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New Perspectives on Religious Life in modern times.


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Title: New Perspectives on Religious Life in modern times.

New Perspectives on Religious Life in modern
  • Prepared M. McGuire 2007
  • Resource J. Libano

Latin-American PerspectiveThe Impact of
Socio-cultural and Religious Reality on
consecrated life J.B Libano
  • Religious Life is understood as having three
    structural elements,
  • a founding experience of God,
  • community life and
  • mission, and
  • not as based on the vows to a great extent.
  • The latter are understood in relation to these
    three elements.

  • Other types of Religious Life are being born,
    displacing the emphases and configuring new
    experience, especially on the community level.  
  • the post-modern mentality, which demonstrates an
    ardent thirst for the sacred along with an
    invasive secularization,
  • the allure of the Transcendent along with sexual
  • a thirst for love and intimacy along with an
    uncontrolled disorder in the affective life.

  • Consistent cultural change is not possible
    without radical economic and political
    transformation. However, the principle role of
    Religious Life rests in the cultural, with an eye
    turned to the economic as the major factor.
  • We have no need of Marxism to affirm this we
    need only to look at the role of the economic
    dimension in institutions, even religious ones,
    to see that the aberrations produced by the
    economic are in flagrant contradiction to the
    guiding ethical principals.

Forms of Religious Life Latin America and Europe.
  • The religious stage of Latin America is a
    dominant syncretism, a fundamental religiosity
    that is becoming fragmented and individualized,
    and a growing number of religious agencies
    involved in service.
  • religion in Europe seems to be subject to a
    virulent process of secularization, despite also
    suffering from the revenge of the sacred and
    the presence of the sacred savage.

An approach at leading to discernment of the real
in its ambiguity, its perplexity and its paradox.
  • four indicative verbs
  • to welcome,
  • to let oneself be transformed,
  • to begin a new praxis and
  • to celebrate.
  • It is being attentive to the new that is already
    coming forth as a gift from God, to that which
    will spring forth in the continuing present or in
    the unforeseen.

  Aspects of the Contemporary World
  • 1. Fear of freedom and of responsibility
  • 2. Loss of historical and ethical consciousness
  • 3. The neo-liberal and media context
  • 4. Confusion between vocation and career

  • 5. The fallibility of institutions the loss of
    the source of security
  • 6. Fluid post-modernity in Religious Life
  • 7. The Return of the External
  • 8. The Problem with vocations

1. Fear of freedom and of responsibility
  • Fundamental freedom, or the theological one,
    because it is interpreted in the light of
    revelation, refers to the essence of the self.
    This freedom encounters its most important,
    profound and radical moment when the self is put
    before God and must make the profound choice to
    accept him or to reject him

  • Since such an act determines us for all eternity,
    we hold such a freedom with great dread. It is
    this freedom that is the fundamental question of
    Religious Life E. Fromm, O medo a liberdade,
    Rio de Janeiro, Zahar, 1960.
  • The fear of taking this freedom into our own
    hands makes it difficult to take on Religious
    Life and its definitiveness with seriousness,
    because it involves human beings in their
    totality, for life and for death

  • In a culture of the provisional and the
    throwaway, freedom, lived in its fullest sense as
    the giving of oneself to the Transcendent,
    terrorizes because of its definitive nature
  • a freedom that is not realized in the world of
    things, but rather lies in confronting other
    freedoms that express and make concrete for us
    the freedom of the God who calls.

Search for Freedom
  • two fundamental perspectives in understanding
    freedom conquest and gift.
  • Psychoanalysis leads the fight for freedom for
    the unconscious. In this perspective, formation
    for freedom becomes an incessant struggle against
    forces that block freedom in and of itself
  • all human freedom struggles with internal and
    external adversaries, and religious life is not
    exempt from such a situation.

  • From a theological perspective, freedom is seen
    as a gift in the double order of creation and
  • God creates a free human being and sustains his
    existence as freedom before Him. It is a freedom
    wounded by sin, but not wholly destroyed.
  • It is liberated by the victorious grace of
    Christ. Pauline theology also confirms this.
  • K. Rahner, Teologia da Liberdade, Caxias do Sul,
    Paulinas, 1970.

  • Freedom seen as grace brings to formation, the
    call to bring forth an attitude of gratitude and
    of responsibility.
  • It removes the bitterness of belligerent claims
    and postures of independence and total autonomy,
    and it situates formation in the path of
    fundamental relationship with God and with other
    freedoms, which are also gifts.

