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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Scottish Archbishop pays tribute to Consecrated Life
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Franciscans at the Mass

In a homily to mark the annual Day of Consecrated Life Archbishop Conti has paid tribute to the commitment and devotion of the sisters, priests and brothers who make up the 32 religious communities currently serving in the Archdiocese of Glasgow.  

Ranging from ancient orders like the Franciscans and Dominicans, to more recent foundations such as the Comboni Missionaries and the Daughters of St Paul, religious communities are to be found in every corner of the Archdiocese.  

The Archbishop also paid tribute to the new movements which have illuminated the Church in recent history and which "are marked by the way in which Priests, Religious and lay people are engaged together in evangelising a culture from within."  

The Archbishop said: "The wealth of the Religious families which serve the Church, the variety of their charisms and the effect of their activity are truly remarkable, and on a day like this, having taken account of them even so briefly, we are inspired to thank God for His graces.

"Lest any of you think that you have been missed out, let me describe your variety and service in a different way by thanking all of you who are involved in education; in pastoral work; in the care of the sick and the elderly; in the proclamation of the Gospel; the fostering of devotions and ensuring through the integrity of your professional lives the evangelisation of our culture.  I thank all of you in whichever Religious family you have been formed for the prayer you raise at the heart of the Church."  

The full text of the Archbishop's sermon follows:

Mass of Thanksgiving for Celebration of the Consecrated Life  at Blessed John Duns Scotus on 9 February 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am delighted to have the opportunity of concelebrating this Mass with  you this evening here at the Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus, himself a Religious, one of the sainted members of the Franciscan family  and particularly dear to us as a Scot born at Duns in the lowlands of  Scotland.


As you know, he was a distinguished theologian and there is a tenderness about his theology which we could say has been a  distinguishing mark of Franciscan spirituality.  There are those among  you who as Religious men and women seek to reflect the Franciscan  spirit in your pastoral and educational service of the Archdiocese.   There are thirty-two Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of  Apostolic Life presently serving within this Archdiocese, whose historical origins range from the early mediaeval period to the period of  the reform of the Church around the time of the Council of Trent, and  subsequently extending through that long period between that Council  of the sixteenth century and that of the First Vatican Council in the  nineteenth.  We have Religious Institutes represented which grew up at  the time of the French Revolution, with the subsequent need for the  catechising of children, for the training of teachers and for education at all levels.

   
We have in our midst also those Institutes of Consecrated Life whose  specific charisms were in the revitalising of the spiritual lives of the  faithful through devotion to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Sacrament  and to the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.    Among us also are those Missionary Societies which in the wake of trade  and conquest entered hitherto closed societies ensuring the spread of the  Gospel to every part of the world.  In even more recent times new  Institutes, responsive to changing cultural trends and new ways of  communicating the Gospel, have made the infiltration of society through  engagement in the professions, and by the use of modern means of communication, their particular charism.   

Here also are represented those who have been termed The New Movements, which are marked by the way in which Priests, Religious  and lay people are engaged together in evangelising a culture from  within.  If their members are active within the world, as we describe it,  there are those communities among us which continue to be faithful to  that detachment from society which enables them to pursue the contemplative life and to be powerhouses of prayer for the support of  all.

When St Therese of the Child Jesus was spiritually agitated by wanting  to understand fully her vocation as a Carmelite nun, she found an  answer in Saint Paul’s words about the primacy of charity; and that  the  love of God and the love of mankind was the heart of every vocation,  though it could be expressed in different ways within the Church, from  communities dedicated more fully to a daily round of prayer, to those  whose prayer enabled them to address in practical ways the needs of the  poor. Such poverty ranges from physical deprivation through cultural  impoverishment to spiritual emptiness, such as we have seen addressed  in those Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life  which were founded in the seventeenth century and were extended by  imitation to the faithful in such Societies as that of St Vincent de Paul,

the Legion of Mary, and many other lay groups which have justice and  peace as their banner and the development of peoples as their charitable  aim.

The wealth of the Religious families which serve the Church, the variety  of their charisms and the effect of their activity are truly remarkable, and  on a day like this, having taken account of them even so briefly, we are  inspired to thank God for His graces.

Lest any of you think that you have been missed out, let me describe  your variety and service in a different way by thanking all of you who  are involved in education; in pastoral work; in the care of the sick and  the elderly; in the proclamation of the Gospel; the fostering of devotions and ensuring through the integrity of your professional lives the  evangelisation of our culture.  I thank all of you in whichever Religious  family you have been formed for the prayer you raise at the heart of the  Church. Age does not prevent this, but in so many instances can provide  an enhanced opportunity for it, as well as the inspiration arising from a  serene acceptance of the hardships and disabilities which inevitably  come in the passing of the years.

In his homily for this year’s Day for Consecrated Life the Holy Father  remarked:   ‚We live today, above all in the most developed societies, within a condition often marked by a radical pluralism, by the progressive marginalisation of religion from the public sphere, and by a relativism that touches fundamental values. This calls for our Christian witness to be luminous and coherent and for
our educational efforts to be better attuned and more generous. In particular  your apostolic action, dear brothers and sisters, must be a commitment of a life which reaches with perseverance, to that wisdom which is truth and beauty – the ‘splendour of the truth.’ With the wisdom gained from your own lives and trusting in the inexhaustible riches of an authentic education, direct toward the  full life of the Gospel the minds and hearts of the men and women of our own  times.

The Holy Father in referring to this orientation has in mind the practice  of Lectio Divina.  In this connection he said:  ‚Dear brothers and sisters, be assiduous listeners of the Word, because all wisdom in life is born of the Word of the Lord! Be scrutinizers of the Word,  through Lectio Divina, because consecrated life "is itself born from listening to  the Word of God and accepting the Gospel as its norm of life. To follow the chaste, poor and obedient Christ is to provide a living ‘exegesis’of the Word of God.”

I would like as your Bishop to echo those words of the Holy Father,  taking my inspiration from them.  Since most of you live in Community  then Lectio Divina, which implies togetherness in reading, in reflection,  and in prayerful contemplation of the Word of God, is most apt for  holding you together as Communities, as well as in refreshing your  commitment and illuminating your charisms.

The passage chosen from the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 15. 9 – 17)  provides such an opportunity. However, I will avoid the temptation to  convert my homily into a period of Lectio Divina, but I do not resist the  temptation to echo Saint Paul’s words in our first reading: (1.Cor 1. 3 – 9) for they express my as they express his admiration and thanksgiving for  those who in his words “...are called to take their place among all the saints  everywhere who pray to Our Lord Jesus Christ

And the words I want to echo are these: 'I never stop thanking God for all  the graces you have received through Jesus Christ.  I thank him that you have  been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers: The  witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you, so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for Our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

Today’s commemoration is linked to the Feast of the Presentation of our  Blessed Lord in the Temple, where Simeon and Anna would seem to express for all of us that confident waiting for Our Lord Jesus Christ to  be revealed, and whose waiting was so marvellously rewarded with the  sight of the Divine Infant carried on the breast of His mother Mary and  protected by His foster father, Joseph:  ‚My eyes have seen the salvation  which you prepared for all the nations to see‛   exclaimed Simeon, ‚A light to  enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel‛.  (Luke 2 : 30 - 32)  May you, at least from time to time, catch a glimpse of that beauty and  have a sense, even passing, of that joy which is the fulfillment of all that  you await, and for which you qualify through your generous response  to Our Lord’s call.

Source: Archdiocese of Glasgow

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Tags: Archbishop Conti, Archdiocese of Glasgow, Day of Consecrated Life


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