Madrid (Fides Service) – I64.966 Spanish religious in 7.526 communities belonging to 391 different congregations celebrated the 8th Day for the Consecrated Life with the motto “Seduced by Jesus for the Cause of Justice and Peace”. These figures, issued by the Conference of Religious in Spain (CONFER), concern only active or apostolic religious life in education, health care, social assistance, parish and vocation pastoral – not 13.000 missionaries, or 14.000 religious of enclosed orders or members of secular institutes.
Father Ignacio Zabala, CONFER President, said “the fruits of religious life in Spain, are not numeric because if growth in numbers was a guarantee of truth, today’s western society would be showing the value of agnosticism and the attitude of those who consider irrelevant the religious aspect, since the followers of this opinion are every more numerous”. Father Zabala continues: “The style of life and missionary commitment of religious life presume that the primary objective is not development of great centres of activity, the important thing is to live to the full our vocation and life style to be witness of Jesus obedient, poor and chaste”. In this vision he urged consecrated person not to give in to the temptation to want at all cost to maintain commitments taken: “Our missionary concern with regard to the future must not be to maintain the highest number of commitments but to fill with life and meaning what we do, in the awareness that society, every day, reveals new challenges to which we must respond”.
Referring to many Religious who work in the field of health care or to promote justice and peace, Father Zabala underlined: “if we fail to fill with life and contents these commitments and live them showing the Church and society the characteristics of our fundamental mission, our service be truly useful for humanity, but we will not be fulfilling our mission in the Church”. Then, according to Father Zabala, the fundamental characteristic of religious life “to bear witness that the world cannot be transfigured or offered to God with the spirit of the Beatitudes. ”.
The Day for Consecrated Life had its main event in Madrid with a solemn Mass at Almudena Cathedral, presided by Cardinal Antonio M. Rouco Varela, with the participation of numerous members of Institutes of Consecrated Life who renewed their religious vows. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 3/2/2004; lines 30 - words 417)