In the audience at the general chapter of the Theatine Clerics Regular, the Pope invites the religious founded by St. Cajetan Thiene to deepen their identity, communion and mission, avoiding any form of chatter: take care of each other in the footsteps of the founder, “without rigid schemes “And” with an apostolic heart “
Benedetta Capelli – Vatican City
It is a small leap into the past what the Pope does inaudience with the participants in the general chapter of the Theatine Clerics Regular, received this morning in the Vatican. He remembers the feast of San Cayetano which occurs on 7 August and which in Buenos Aires, the city in which the founder of the Theatines is much loved, sees a great participation. “People – he explains – worship him and pray to him as the patron of bread and work“. A memory that is intertwined with the reflection on the theme of the general chapter focused on the mission and on the actualization of the Theatine charism to respond to the challenges of this time. (Listen to the report with the Pope’s voice)
Francis recalls the work of St. Cajetan and his companions, “an apostolic priestly fraternity” rooted in spiritual life and concrete charity, which “made that Church grow field hospital which is needed even today “.
I encourage you to move forward in their footsteps, with docility to the Spirit, without rigid schemes, – another thing, be careful with rigidity because rigidity is a perversion that comes precisely from clericalism, it is another bad thing and under any rigidity there is rot, always -, without rigid schemes but firm in essential things: prayer, adoration, common life, fraternal charity, poverty and service to the poor. All this with an apostolic heart, with the good, evangelical desire to seek first of all the Kingdom of God.
The worm of chatter
In his indications, the pope off the cuff suggests the strength of a religious community: frankness and care. “Brothers – he affirms – the greatest plague in a religious congregation, in a religious community, when the friars do not take care of each other, indeed when the chatter begins”.
Be consecrated men, men of the Gospel, but men. If you have something against the other, have the “pants” to tell him this to his face, tell him things to his face or keep quiet. Or that other criterion, tell it to those who can remedy, that is, the superiors. But don’t make small groups, because this is the spirituality of the “woodworm”, which makes the strength of a religious community fall. No chatter please.
Each saint is a mission
“A qualitative leap”, “a vocation within a vocation” or “a second conversion” is the aspect that the Pope invites us to look at in the life of Saint Cajetan and in that of other saints. It is the passage to a full life, that “more” that comes from the Holy Spirit.
This qualitative leap is what makes not only the personal life of that man or woman grow, but also the life of the Church. It is what, in a certain sense, “reforms” her, purifying her and bringing out her evangelical beauty.
The Pope’s call is to give witness to this “living Gospel” because life is a journey towards holiness. “San Gaetano Thiene also shows us that ‘every saint is a mission’. Every saint and saint is a plan of the Father to reflect and incarnate, in a specific moment of history, an aspect of the Gospel ”. Each saint therefore embodies “a method” for translating the spiritual dynamism of the Gospel itself into the reality in which he lives.
Start with yourself
The reform, the Pope adds, “must begin with oneself”, is the first point to define identity, one of the three key words that Francis suggests in his reflection. Looking at the life of Saint Cajetan, he recalls the work in the papal curia, the spiritual degradation which, for the Pope, has its roots in worldliness, but also the commitment in the oratory of Divine Love and assistance to the sick: a testimony of life full.
This is the way: to begin with oneself to live the Gospel more deeply and coherently. All the saints show us this way. They are the true reformers of the Church. Or rather: it is the Holy Spirit who forms and reforms the Church, and does so through the Word of God and through the saints, who put the Word into practice in their lives.
Communion and mission
Communion is the other direction. The Spirit calls to community, it is a Christian life made up of many daily gestures, a place “to keep the small details of love, where – we read in the apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate that the Pope exhorts to take back in hand – the members take care of each other and constitute an open and evangelizing space, it is the place of the presence of the Risen One who sanctifies it according to the Father’s plan ”. Finally, the Pope speaks of the mission underlining the contribution of St. Cajetan in evangelizing Rome, Venice, Naples, “through the witness of life and the works of mercy, practicing the great ‘protocol’ that Jesus left us with the parable of judgment final, Matthew 25 “.
The audience in the Vatican at the General Chapter of the Theatine Clerics Regular