Loss of historical and ethical consciousness
  • The past is fading away, the future becomes more
    obscure, and the present remains without a
  • The major factor at play here in this loss of
    awareness is information technology, transmitting
    data without context, orientation, without
    causality or end, totally immediate and
    continually on line.

  • There is no tomorrow nor is there an accounting
  • Various terms describe this situation the end of
    history and meta-narratives, the end of utopia,
    the deconstruction of history, and others. F.
    Fukuyama, O fim da história e o último Homem,
    Riode Janeiro, Rocco, 1992.
  • Religious Life is also submerged in this wave.

Superficiality prevents taking on definitive
  • With the end of history, responsibility
    disappears as do ethics in their unconditional
  • No one commits himself definitively to anything
    or to anyone.
  • Each decision is a current one and can be revoked
    for another equally present

Search for Answers
  • Develop critical thinking and reflection
  • developing in people a capacity for judging and
    appreciating their own experience, thinking,
    action and situation,
  • becoming aware of themselves in given contexts.
    There are three fundamental aspects to the
    formation of a critical consciousness awareness
    of situation, possible (feasible) consciousness,
    and awareness of the myths of the moment

  • the double risk, however, of creating relativism
    and historicity. Relativism destroys any
    possibility of building something consistent,
    given that all projects for social
    transformation are equally valid or equally
  • historicity that imagines history as a linear
    development, judging all eras and cultural
    stages, especially in peripheral countries, from
    the point of view of the development of the major

  • see themselves as the linear model of development
    and determine the stages to be covered by those
    who come after, the way of growth of human beings
  • never understand or imagine that a peripheral
    region could be much more developed in some
    aspect than a developed country.

The neo-liberal and media context
  • The strong impact of the media is dismantling
    universal and fixed points of reference, while
    multiplying the models and views of life.
    Propaganda bombards our motivations, creating a
    logic of stimulus-seeking, going well beyond the
    simple rules of capitalist supply and demand

  • the supreme values are becoming devalued the
    question what for lacks an answer and finality.
    Nihilism is precisely atheism, not as attitude,
    but as spirit
  • Neo-liberal ideology, sustained by the media
    culture, spreads values of healthy, a cult of
    beauty and the body and the decisive factor of
    appearance, a reign of the physical and of

  • In creating virtual identities, it leads to
    confusion between the real and the virtual. More
    serious still is that emotional communities of
    egocentric and needy identities are formed, with
    a clear loss of the social dimension L. W.
    Storch J. R. Cozac, Relações virtuais o lado
    humano da comunicação eletrônica, Petrópolis
    Vozes, 1995.
  • context favors the creation of narcissistic
    identities, preferably directed to the
    cultivation of the self and of ones appearance
    and towards groups that reinforce this
    existential dimension. All of this feeds upon the
    media for sustenance.

  • In psycho-cultural terms, globalization
    depersonalizes, uproots, and causes people to
    desist, especially the poor and more simple, who
    have fewer possibilities for reacting and
    resisting. It also provokes in many places,
    reactions leading to racism, xenophobia,
    nationalism and the formation of castes

  • Globalization can be interpreted through the
    metaphor of the Tower of Babel. An attentive
    reading of this text shows that the confusion of
    tongues is the work of God, and the desire for
    one language, of one speech, creating unity and
    uniformity outside, for the empire, and for the
    dominating force, is the product of human hubris.
  • Globalization is the work of the power and the
    enforcement of the lords of the world who want to
    erect a great tower, and from its top, impose one
    language for the market. God comes and creates
    the confusion of the poor and of the peripheries,
    who do not accept such domination. God is the
    confusion of unifying power.

  • God comes and creates the confusion of the poor
    and of the peripheries, who do not accept such
    domination. God is the confusion of unifying
  • Putting the two metaphors together, globalization
    appears as an imposition that the Spirit of God
    destroys through a confusion of reactions
    (Babel), and through the different ways of
    receiving it (Pentecost).
  • Uniformity comes from outside, the interpretive
    discernment from within, from experience, from
    freedom, from awareness
  • Practice-enculturation

Confusion between vocation and career
  • A career means competence, efficiency,
    productivity, and social recognition. The
    religious requires and is involved with
    preparation for the exercising of it.
  • A profession does not allow for failure. This
    ends when a person becomes incapable of
    exercising his profession due to age, illness or
    retirement. Time rules, and all are subject to
    external factors.

