Throughout the first week of January in the Renewal Course, we focused on the study and reflection of the Pope’s Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia”, which took us two days, and the four letters of CIVCSVA to the Consecrated Life: Rejoice, Scrutinize, Contemplate and Proclaim.
There is a concurrence between the Exhortation and the DGC XVII in number 30 that says: “Today there are new faces and strong challenges demanding special attention: the family, the migrants and those estranged from the faith. The family is experiencing new situations that we have to accompany. It is also a responsibility to help parents in their educative task and to proclaim the Gospel to them. Migration is a reality affecting the majority of peoples. We have to welcome the migrants, accompany them and promote their human dignity so that they may fulfill themselves as persons and citizens. Those estranged from the faith need our understanding, acceptance and listening. If we are with them, we might be able to help them rediscover the faith and have a new encounter with the Lord.”
Our study focused on chapters 6 and 8. It was not a question of rushing into their reading but of digging deeper, looking into and relishing their novelty. In this exhortation we discovered an accessible language, an optimistic and positive message to the families of today’s world living in complex times.
It is an exhortation that is contextualized in the framework of the Year of Mercy. And it is impregnated with attitudes of mercy, discernment and accompaniment.
It enhances the beauty of family life; it also recognizes the difficulties and complexity that the family lives today. That is why the Pope encourages ministers to be close to family realities, to help discern, to engage in processes and to be companions so that nobody feels alone.
This reflection certainly has awakened the desire to continue working on the exhortation in our communities and in our concrete contexts to put it into practice with attitudes of listening, accompaniment, discernment and inclusion, so that it may allow us to come in contact with the lives of others feeling that God is love and that love is the compass that directs our lives.
HORIZONS FOR RENEWAL ARISING FROM THE LETTERS TO THE CONSECRATED LIFE
“In all stages of life… love and knowledge of God are learned only in a path of following, in an availability free of fears and nostalgia. The value and necessity of formation are laid as the foundation of renewal.” “The renewal of the Congregations depends mainly on the formation of its members.”
Guided by the question on what horizons of renewal are opened for us by the four letters to the consecrated life, we reflected on them again. The year of the Consecrated Life motivated us and set us on the path of rethinking our consecrated life. Already in the first letter the Pope referred to the Second Vatican Council with the desire of renewing the conciliar theology. We find in these letters a proposal for a theology of consecrated life more adapted to our times.
For each letter we worked on a selection of numbers that touch our life more or have to do more with the existential dimension. Along with these numbers we worked on the reflections and stimuli that the Pope set forth in each of the letters.
We shared in small groups, choosing in each group an invitation from the Pope that seemed to us at that time inspiring, questioning, challenging for our consecrated life today.
Discovering in this way where we felt these horizons for the renewal of our consecrated life were pointing.
We were barely acquainted with the last letter PROCLAIM, since it was published in October 2016. With this letter the year of the consecrated life concluded. Dayse presented to us a synthesis of this letter which we went deeper into and commented on together. Again, in this letter, Francis accompanies us with an inspiring and performative language that he uses constantly for the universal Church and our way of life. A more integrated image of the consecrated life is seen. A proposal to evaluate the times and change with them being faithful to the gospel.
We felt that it is a letter that questions us a lot and touches our hearts because our religious life as Daughters of Jesus is “in mission”; it is the mission of Jesus. “In the style of Jesus.” The mission is a transversal axis of our vocation.
It urges us to recover the missionary mystique of contemplation. To bring mercy and tenderness to others. To put ourselves at the service of the Word from the reality of life as messengers of joyful news. “We are a Church which goes forth”.
Reality demands from us a creative conversion so as not to give answers to questions that nobody poses. We need to reinvent the modes of proclamation. Renew our language to make the Gospel comprehensible.
We are invited to learn the difficult art of relating with the different and of cordial collaboration to build together. “With the (existential) peripheries at heart”. Called to carry out the mission with new modalities in new contexts “outside the gate”. Truly believing that our consecrated life is strong enough to oppose the paradigms of the dominant culture. We believe that this letter is an opportunity to rethink and renew our “ordinary pastoral activity, rethink our missionary proposals with creativity and boldness.”
The Communication Team, Renewal Course