VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Institutes of consecrated life that give special importance to prayer and the radical nature of the Gospel continue to inspire vocations, says a Vatican official.
“The institutes of consecrated life that are most faithful to prayer, austerity, detachment from consumerism, attract many young people,” Archbishop Silvano Nesti, the secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told Vatican Radio.
“Many cloistered convents for nuns also attract young women who joyfully embrace this lifestyle,” he said today. His comments came on the occasion of the Day of Consecrated Life being observed by the Church.
While some religious congregations have seen their ranks drop steadily since the 1960s, other congregations have arisen and thrived.
According to Archbishop Nesti, religious by their lives are “a witness of the highest human and Christian values, through the practice of the evangelical counsels” — poverty, chastity and obedience — “and of a community life that welcomes brothers and sisters who joyfully live that charism, even if they come from other nations, cultures or ethnic groups.”
He noted that while the number of religious has decreased, that of consecrated lay people has increased.
“These persons wish to live their consecration to God in the world through the profession of the evangelical counsels in the context of temporal structures, in order to be leaven of wisdom and witness of grace within cultural, economic and political life,” the archbishop said.
“They seek,” he added, “to introduce in society the new energies of the Kingdom of Christ, trying to transfigure the world from within, with the force of the beatitudes.”