, Cardinal Rode said.
"Love for the church is a love based on faith, a gift of the Lord which, precisely because he loves us, he gives us faith in him and his spouse, which is the church," he said....
"The fundamental nucleus of Ignatian spirituality consists in uniting love for God with love for the hierarchical church," Cardinal Rode said.
The cardinal said the world urgently needs to hear the proclamation of the truth revealed in Scripture and tradition and authenticated by the official teaching of the church.
"The doctrinal diversity of those who ... by vocation and mission are called to announce the kingdom of truth and love, disorients the faithful and leads to a relativism without limits," he said.
The cardinal also urged the members of the General Congregation to continue and to strengthen the work of the Jesuits and their institutions in stemming and reversing a separation between faith and culture, especially by being men of deep prayer as well as highly educated.
"It is not possible to transform the world or to respond to the challenges of a world which has forgotten love, without being firmly rooted in love," Cardinal Rode told them.
As they elect a new superior and make decisions for the order's future, the Jesuits must give priority to imitating St. Ignatius, whose life was marked by generosity, penance, apostolic zeal, obedience, charity, fidelity and "love for the hierarchical church," Cardinal Rode said.
Following is the fulltext homily of the papal legate Cardinal Franc Rode CM, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, given at the opening of GC35 earlier today in Rome
It seems like all the papal legates recently have been “strongly suggesting” that obedience is preferred. First Cardinal Rigali and Abp. Rajinth and now Cardinal Rode. The Holy Father’s message is coming through loud and clear - for those who will hear it!
Perhaps it would be interesting to contrast Cardinal Rode’s address to Regnum Christi last year:
Dear friends, one and all: Legionaries and members and friends of the Regnum Christi Movement,
I am pleased to be here at the Tenth Youth and Family Encounter in America. I know the history of these meetings and the meaning they have always had for you. I know that they help you to express your family spirit in the Regnum Christi Movement and give a strong boost to your apostolic commitment. They are special moments of grace that you should use to the full so that you can grow in your personal commitment to Christ and to the Regnum Christi Movement as you learn to live out your charism more deeply. This is important, because Regnum Christi is part of the Church, and if the Church is going to be strong and active in todays world, then each of its parts must be strong and active. By the vocation you have received, it is up to you to take care of this part of Christs Mystical Body and to make it fruitful.
Your charism is a true gift that the Holy Spirit has given to each one of you personally so that you can serve the Church. God has given you this gift so that each one of you can reflect his light. That is why the charism is both a gift and a responsibility.
I can imagine all the prayer that goes into this encounter and the fruits it will bear. I can sense all the sacrifice, the organizational effort, the time, the work, the love that made it possible for us to experience all of this. And so I thank God for letting me be here, and I feel that I owe it to you personally and as the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious to leave you with a threefold message: I encourage you to appreciate the depth and solidity of your charism based on love and communion within the Church, to live it out in your own eminently apostolic and missionary lifestyle, and to do everything you can to make it grow
«Your charism is a true gift that the Holy Spirit has given to each one of you personally so that you can serve the Church.»
so that it can do as much good as possible for the Church and souls.
1. A charism based on a solid spirituality
- Love as the center
LOVE is at the very center of your charism. It is the center of Christianity, as the Holy Father states in Deus Caritas Est: We have come to believe in Gods love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. (BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est, 1) Therefore your charism places you at the very heart of Christianity. For you, to be a Christian means to contemplate the Christ who gave his entire life for you. With this conviction and certainty, it means responding to Gods love through your daily self-giving and your apos-tolic work. In other words, it means that you share your Founders spiritual experience.
