VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Pope's Message to Fr. Camilo Maccise, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, on the occasion of their 89th general ordinary chapter, was made public. The meeting is being celebrated from April 28 to May 18 in Avila, Spain.
In the Message, written in Spanish and dated April 21, John Paul II writes that the chapter's theme, 'On Our Way with St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross: Come Back to the Basics', underscores the order's firm will to remain faithful to the charism that, inspired by the Spirit in a determined historical and ecclesial context, has developed throughout the centuries and is destined to produce also today the fruits of sanctity in the Church' 'for the common good', responding to the challenges of the third millennium."
"I also repeat to you, as I have to other religious," he continues, "that you 'do not only have a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history to create.' For this reason, it is necessary to make an effort to overcome every obstacle to the growth of the charism. The best service that one can provide to the gift received is the purification of the heart through worthy fruits of conversion."
The Holy Father emphasized that "in order to respond to the challenges of our times, the Church stresses the 'permanent task of examining in depth the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel'."
Following the example of their founders and foundresses, the Pope adds, you must "start with Christ and His Gospel" according to the specific charism. In addition, "we must preserve His experience, and at the same time, "go deeper in it and develop it with the same openness and docility to the action of the Holy Spirit, in this way the fidelity and original experience is safeguarded as well as the way of responding appropriately to the changing demands of each moment in history."
After pointing out that "humanity is thirsty for genuine witnesses of Christ," the Pope concludes by saying: "In order to be a witness, it is necessary to proceed toward sanctity, which has already flourished abundantly in your religious family. I think about all the saints formed by the Carmelites, and especially in the inestimable heritage that St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross have left to your order and to the whole Church. 'Aspire to sanctity: this is, in short, the program of all consecrated life.'"
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