Vocation - Motivation comes from within
  • Vocation exists in a world of gratuitousness.
  • The more is revealed in whatever activity the
    person engages in. In the most adverse
    situations, such as illness and old age, vocation
    persists, even if it is only in prayer and in the
    giving of ones life. It is characterized by its
    perennial nature, specific to giving oneself to

In Theological Perspective
  • God in the vocation belongs first to the charism
    rather than to the institution. It finds its
    ultimate source in the call of secular life as
    well as the religious.
  • The religious enters into a commotion of courses
    and degrees in order to acquire always more
    credibility in society and thus obtain success
    and remuneration.
  • -somewhat as if in a career!!!!

Vocation and career!
  • not two separate entities, but two different
    dimensions of human activity with specific
  • The identity of the religious relies on an
    appropriate relationship between the two and is
    threatened when a career overwhelms ones

Vocation is primordial
  • It gives meaning and motivation to ones work and
    not vice-versa. Religious life sees professional
    competence coming from and as a function of
    vocation and not as an autonomous reality.
  • Society today values career in such a way that it
    becomes the criterion for assessing the vocation.
    Crises continually flow from this.

Crisis and Tension!
  • The formative path seems to be the inverse to
    look at a career in terms of vocation according
    to the Ignatian criterion of tantum quantum. The
    more the career the more help it is to vocation
    and to mission

  • solution lies in the theological understanding of
    vocation as being a call from God, giving meaning
    to a profession.
  • The latter enters into Religious life as the
    concrete expression of a greater vocation, a gift
    from God. There is no purely secular career in
    religious life.

The fallibility of institutions the loss of the
source of security
  • the Church itself recognizes its fragility- not
    from attacks by enemies.
  • In Vat 11, the church is seen before the sanctity
    of Christ, called itself holy, but also sinful,
    needing purification and unceasingly seeking
    penance and renewal
  • Although she is holy because of her
    incorporation into Christ, the Church does not
    tire of doing penance before God and man she
    always acknowledges as her own her sinful sons
    and daughters.

Loss of Security about Church!
  • This an act of greatness of spirit, on the other
    hand, it produced some insecurity. If it erred
    gravely in the past, could the Church err the
    same way in the present?
  • Crisis of trust exists about all institutions.

  • Formation to achieve sentire in et cum Ecclesia
    is difficult.
  • This, not only expresses a favorable feeling
    towards the Church, but also thinking with and an
    interior communion with the Church, with ones
    head and heart.

  • We are touching here upon the essence of the
    problem of grace made flesh. If in the time of
    Jesus, his flesh was scandal for many who could
    not go beyond it and recognize in him the
    Messiah, the One Sent by God, today the Church is
    the source of the same scandal.

Modern Challenge!
  • Believing in the saving sacramentality of the
    Church in a cultural moment when its fragility,
    its sinful condition, is exposed to the maximum
    implies a deep dimension of faith.
  • Mistrust, suspicion and especially parallel
    behaviors are becoming very common in the Church
    itself, not to speak of Religious Life.

  • It is time to look at the relationship between
    the Church and the Kingdom of God from the
    perspective of the parables of the Kingdom.
  • The metaphors of the yeast, of grain and of the
    hidden pearl allow one to capture the dimension
    of the inner mystery of the Church, in spite of
    all the difficulties that come from the outside.
  • Only a mystical experience of love makes such a
    reading possible, leading one to avoid the two
    extremes of iconoclastic rebelliousness and of
    obsequious subservience.

Fluid Modernity and Religious Life.
  • Centering on the individual as the axis of the
    source of values in contemporary society
    necessarily leads to relative values and
    traditions, and an accentuation of schools of
    experience without absolute criteria, stressing
    the flexible, the spontaneous and carpe diem.

  • A painful fragmentation is pervading culture and
  • Intellectual, spiritual, cultural, professional,
    leisure and pleasure activities and idleness are
    experienced alone and in disassociation.

Fluidity of Modern Trends!
  • Psychoanalysis itself favors a fragmentation of
    identity, upon looking at the conscious (ego) and
    unconscious (id, superego) psychic structures of
    the individual.
  • People confuse their self-images, now seeking
    anonymity, now fleeing from stable relationships,
    now taking great pride in appearance, and now
    hiding themselves in virtual relationships.

  • Living in a culture marked by hedonism, by
    immediate consumerism, by the preferential option
    for pleasure, sport and amusement, for the
    high-speed information media on the one hand, and
    on the other, marked by an enormous psychic
  • there is great difficulty in working out
    frustration, anguish, expectation and difficulty
    in assuming a posture regarding macro-politics.
    Small short term transformations and small
    projects are preferred.

The Third Man concept!
  • With regard to Religious Life, a distancing of
    the new generation of religious with regard to
    the social body of the Congregation is occurring.
  • . The third man is entering Religious Life. He
    knows the rules and doesnt object, but follows
    them as he wills.

