VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Saturday, 28 Oct 2017, reminded members of Secular Institutes about their prophetic presence in the world, especially by being and acting the Word of God they hear.
The Holy Father’s exhortation came in a message he sent to the Italian Conference of Secular Institutes(CIIS) that is holding a conference in Rome, Oct. 28-29, on the theme, “Beyond and in the Midst: Secular Institutes: Stories of passion and prophecy for God and the world.”
A secular institute is an organization of consecrated persons who live in the world, unlike members of a religious institute or congregation who are required to live in a community.
Pope Francis told the conference participants that their laicity consists in knowing what God has to say to the world, where “saying” means acting and not talking. This, he said is very much needed in our times where difficulties could tempt one to isolate herself or himself into a comfortable and secure situation and withdraw from the world. But the Pope said, “your place is to “stay in” with the transforming presence of the Gospel.” He admitted it is a difficult path, but assured them the Lord wants to walk with them.
Pope Francis said that their vocation and mission is to be aware not only of their surroundings, without stopping at appearance but going deeper, but also discovering where God manifests Himself. In other words – aware of the world but with hearts immersed in God.
In this regard, Pope Francis suggested five spiritual attitudes. One needs to pray to be united to God and to listen to Him. One needs discernment to distinguish between essentials and unimportant things. Like Jesus, one needs to share the lot of men and women even in tragic and dark times. One should never to lose confidence and courage, knowing how to find good in everything. And lastly, one should be animated by Christ’s sympathy for the world and the people, to be free and passionate like salt and yeast in the world.
In Sabah, there are four secular institutes: Secular Franciscan Order (OFS), Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation (IMSA), and Institusi Komuniti Betania (ISKB). – vatican radio/kksoccom