How does religious life fit into the renewed sense of mission in evangelization? Some reflections by the Aparecida bishops:
220. Today in Latin America and the Caribbean, consecrated life is called to be a discipleship life, fervent about Jesus-Way to the merciful Father, and hence deeply mystical and communitarian in nature.
Two aspects are discussed–a life of mission, and a life of service to the world:
It is called to be a missionary life, fervent about proclaiming Jesus-Word of the Father; and hence radically prophetic, capable of illuminating in the light of Christ the shadows of the contemporary world and the paths of new life, and hence what is required is a prophetic witness that yearns even to surrender one’s life in continuity with the tradition of holiness and martyrdom of so many religious men and women over the history of the continent. It must likewise be at the service of the world, fervent for Jesus–Life of the Father, who becomes present in the littlest ones and those who are least whom it wishes to serve from its own charism and spirituality.
Each of these considerations fit within communities that are monastic or in the world, or who find themselves somewhere along that axis of charism and service.
Some considerations from Pope John Paul II:
221. Latin America and the Caribbean especially need the contemplative life, as witness that only God is sufficient to ﬁll the sense of meaning and joy. In a world that is losing the sense of the divine to overvaluation of the materials, you dear sisters, committed from your cloisters in being witnesses of the values for which they live, are to be witnesses of the Lord to today’s world, and pour out with your prayer a new breath of life in the church and in people today. (John Paul II, Address to Cloistered Religious in Cathedral of Guadalajara, Mexico, January 30, 1979)
Cloisters offer much to our mission, as do religious who express their charisms in the world. I’d like to add that Pope Paul VI was also quite aware of the opportunities that await if those in consecrated life assisted in applying themselves to the effort in evangelization.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.