Pope Francis met with thousands of seminarians and novices who came to Rome for a four day event on the Year of Faith. During his speech, the Pope was very direct. He reminded the group that following God’s call isn’t a temporary or part time option. This, despite the temptations of the modern world.
“Becoming a priest, religious or nun, isn’t about a choice we make entirely ourselves. I don’t trust a seminarian, or a novice, who says ‘I chose this path.’ I don’t like this! It’s not right. Our answer is triggered by a call to love. It’s something you feel inside. Something that’s unsettling. To this, you respond, ‘Yes.’
More than 6,000 seminarians and novices, took part in the gathering. The Pope also reminded them, that following God’s path, isn’t about material riches, but inner graces.
“When you see a seminarian, a priest, a nun, a novice that’s sad and with a long face, it seems like their life has been shut off by a heavy cover. This makes you stop along your tracks. It brings you down. Something is wrong! But please… a sister, a priest with a sour face. Never! True joy comes from Jesus!”
There will be challenging times ahead, said the Pope, but it’s then that they must look deep inside and transmit the joy that comes with proclaiming the Gospel. He also told them, they shouldn’t give into a culture of gossip. Even the Pope said, there was a time, when he gave into it.
“It’s common: Jealousy, envy, gossiping about one another. It’s not just about criticizing one’s superior-that’s already a classic. This is so, so common. Even I feel into this trap. I took part in it, so many times. I’m ashed to say it. I’m ashamed! It’s not right.”
So the answer lies in building a fraternity. Reflecting on a Bible passage, the Pope said that even though one may have just one, or two, true friends, they are called to build a fraternity with all.