Be prophets of joy, not misfortune, pope tells nuns

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) —
Consecrated women are called to be prophets of hope and joy in the world and
avoid putting on a superficial joy that withers the soul, Pope Francis said.

In order to live out the joy
of the Gospel, “it must be a true joy, not a counterfeit joy” that
brings about “the cancer of resignation,” the pope told a group from the Sister Disciples of the Divine
Master.

“Please, sisters, no resignation.
Only joy! The devil
will say, ‘We are small, we don’t have many vocations.’ And your face will grow
long — down, down, down — and you lose joy,” he said. “No, you
cannot live like that; the hope of Jesus is joy.”

Founded in 1924, the Sister Disciples
of the Divine Master are part of the nine institutes of consecrated life
that form the Pauline Family established by Blessed James Alberione.

The congregation was in Rome April 30-May 28 for their ninth general chapter on
the theme “New wine in new
wineskins.”

After receiving a warm
applause from the sisters, the pope asked their pardon for his late arrival.

“I had a meeting with
the bishops of Guatemala and these meetings go on and on and on and then, the
sisters pay the price,” he said as the sisters laughed.

In his speech, the pope
expressed his hope that the congregation’s general chapter would “bring
forth abundant fruit,”
particularly the fruit of communion.

He asked them to practice
“fraternal correction and respect for the weakest sisters” while
warning of the dangers of divisions, envy and gossip that “destroy the
congregation.”

“For this reason, I
invite you to cultivate dialogue and communion with other charisms and to fight
self-referentialism in every way,” the pope said. “It is ugly when a
consecrated man or woman is self-referential, always looking at him/herself in
the mirror. It’s ugly.”

The general chapter, he
continued, is also a time to live out “the apostolate of the ear,”
that is, to listen to “the sisters as well as men and women of
today.” Listening to and sharing with others is necessary “if we want
our lives to be fully meaningful for ourselves and the people we meet.”

The vocation to consecrated
life, he added, is also an opportunity for sisters to fulfill “the prophecy
of joy” in their lives, which is both “a beautiful reality” and
“a great challenge for all of us.”

Pope Francis encouraged the
sisters to not unite themselves with “the prophets of misfortune” who
damage the church or
give in to the temptation of “drowsiness” like the apostles in Gethsemane.

“Awaken the world,
awaken the future,” he said. “Always smiling; with joy, with
hope.”

– – –

Follow Arocho on Twitter:
@arochoju.

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Original Article