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Friday, 20 January 2023 08:23

Legacy of Benedict XVI and consacrated life

"… It is Your Face, O Lord, that I seek!"

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s paschal passing has affected us profoundly. It constitutes an important moment in the life of the Church: one that has left us feeling sincerely moved and deeply grateful. We have honoured our Pope Emeritus and marvelled at both his moral stature and the gratitude that has spontaneously arisen in those who found spiritual nourishment in his words. A choral ‘Thank you’ has burst forth from the heart of the Church.
In various circumstances, the Holy Father stated that life is not something that comes full circle but is, rather, a journey that leads to an encounter, a fullness of being. We thank the Lord for the clarity of his faith, for the gift of his thinking and for the simplicity in which he always lived and with which he communicated the depths of God’s mystery.
As consecrated women, we loved and supported the humble labourer in the Lord’s vineyard, welcoming his magisterium’s prophetic intuitions and allowing his teachings to challenge us. We will remember him for the humility and wisdom with which he accompanied the Church and those in religious life.
Retracing the years of his pontificate, it is clear that Pope Benedict sought to bring consecrated life back to its original core: the form of life that Christ chose. “Belonging to the Lord,” he said to the Superiors General gathered together at the audience held on 22 May 2006, “means to be on fire with his incandescent love, to be transformed by the splendour of his beauty: our littleness is offered to him as a sacrifice of sweet fragrance so that it becomes a witness of the greatness of his presence for our epoch, which has great need to be inebriated by the richness of his grace”.

 


We remember him for his steadfast, vigorous request to put the Word of God at the centre of our spiritual lives.


He has encouraged us to be credible and luminous signs in the world: to be the fire of the Gospel and its paradoxes, without conforming to the mentality of this world but, rather, continually transforming and renewing our commitment, so as to be able to discern God’s will, what is good, acceptable and perfect to him (c.f. Rm 12: 2).


Pope Benedict XVI always recognized the special role of women in the life of the Church and gave them a crucial part to play: “[…] given the distinctive influence of women in society, they must be encouraged to embrace the opportunity to uphold the dignity of life through their involvement in education and their participation in political and civic life. […] The genius of women to mobilize and organize endows them with the skills and motivation to develop everexpanding networks for sharing experiences and generating new ideas.” (Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Participants in the International Conference on the theme: “Life, Family and Development: The Role of Women in the Promotion of Human Rights”, 20 March 2009)


“[…] the women had had an experience of a special bond with the Lord, which was
fundamental for the practical life of the Christian community, and this is always the case in every epoch and not only when the Church was taking her first steps” 
(Pope Benedict  XVI, Angelus, 9 April 2012).

(...) His witness as a man in love with God who sought his Lord is an invitation to cultivate the desire to constantly seek a Face: “Faciem tuam, Domine, requiram” (Ps. 27: 8). And to direct one’s own journeying – both in the small, everyday steps as well as in the more important decisions – towards completing this pilgrimage of the heart.

Dear Pope Emeritus, to you we express our profound and eternal gratitude.


Sr. Nadia Coppa, A.S.C. - President of the UISG

 

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