Another reason prayer is so important for men and women in consecrated life, he said, is that it helps to direct action to the correct purpose, keeping the focus on God, instead of just serving an institution or one's own interests.
"Search for your Lord, the one who called you… Not just in the morning," he said. "Everyone must look for how to do it, where to do it, when to do it. But always do it, pray. One cannot live the consecrated life, one cannot discern what is happening without speaking with the Lord."
Pope Francis then turned to poverty, which he noted St. Ignatius of Loyola called the mother of consecrated life.
"Without poverty there is no fecundity in consecrated life," he said. The spirit of poverty is necessary for discernment, and is a defense against all that would destroy consecrated life.
Even in religious life there can be a worldliness, the Pope said, which comes from a lack of poverty; vanity; and pride.
Francis finally spoke about the quality of patience in consecrated life, which, he said, is not just about bearing patiently with those with whom we live and work – it is also about bearing patiently with the suffering of the world, "carrying [it] on the shoulders."
"Enter into patience," he said, because without patience "you cannot be magnanimous, you cannot follow the Lord."
Internal struggles in a congregation and careerism at general chapters are attributable to impatience, the Pope said.
There must even be patience in the face of a lack of vocations, he added. Choosing to stop accepting members and to sell off the community's property is a sign that the congregation "is close to death" and has become attached to money, rather than having the patience to pray for new vocations.
This "art of dying well" – a congregation choosing not to pursue prospective vocations – is a "spiritual euthanasia" which "doesn't have the courage to follow the Lord … We follow [Jesus] to a certain point and by the first or second trial, goodbye."
The pope concluded by telling the consecrated men and women that they will surely be fruitful if they are prayerful, poor, and patient.
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