POPE FRANCIS’ APPEAL TO BENEDICTINE MONKS: ”DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED IF YOUR COMMUNITY IS SHRINKING” Francis gave audience to a delegation of the International Congress of the religious order

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“Do not be discouraged if the members of the monastic communities decrease in number or grow old; on the contrary -, keep the zeal of your testimony alive, also in the most difficult countries at present, faithful to the charism and with courage to start new congregations.” This is Pope Francis’ appeal to the delegation of Benedictine monks, who partook in the International Congress of the religious order held in the Vatican.

“Your service to the Church is precious. In our time, we need men and women who do not value anything more than the love of Christ – added the Pontiff -, who are nurtured every day by the Word of God, who worthily celebrate the sacred liturgy, who work with joy and commitment in harmony with the Created”.

Francis also explained that the world’s need for mercy is becoming more and more obvious. “But this is not a slogan or a recipe: it is the heart of Christian life and at the same time, it is its concrete style, the breath that animates interpersonal relationships and makes us attentive to those in need and sympathetic with them – he added -. This is what ultimately manifests the authenticity and credibility of the message of which the Church is the trustee and herald”.

“In present times and in this Church, the call to focus more and more on essential things – continued Pope Francis – the vocation of the monks and nuns guards a special gift and a special responsibility: to keep alive the spiritual oases, where shepherds and the faithful may draw from the sources of divine mercy”.

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