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When we are called, we are called to ourselves, that is, to our capacity for being. Perhaps it is not unwarranted to say that the crisis of consecrated life results from the inability to recognize such a profound call, even in those who are already living this vocation.

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We are experiencing a crisis of fidelity, understood as a conscious adherence to a call that is a pathway, a journey from its mysterious beginnings to its mysterious end. Perhaps we are also in a crisis of humanization. We are experiencing the limitations of complete consistency, wounded by our incapacity to lead our lives as an integrated vocation and as a faithful journey. This daily journey, both personal and communal, marked by discontent and a bitterness that encloses us in remorse, and almost in a permanent longing for unexplored paths and unfulfilled dreams, becomes a lonely road.

Our call to live in relationship, in the fulfilment of love, can be transformed into an uninhabited wilderness. At every age we are invited to revisit the deep centre of our personal life, where the motivation of our life with the Master, as disciples of the Master, finds its meaning and truth. Faithful discipleship is grace and love in action; it is the practice of sacrificial charity. To persevere all the way to Golgotha, to experience the lacerations of doubts and denial, to rejoice in the marvel and wonder of the Paschal event, up to the manifestation of Pentecost and the evangelization of the peoples, these are milestones of joyful fidelity because they are about self-emptying, experienced throughout life, even in the sign of martyrdom, and also sharing in the life of the risen Christ.

In the theological locus in which God, in revealing himself, reveals us to ourselves, the Lord asks us to return to the search, fides quaerens. Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart 2Tm The interior pilgrimage begins with prayer. This is always true, and it is true at every moment of our lives. The Pope identifies prayer as the source of the fruitfulness of the mission. Contemplation expands into prophetic aptitude. And it is the Word of God that touches hearts, converting them to God and to his logic which is so different from our own.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Using a stylistic peculiarity, also seen later in the text cf. Is ; Awake, awake!

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The historical context clearly belongs to the prolonged exile of the people in Babylon BC , with all the consequent humiliation and the sense of powerlessness to escape. However, the disintegration of the Assyrian empire under the pressure of the new emerging power of the Persians, guided by the rising star of Cyrus, enabled the prophet to foresee that an unexpected liberation might come about.

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And so it did. The prophet, inspired by God, voiced this possibility publicly, interpreting the political and military developments as actions guided mysteriously by God through Cyrus. He proclaimed that liberation was at hand and that the return to the land of their fathers was about to take place. The words that Isaiah uses: Comfort These recurrences are of particular value in dialogues of tenderness and affection. Hos for a new period of fidelity. There are other similar parallel passages: the dialogue of Shechem, son of Hamor, who was in love with Dinah cf.

Gen and that of the Levite of Ephraim speaking to the concubine who had abandoned him cf. Judg This is a language to be interpreted in the context of love. This comfort must be an epiphany of reciprocal belonging, an interplay of intense empathy, ferment and vital connection. These are not superficial, cloying words, therefore, but mercy and deep-seated concern, an embrace giving strength and patient accompaniment in the rediscovery of faithful pathways. Pope Francis entrusts this mission to consecrated men and women: to discover the Lord who comforts us like a mother, and to comfort the people of God.

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Service in the Church arises out of the joy of meeting the Lord and from his call. This mission is to bring to the men and women of our time the consolation of God, to bear witness to his mercy. Thus Christian consolation becomes comfort, encouragement, hope. It is the active presence of the Spirit cf. Jn , the fruit of the Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control Gal In a world of distrust, discouragement and depression, in a culture in which men and women are enveloped by fragility and weakness, individualism and self-interest, we are asked to introduce belief in the possibility of true happiness, in the feasibility of hope that does not depend solely on talent, superiority or knowledge, but on God.

All are given the possibility of encountering him, if they only seek him with a sincere heart. The men and women of our time are waiting for words of consolation, the availability of forgiveness and true joy. Community is the first and most believable gospel that we can preach.

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We are asked to humanise our community. May the monastery not be a Purgatory but a family. There are and there will be problems but like in a family, with love, search for a solution with love; do not destroy this to resolve that; do not enter competitions. Build community life, because in the life of a community it is this way, like a family, and it is the very Holy Spirit who is in the middle of the community. Let things go, do not brag, be patient with everything, smile from the heart. Joy is confirmed in the experience of community, that theological space where each one is responsible for their fidelity to the Gospel and for the growth of all.

When a community is fed by the same Body and Blood of Jesus, it gathers around the Son of God, to share the journey of faith, guided by the Word. It becomes one with him, together in communion, experiencing the gift of love and festive celebration in freedom and joy, full of courage. We are called to undertake an exodus out of our own selves, setting out on a path of adoration and service. Have the courage to go against the tide of this culture of efficiency, this culture of waste. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human.

Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! I would like you to be almost obsessed about this. St Thomas said: bonum est diffusivum sui. Good spreads. And joy also spreads. And joy, true joy, is contagious; it is infectious Many times Pope Francis has pointed out the path of attraction , of contagion, the path for the growth of the Church, the path of the new evangelization. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world. Entrusting to us the task of waking up the world , the Pope urges us to approach the stories of the men and women of today in the light of two pastoral categories that have their roots in the newness of the Gospel: closeness and encounter , two ways through which God himself is revealed in history culminating in the Incarnation.

This is the problem. As living icons of the motherhood and of the closeness of the Church, we go out to those who are waiting for the Word of consolation and we bend down with motherly love and fatherly spirit towards the poor and the weak. The crisis of meaning of the modern person and the economic and moral crisis of western society and its institutions are not temporary phenomena of the times in which we live but they outline an historical moment of outstanding importance. We are called now, as the Church, to go outside in order to arrive at the margins, geographic, urban and existential — the margins of the mystery of sin, pain, injustice and misery —, to the hidden places of the soul where each person experiences the joys and sufferings of life.

During his pastoral visit to Assisi, Pope Francis was asked what the Church must strip away. Strip away the seeming assurance structures give, which, though certainly necessary and important, should never obscure the one true strength it carries within: God.

He is our strength! The Church is free. She is sustained by the Holy Spirit. God has revealed himself as history, not as a compendium of abstract truths. Besides the challenge of the beatitude of the poor, the Pope invites us to visit the frontiers of thought and culture, to promote dialogue, even at the intellectual level, to give reasons for hope on the basis of ethical and spiritual criteria, questioning ourselves about what is good. Authentic culture, constantly called to serve humanity in all its conditions, opens unexplored paths, opens doors to allow hope to breathe, strengthens the meaning of life and watches over the common good.

Here, faith and reason unite, the religious dimension and the various aspects of human culture — art, science, labour, literature The places where knowledge is developed and communicated are also the places where a culture of closeness, of encounter and dialogue can be created that lowers defences, opens doors and builds bridges.