Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Saturday, 11 May 2013

Pope Francis and the "old maids" address to nuns

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his now familiar refreshing style warned nuns bluntly to avoid being "old maids" (or spinsters as the Zenit translation has below). The key element in this masterly address is the nun as an "icon" of our Blessed Mother. In part, the Holy Father spoke:

Obedience as listening to the will of God in the interior motion of the Holy Spirit, authenticated by the Church, accepting that obedience passes also through human mediations. Remember that the authority-obedience relation is placed in the wider context of the mystery of the Church and constitutes a particular accomplishment of her mediating function (cf. Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, The Service of Authority and Obedience, 12.)

Poverty as the overcoming of all egoism in the logic of the Gospel, which teaches us to trust in the Providence of God. Poverty as an indication to the whole Church that we are not the ones who build the Kingdom of God; it is not human means that make it grow, but primarily the power, the grace of the Lord, who works through our weakness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” states the Apostle to the Gentiles (2 Corinthians 12:9). Poverty that teaches solidarity, sharing and charity, and which is also expressed in a sobriety and joy in the essential, to be on guard against material idols that obfuscate the authentic meaning of life. Poverty that is learned with the humble, the poor, the sick and all those who are on the existential peripheries of life. Theoretical poverty is of no use to us. Poverty is learned by touching the flesh of the poor Christ, in the humble, the poor, the sick, in children.

And then chastity as a precious charism, which widens the freedom of the gift to God and to others, with the tenderness, the mercy, the closeness of Christ. Chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven shows how affectivity has its place in mature freedom and becomes a sign of the future world, to make God’s primacy shine always. But, please, a “fecund” chastity, a chastity that generates spiritual children in the Church. The consecrated woman is mother, she must be a mother and not a “spinster!” Excuse me if I speak this way, but this maternity, this fecundity of consecrated life is important! May this joy of spiritual fecundity animate your existence. Be mothers, as the figure of Mother Mary and of the Mother Church. Mary cannot be understood without her maternity; the Church cannot be understood without her maternity and you are icons of Mary and of the Church.


The full address may be read here. 

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