Pope Francis on Thursday addressed a message to participants in a conference on consecrated religious life currently taking place in Brazil.

In his message, he expressed his gratitude for “the immense gift of the vocation to consecrated life which, in its most diverse charisms, enriches ecclesial communion and contributes greatly to the mission of the Church throughout the world.”

The pontiff noted that in many places “the first proclamation of the Gospel is made by consecrated men and women, who take up with great commitment and with the dedication of their lives the mandate of the Lord.”

The Holy Father also said that “the gift of vocation must be safeguarded and cultivated every day, so that it produces good fruits in the life of each religious.”

Pope Francis expressed his joy for the theme chosen for the conference, which is the exhortation that Jesus made to the apostles at the Last Supper: “Remain in my love.”

According to Pope Francis, “to live the divine call well, it is necessary to remain in his love, through constant dialogue with Jesus in daily prayer and fidelity to the vows that so beautifully express our consecration.”

The pope also said that “the consecrated life, if it remains firm in the love of the Lord, sees beauty. It sees that poverty is not a titanic effort but rather a much greater freedom, which gives us God and others as true riches.”

The consecrated life “sees that chastity is not austere sterility but the way to love without possessing. It sees that obedience is not discipline but victory over our unruliness,” he said, recalling his homily of Feb. 1, 2020, on the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life.

Finally, he encouraged the attendees to live the present “sustained by the mysticism of the specific charisms of each religious family and [by being] prophetically committed to the proclamation of the Gospel.”

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He also invited them to “look to the future with hope” and not to forget “to pray for me.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.