Pope Francis held a meeting with the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life. They met in Rome on the eve of the Year of Consecrated Life which begins on Sunday.
Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation, explained to the Pope the emblem of the of the meeting which is entitled "New wine in new wineskins.”
The emblem is a dove over a mosaic that represents Creation and the variety that exists within consecrated life. The Pope, between laughs, thanked him for the explanation.
"I thank the secretary and the two subsecretaries for this "logo” which I saw yesterday on the Osservatore Romano but I didn't understand what it was. Now I understand!”
But beyond the usual laughs, the Pope invited them to abandon "the old wineskins”, meaning, the customs and ecclesial structures that do not help their mission. He reminded them that consecrated life is renewed constantly.
"The wind of the Spirit has continued to blow with strength, on one hand driving Institutes to implement the spiritual, charismatic and institutional renewal, which the Council itself requested, and on the other, arousing in men’s and women’s hearts new ways of responding to Jesus’ invitation to leave everything to dedicate their life to following Him and to the proclamation of the Gospel.”
The Pope highlighted several dangers to consecrated life, such as resistence to change or the difficult integration in communities of members from different ages or cultures. He also expressed his concern of the declining numbers in convents and monasteries.
However, at the same time, he offered several points to overcome those difficulties. He explained that poverty is fundamental for those in consecrated life because it is life-giving and protects them from worldliness. The Pope concluded his address by reminding them that prayer was also crucial and never a waste of time.