There is a real schism
  • There is a language for the external public, for
    superiors, colleagues and social expectations,
    and another real, internal, experiential language
    for the conscious realm. Not all of this is
  • formators have doubts about the expressed
    motivation of those in formation, in terms of
    giving themselves to the poor like Jesus

Formation Dilemma!
  • They doubt their desires to be humanitarian, and
    their search for God. They do not trust the deep
    silenced conscious and unconscious motivation
  • revolving around self-promotion,
    self-recognition, and the veiling of
    affective-sexual problems.

Spiritual Traits in Modern Youth-People!
  • Religiosity and spirituality are a whole other
    quantity in post-modernity. Its most significant
    expression is called New Age.
  • characterized by an enormous syncretism and by
    freedom, plurality, subjectivism and religious
    forms becoming autonomous, with minimal or no
    links to institutions or formal religions.

New Age elements!
  • Having a post-traditional view of God, of Jesus,
    of salvation, of religion/institutional Church,
    with a new religious awareness, tending towards
    Gnostic monism, esoteric mysticism, humanistic
    psychologizing, sacred holism, deep ecologic
    preoccupations, diffuse cosmic energy and so many
    other isms.

  • There is a passage from hard faith to soft
    spirituality and religiosity.
  • In a word, personal views of God are being
    fragmented, and these go as far as returning to
    the gods and a fluid understanding of the divine
    as energy, as adjective rather than noun, and
    even up to the death of God.

  • the post-modern religious climate is invading all
    the spheres and styles of life by means of a
    diffuse de-institutionalized, anarchic, drifting,
    consoling spirituality that performs, that is
    closer to new age on the one hand, and on the
    other hand, closer to fundamentalism, offering
    speeches and practices that reach the sacred,
    guarantee salvation, and testify to miracles and
    divine blessings
  • Both types offer consolation and identity to the

Some Authentic Aspects!
  • There are authentic initiatives in this climate,
    like the Spiritual Exercises in daily life,
    providing a contribution for deepening spiritual
    experience. Such practices have been led by
    religious and lay persons, directed toward
    faithful Christians, including the lower
    socio-economic classes.

  • Reading of Scripture has taken on two very
    different forms in this movement. In some cases,
    there is a seeking of a solution to personal
    problems that is almost magical by means of an
    uncertain subjective reading of Scripture. In
    others, it nourishes the life of religious and
    popular communities through Bible-reading groups

Search for Answers!
  • rediscovers the founding experience of God, the
    true mystagogy, introducing religious to the
    Sacred Mystery.
  • an absolutely incontrovertible element for a
    Religious Life that wants to go beyond emotional
    fervor and charismatic outpourings.

Positive Steps!
  • A prayerful reading of Scripture leads to true
    faith, according to the classic theological
    adage lex orandi est lex credendi.
  • Besides articulating faith and Scripture, prayer
    and faith, contemplation should resonate
    intimately with action and vice-versa in actione

Post-Modernity suffers from
  • thirst for love and an affective disorder.
  • We Need the dialectic of love and setting up
    pedagogy for it.
  • Instead of seeking self-realization through the
    other, we find in the other the realization of
    oneself. This is the profound paschal Christian
    dialectic, that we only find life and our true
    selves when we lose it, by going out of ourselves
    and giving ourselves to others

Pedagogical Principle in this
  • An interplay between motivation and support
  • Trusting intentions and desires of persons a
    great deal is not fruitful, since these are
    already imbued with this culture and do not
    endure. Situated as they are in time and space,
    such motivations lack objective reality providing
  • Guide what is not in the schedule does not exist!

dose of existential realism required by human
  • How to promote in the eyes of young people that
    discipline and schedules are a school of life, a
    condition of all normal human beings, which bring
    us realistically closer to the life of other
  • Motivation, interior energy and utopian energy
    drive the motor, and the concrete, historical,
    and practical interventions make the path to this

Ways Forward
  • guide such a seeking of the external through a
    deep spiritual experience of God, cultivating it
    through prayer, through the practice of faith,
    hope and charity.
  • Requiring a minimal attention to silence, without
    encountering ones one inner self.
  • Pedagogy of solitude exists a withdrawing in
    order to be sent, a renewal of the spirit in the
    face of the Mystery of God.