- In communion with the Pope and the Church
I know well how much your Founder insisted that Regnum Christi would be without meaning outside of the Church. I personally also know how much you, as his faithful sons and daughters, care for and cultivate your loyal adherence to the Pope and the Church. It is like the DNA that identifies you. Wherever a Regnum Christi member is, there is a deep communion with the Vicar of Christ and the Mystical Body of Christ. Communion with the Pope and the Church is what guarantees fruitfulness in your apos-tolate. I know how much joy this gives me, but above all I know how much joy this gives Pope Benedict XVI. Several days ago the Holy Father received me in audience, and I spoke to him about this encounter. He was very pleased and he was happy to hear about this encounter in Atlanta. The Pope knows he can count on you and your ob-edience and love. The charity in speech that characterizes you is a priceless witness.
It is true that the Churchs unity is found in one essential element: love. Above all these, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Col 3:14) But unity is also found in the visible bonds of communion that assure it, such as: the profession of one faith received from the Apostles; the common celebration of divine worship,
«Wherever a Regnum Christi member is, there is a deep communion with the Vicar of Christ and the Mystical Body of Christ.»
especially of the sacraments; and the apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of Gods family (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 815). It is what you express in a phrase that is so much a part of your spirituality: to walk in step with the Church, not one step ahead, not one step behind.
In your apostolates, continue working closely with the local churches, the parish priests, the bishops, and the religious. The Church is your home. May the Church always be the environment where you work and give yourselves.
2. A missionary, apostolic lifestyle
- Preaching Christ
It is striking to see how strongly your missionary apostolates are growing: Youth for the Third Millennium, Missionary Family, Helping Hands Medical Missions. I and many others cannot help but marvel at the beautiful spectacle of tens of thousands of mission-aries, more each year, who participate in the Holy Week missions. One can see that you feel the need to proclaim the Gospel, and that you are not afraid to make sacrifices to do so.
But perhaps what is most impressive and also inspires most hope given the deChristianization of the West and the need for a New Evangelization is that you dont limit yourselves just to going on missions among simple people who thirst for your message. I see that you go on missions in the big American cities, and in regions that were once Catholic but have sunk into skepticism and materialism. It is inspiring to see you go on missions beneath the skyscrapers of Atlanta, Chicago, and Manhattan, and in the streets of Montreal. I have also seen pictures of the first ECYD members in Korea going on missions in the streets of Seoul. I ask you, in the name of those souls who await you, never to fall victim to human respect, and never to get discouraged in the face of the difficulties that are certain to come. Be faithful to your charism, which is as beautiful as it is difficult to live.
I am also very aware that these missions are only a partial expression of your constant apostolic missionary effort, because for a good Regnum Christi member the apostolate is not just something you do once in a while, one weekend a month, or one week a year, when you feel like it. I know that it is how you live habitually; it is how you are.
And so I can see that, thanks to the selfgiving of each one of you, according to your personal gifts and possibilities, and working together as a united body, your Movement offers the Church a rich array of apostolic initiatives in catechesis, full-time lay missionaries, youth formation, clubs, the formation of parents, the formation of children, helping the needy, the mass media, education, vocations, the formation of artists, athletes, and the leaders of society, the help that you give to the clergy, and the se-minary formation. The list seems inexhaustible, just like the love that inspires your
«Be faithful to your charism, which is as beautiful as it is difficult to live.»
activity, because you draw it from the inexhaustible wellspring of Christs Heart.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to continue paying special attention to your work with the youth in particular. Dont get discouraged by the difficulties. Every minute invested in a young person is a minute invested in the future, and as time goes by, it will bear its fruit.
It is certainly true, as your founder has so often repeated, that following Christ means denying yourself. In this effort, keep in mind Pope Benedict XVIs leitmotif in the homily he gave at the beginning of his pontificate: Do not be afraid: Christ takes nothing away and he gives you everything. (BENEDICT XVI, Homily for the Inaugural Mass of his Pontificate. April 24, 2005)
3. A charism called to spread through your growth
In the Gospel our Lord speaks of the light that should not be put under a bushel basket and the talent that must not be hidden in the ground with the excuse of keeping it safe. Each charism that God gives his Church is a light and a talent. God could save the world without our help, but he wanted to need our help. God could make the Church fulfill its mission without the movements, but he wanted to create and need them. Here is our responsibility. Be on guard against vanity, and purify your intentions, but realize the responsibility that weighs on your shoulders. You have a treasure, not because you deserved it, but because God wanted to entrust it to you, and because he also wants many others to receive it through you. What you have received freely, give freely.
