During a meeting Saturday, with members of consecrated religious communities and institutions around Rome, Pope Benedict said that; absorbed by things of this world, modern man needs their holy example more than ever.
The meeting took place in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, in the presence of some 8,000 consecrated people from the Diocese of Rome.
The Pope began by extending his “special thoughts…to those living in monasteries of contemplative life, who are spiritually united with us" and "consecrated people from Africa, Latin America and Asia currently studying in Rome."
"As always," he said, "consecrated people constitute a valuable presence in the life of the Church of Rome, because they offer a unique witness to the unity and universality of the People of God.”
He added that “the complex social and cultural context of our city ... demands from you a constant attention to local concerns, as well as a courageous faith in the charism that distinguishes you.”
The Pope then recalled the origins of consecrated life, saying that from the beginning, it “has been characterized by a thirst for God.”
On this, he challenged his listeners not to be afraid “of visibly showing yourselves as consecrated people and ... demonstrating the fact that you belong to Christ."
The Holy Father also noted the deep involvement of consecrated people in various diocesan programs and pastoral work, calling on them to intensify loyalty to “their commitments, the charisms of their institutes, and the guidelines of the local Church.”
He specifically thanked the umbrella groups which represent them such as: the Italian Confederation of Superiors Major, the Union of Italian Female Superiors Major, the Group of Secular Institutes and the Ordo Virginum.
"The Church has need of your witness, “Benedict said, “of a consecrated life that faces the challenges of today with courage and creativity.”
“Faced with the advance of hedonism,” he continued, “I ask of you the brave witness of chastity. Faced with the thirst for money, your sober life and your service to those in need, reminds us that God is the authentic source of wealth that never perishes.”
“Faced with individualism and relativism...your fraternal life of obedience confirms that your fulfillment comes through God."
Continuing his reflections on the 40th anniversary of the end of Vatican Council II, the Pope concluded his message by noting the conciliar Decree "Perfectae caritatis," dedicated to consecrated life.
He said that: "Those living a consecrated life live in the world, but their hearts are directed beyond time; and to modern man, who is often absorbed by the things of the world, they bear witness that true destiny lies in God Himself."