The Pope: “Being an Order means learning from each other”

To the Premonstratensian Canons Regular, on the occasion of the 9th centenary of the foundation of the Abbey of Prémontré
Photo: Vatican Media / ACI Group

This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Francis receives the Premonstratensian Canons Regular in audience, on the occasion of the IX Centenary of the foundation of the Abbey of Prémontré.

“Last year, in fact, you celebrated the 900 years of the first profession of St. Norbert and his first companions, in Prémontré, on Christmas day 1121. This event marked the birth of the Premonstratensian Order. After all the Canons. Regulars make profession in a specific Church, rooted in a specific place. “, The Pope recalls.

The presence of a community of sisters or brothers is like a shining beacon in the surrounding environment. Yet people also know that religious communities do not always fully respond to the life to which they are called. Concrete Christian experience is made up of good intentions and mistakes, it consists in starting over and over again. Not for nothing, in your canonical profession, you promise to lead a life of conversion and communion. Without conversion there is no communion. And precisely this starting over and converting to fraternity is a clear testimony of the Gospel, more than many sermons “, the Pope emphasized to those present.

The liturgy is at the center of the spirituality of the Canons Regular, and involves all the people of God. On the other hand, the prayer of the Church knows no boundaries. Fidelity to common prayer, which is the prayer of Christ, has in itself a great apostolic value. Helps to open hearts and minds to everyone; and this openness is expressed in the public and accessible character of the celebrations in your churches. Faithful and passers-by are welcome and are involved in the praying community “, says the Pontiff.

“The history of mission is a history of courage and self-denial, out of love. Little by little, the awareness grew that mission, in your Order, could involve the establishment of new stable communities in mission lands. And thus new monasteries. and abbeys arose in very different contexts from Europe – comments the Pope – Today, your historical foundations in Europe are invited to rethink their own history. To the extent that you relive, so to speak, your beginnings, you will be able to understand your fundamental inspiration. Let’s not forget: being an Order means learning from each other; it means that the federated communities, in their autonomy, must cultivate a fraternal interest for all the other communities “.

“The Canons Regular are missionaries because, by virtue of their charism, they always try to start from the Gospel and the concrete needs of the people. The people are not an abstraction. They are made up of people we know: communities, families, individuals with a face “, continues the Pope in his long speech to the Premonstratensian Canons Regular.

The economic activity of a religious community is aimed at the sustenance of its members, their formation and their apostolate. For many of you there is often a need to maintain and preserve a cultural and architectural heritage. Economic activity serves the mission and the realization of the charism: it is never an end in itself, but oriented towards a spiritual goal. It can never contradict the purpose it serves. This means that when you choose how to earn, you have to ask yourself: what is the impact on the people of the area? What will the consequences be for the poor, for our guests, for the visitors? Are our choices an expression of evangelical simplicity? Do they favor hospitality and fraternal life? “, The Pope warns.

“The idolatry of money. This takes us away from the true vocation. For this reason, we must always ask ourselves these questions, about the consequences. What will be the consequences for the poor, for our guests, for the visitors who see our economic activity?” , adds the Pope off the cuff.
“May the simplicity and poverty of Bethlehem inspire you with a sense of human brotherhood”, concludes the Pope.

The Pope: “Being an Order means learning from each other”