Do not be afraid to grow; rather, fear not growing. How much good you will do if you grow! And how much good, sadly, will remain undone if you do not! The Church needs you, and it needs you even stronger and bigger. To be able to carry out your apos-tolic charism, you must grow.
If there is any guideline that you should take away from this encounter, let it be this: Grow. Grow in depth and in breadth. To grow in depth means to grow in your knowledge and love for Christ, in your intellectual and apostolic formation, and in the knowledge and command of your charism. To grow in breadth means to grow in num-bers, so that through Regnum Christi there will be more
«Mary gives us a marvelous witness of fidelity and absolute trust in God.»
apostles, more apostolates, more initiatives at the service of the Church and souls. This is what the Church and the world need. And, I would say, it is what each one of you needs if you are not going to disappoint Gods plan for your lives.
To conclude, I would like to go over the means that you can use to achieve this twofold growth.
- To grow in depth
Fruitfulness comes from the spirit. Your Movements prayer commitments set you on a path towards a friendship with Christ that is based on the life of grace, nourished by the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession, and developed in prayer and the effort to live out a fervent charity.
We cant love what we dont know. The more we know God, the more we can love him. Hence the need to grow constantly not only in the knowledge of God that we can acquire in prayer, but also in the knowledge we can acquire by learning our faith more deeply. This is also crucial if we are to be effective apostles in todays world. We have to give a reason for our faith, as St Peter says. We have to be light for our brothers and sisters. Also the young people have to be light among you. When you face the sophisms of so many of your peers who follow the path of a so-called personal fulfillment that is more destructive than it is fulfilling, you have to have the courage and conviction to be a source of light for them.
I also know that your Movement offers you many means to stay abreast of the times and to learn how to carry out an apostolate. Make good use of them, and dont let such a fortune go unused.
And also, to assimilate and get a deeper grasp of your Movements particular charism, apply what the Church tells the religious: the Founders interpretation of the charism is the authentic interpretation. So read, meditate on, and absorb the words of the man God chose to transmit this spirit to you: your Founder, Father Maciel. This is the most effective way that God imprints your Movements charism in your conscience, your heart, and your action.
- To grow in breadth
Christ tells us too to Go out to all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. That is why the Church needs tens of thousands, millions, of lay
«The world needs your fire, the world needs your love.»
people who are committed to the Gospel, focused on charity, with a solid formation rooted in Christ as the supreme ideal, who live deeply united to the Church and the Pope. Dont be ashamed of the gift God has given you. Rather, you should feel indebted to God and responsible for its growth. You know very well that Regnum Christi is only one part of Gods great plan to transform the world at the beginning of this third millennium of Christianity. Just one part, true, but its the part that God has put in your hands, and the part for which you are personally responsible.
As you set out on this adventure, this impassioned battle to follow Christ, keep our Blessed Mother very close to you. She is a woman with her soul open to God, ready to listen to him in all things. A soul who knows how to fit into Gods plans, and who doesnt settle just for fitting God into her plans. Mary gives us a marvelous witness of fidelity and absolute trust in God.
Dear friends, dear Regnum Christi members, always grow in your love for Christ, your apostolic drive, and the practice of charity, which is your charism. The Church needs these traits.
To end, I repeat the words that His Holiness Pope John Paul II said to you in Rome not many years ago: Dear Regnum Christi members, if you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze. The world needs your fire, the world needs your love.
Thank you very much.
Translation of the actually spoken words.
Gee, I wonder if they’ll pick a Catholic?
ping for later
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