Pope Francis preached yesterday, “We do well to take up the dreams of our elders, so that we can prophesy in our day and once more encounter what originally set our hearts afire. Dreams and prophecies together. The remembrance of how our elders, our fathers and mothers, dreamed, and the courage prophetically to carry on those dreams.
This attitude will make our consecrated life more fruitful. Most importantly, it will protect us from a temptation that can make our consecrated life barren: the temptation of survival. An evil that can gradually take root within us and within our communities. The mentality of survival makes us reactionaries, fearful, slowly and silently shutting ourselves up in our houses and in our own preconceived notions. It makes us look back, to the glory days – days that are past – and rather than rekindling the prophetic creativity born of our founders’ dreams, it looks for shortcuts in order to evade the challenges knocking on our doors today. A survival mentality robs our charisms of power, because it leads us to “domesticate” them, to make them “user-friendly”, robbing them of their original creative force. It makes us want to protect spaces, buildings and structures, rather than to encourage new initiatives. The temptation of survival makes us forget grace; it turns us into professionals of the sacred but not fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters of that hope to which we are called to bear prophetic witness. An environment of survival withers the hearts of our elderly, taking away their ability to dream. In this way, it cripples the prophecy that our young are called to proclaim and work to achieve. In a word, the temptation of survival turns what the Lord presents as an opportunity for mission into something dangerous, threatening, potentially disastrous. This attitude is not limited to the consecrated life, but we in particular are urged not to fall into it.”
The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church in new direction. The Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church. In the Act of the Apostles right after Pentecost Peter tells the crowd “And I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughter shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” As Pope Francis said “The mentality of survival makes us reactionaries, fearful, slowly and silently shutting ourselves up in our houses and in our own preconceived notions. It makes us look back, to the glory days – days that are past and rather than rekindling the prophetic creativity born of our founders’ dreams”
The Glory Days are not behind us. The Glory days are ahead of us if only we trust in the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us forever young and new. When the Holy Spirit is present an old man or woman can have the heart and imagination of a child. In contrast, a young man or woman can be old and harden in their heart. Pope John XXIII despite being an old man had the heart and mind of a young man. The Holy Spirit made him perpetually young.
Come Holy Spirit and help us to be young again. As Jesus said in the Scripture “Unless you are born of water and the spirit you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.