Alliance for a new evangelisation
In an ever more actual context in which our Institute is strongly engaged to build collaborative relationships with the lay world, the XXIV Assembly of the Major Superiors has been held in Romania, a prevalently orthodox country. The Superiors reflected on the issue : “Consecrated life and family: alliance for a new evangelisation”. I must say at the outset that for the first time the Conference has united male and female religious. This is a positive sign since such unity means that one must be engaged to work together with the others.
The work, which is co-ordinated by a Jesuit (Mariu Talos), throws light on the relationship that exists between consecrated life and family life, the points of encounter between the two forms of life and in particular the “meaning of the vows for the whole people of God”, considered not as aspects which differentiate us but as aspects which link the two forms of life. Both consecrated and family life “form a unity resembling a two sided mountain”. The first side – starting from lay to consecrated life – highlights the bond of the two forms of life in the genesis of the orders and religious congregations, while the second side – starting from consecrated life to secular life – highlights the relevance of the Vows for the entire people of God. These vows, called also Evangelical Counsels are suggested to everybody but are lived in different manners according to one’s choice of life. Since his birth, man is already a consecrated being and thus we are all called to live our consecration to God from the first day of our existence: “Consecration isn’t a supplement to our being Christians, but it’s the specific way across which the Holy Spirit asks ‘every christian’ to belong entirely to Christ” (s. M. Talos). Thus, the Vows don’t represent only points that reveal our differences, but even bridges that link the two fundamental forms of christian life”. (From the Assembly’s final message).
In the light of these reflections, the Assembly members expressed their desire to keep close to the families and to create progressive modalities which pass from a state of excessive aid to that of collaboration and co-responsibility at various levels: between family and consecrated life and between congregations to local communities.
To facilitate this necessary collaboration in view of creating and maintaining bonds of unity with and within the families, the male Congregations, as I have mentioned above, accepted for the first time to participate in this assembly together with the female Congregations. We become always more aware that when we work together without fear, pettiness or prejudice, the Christians feel a major support and encouragement while their faith is strengthened. In this sense, keeping in mind already the activities in progress at an inter-congregational level, the Conference of the Major Superiors encourages the Congregations to involve still more the laity in their services, to set up formation courses even together with them, to continue to organise spiritual exercises for youths in collaboration with other Congregations and to work together in view of accomplishing that ecumenism which paves the way to become ONE.
One could say that these are only “timid” steps, but they open new paths and possibilities for a more extended and concrete inter-congregational collaboration, aiming to render the laity collaborative in the various projects. We have so many assets to share!
From the Region of Eastern Europe
Sister Mihaela Brănici s.d.c