Religious men and women are called to leave their “nest” and bring the Gospel to the peripheries, said Pope Francis in a video message marking the vigil of the Year for Consecrated Life. The Holy Father used the occasion to give thanks to God for the “precious gift of the consecrated life to the Church and the world.” The video message was delivered on Nov. 29 to members of the Congregation for the Institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, gathered together in Rome's Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Year for Consecrated Life begins Nov. 30, the first Sunday of Advent, and concludes Feb. 2, 2016. “This is an 'special time' for celebrating, with all the Church, the gift of your vocation and for reviving your prophetic mission,” Pope Francis said. He reminded consecrated persons to “wake the world up!” by placing “Christ at the center of your existence,” seeking him “constantly.” Pope Francis recalled how members of the consecrated life allowed themselves to be touched by Christ's hand, “guided by his voice, sustained by his grace,” acknowledging it is not easy. He called on them to always use the Gospel as their starting point, translated into “daily gestures marked by simplicity and coherence,” avoiding the temptation to “transform it into an ideology.” “The Gospel keeps your life and mission 'young'”, thus keeping them “current and attractive.” Pope Francis reminded consecrated men and women of their call “to be 'living exegeses' of the Gospel,” which is the “foundation and final reference point of your life and mission.” “Leave your nest,” and go out to “the peripheries of today's men and women!” he said. By allowing oneself to be “encountered by Christ,” He in turn “will push you toward an encounter with others, and bring you to the most in need, the poorest.” Pope Francis concluded by invoking the intercession of Mary, “women in contemplation of God's mystery in the world and history,” ready to help others. “May she accompany us in this Year for the Consecrated life,” as we are “placed beneath her maternal gaze.”
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