Francis offered some words of encouragement and hope to all the members of the Order and suggested three elements that may guide them “in the full realisation” of their vocation: “allegiance to Christ, prayer and mission”.
The Pope said that in a world that often misinterprets Christ and indeed rejects Him, they are invited to draw nearer to and unite more closely with Him. “It is a continuous call to follow Christ and to abide by him. This is of vital importance in our disorientated world, 'for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim'”.
Speaking of prayer, the Pope emphasised that a Carmelite without a contemplative life was like a dead body. “Now more than ever is the moment to rediscover the inner pathway of love through prayer, and to offer to the people of today in the witness of contemplation, as through preaching and mission, not easy solutions, but the wisdom that emerges from meditating “day and night the Law of the Lord”, the Word that always leads to the glorious Cross of Christ. And, united with contemplation, austerity in life, which is not a secondary aspect of your life and your witness”. Likewise the Pontiff mentioned that there is a strong temptation to fall into the trap of spiritual worldliness, and he encouraged them to aspire to a more austere and penitent life, according to the authentic ancient Carmelite tradition.
“Yours is the same mission as that of Jesus”, he continued. “Today, the mission poses sometimes arduous challenges, as the evangelical mission is not always welcomed and indeed is at times rejected with violence. We must not forget that, even if we are thrown into murky and uncharted waters, He Who calls us to His mission also gives us the courage and the strength to carry it out”.
Finally, Francis remarked, “The witness of your love and your hope, rooted in profound friendship with living God, is like a 'gentle breeze' that renews and reinvigorates your ecclesial mission in today's world”.