Before the Living God!
  • ultimate need of human nature, realization of the
    self through contact with mystery. Only in this
    does one find meaning for life with its suffering
    and failures.

the experience of mystery
  • The only really absolute mysteries are the
    self-communication of God in the depths of
    existence, called grace, and in history, called
    Jesus Christ, and this already includes the
    mystery of the Trinity in the economy of
    salvation and of the immanent Trinity.
  • And this one mystery can be brought close to man
    if he understands himself as oriented towards the
    mystery which we call God. (K. Rahner).

infinite and absolute God who is in relationship
with us, drawing us out of narcissism as well as
the external superficiality
  • God has reality incline towards Him. Man is the
    capacity of accepting or repelling God this is
    his mystery.
  • human being is structurally correlative to the
    mystery, is mystery because in his nature he is
    an intimation of the Mystery

erosion of traditional Religious Life
  • increasing distance between the tenor of the life
    of religious and that of simple, poor persons
    the loss of the life-blood of contemplation in
    favor of routine spiritual practices or in favor
    of external charismatic fervors of disincarnated

  • uncontrolled purely secular activism the
    weakening of the idea of God the dualism of
    prayer life and apostolic activity the gigantic
    weight of works that foil missionary creativity
    the aging of members without an accompanying
    influx of new generations
  • answer comes from the Spirit that gives rise to a
    wonderful budding in the old wood of traditional
    Religious Life

  • Using the same metaphors of Babel and of
    Pentecost that helped us understand
  • Only one speech prevailed in classical Religious
    Life, a single canonical language that imposed
    itself in its monotonous uniformity, and it was
    thus that God comes to sow confusion among the
    tower builders.
  • We are before a proliferation of new religious
    forms. This does not mean that all the effects of
    confusion, caused by God are desired by Him. But
    they have to do with his initiative, if we
    understand the Babel passage.

Unity is built from the inside and not from the
outside, as happens with canonical and
legislative leveling.
  • new forms reveal the freedom of the Spirit.
    Cardinal Ratzinger considers as marvelous, the
    energy and enthusiasm with which the new
    ecclesial movements live faith and feel the need
    to share with others the joy of this faith
    received as a gift.

New Movements in the Church!
  • These movements are characterized by their birth
    through a charismatic leader, being shaped into
    real communities, trying to live the Gospel in
    its moral integrity and exigencies, and
    recognizing in the Church the reason for living
    without which they would not exist.

new expressions of Religious Life coming forth
from such movements.
  • They enter into the apostolic mission of the
    Church in a spirit of social service, based on a
    personal encounter with the Lord, nourished by a
    faith rooted in the Church
  • The Christological, pneumatological, ecclesial
    and existential dimensions of a personal
    following of Christ and an experience of the
    Spirit in the Church are all here.

  • The pedagogy of dislocation, of disruption,
    relates to an ancient dimension and a
    contemporary one.
  • The Gospels and Saint Paul stress that following
    Jesus means a disruption, due to embracing the
    Christian faith.
  • Sin, blindness and the old man come before taking
    on the newness of grace and of light and the new
    man. This is part of the old and most genuine
    Christian traditions

conversion movements- to recover sense of sin and
  • They have returned to harping on sin, especially
    in the area of sexuality, bringing about a new
    type of guilt and feelings of anguish.
  • To be free from such a situation, they propose
    the path of conversion, especially by joining and
    participating in these movements.

  • Joined to this experience of dislocation is a
    pedagogy of early childhood education that
    produces strong feelings of belonging and
    identity in the members. They feel they are in a
    family, while living in a fragmented society
    characterized by painful anonymity.
  • Religious Life fills an existential vacuum,
    giving the sensation of having something precious
    and worth celebrating. This reminds us of the
    metaphors Jesus used to describe the reality of
    the Kingdom of God the yeast, the grain, the
    pearl, the banquet and the wedding.

a collaboration needed on three levels is
necessary, the levels of the experience of God,
of community life and of apostolic mission
  • We are moving toward an every more pluralistic
    Church, and Religious Life will have a role to
    play in this pluralism. Both forms can and should
    mutually nourish each other

A recourse for Religious Life is to create a
sacramental model
  • Dilemma a) the ecclesiological tradition of
    Trent and Vatican I, which strongly accentuated
    the external elements of belonging to the Church.
  • b) the tradition of the Reformation that stressed
    the opposite pole
  • the Council found in the category sacramentum a
    bridge between the two traditions

  • The external dimension of the Catholic tradition
    is maintained. There is no sacrament without
    visible sign.
  • But the invisible side of interior grace
    communicated and received is also present,
    accentuated more in the evangelical pouring out.

  • The fundamental question with regard to this
    model is to ask about the meaning, significance
    and inner reality of the rules, regulation,
    signs, symbols and the practices of Religious
  • If they do not promote any personal experience,
    spiritual or inner, they have no reason for being
  • if the inner does not become external in some
    form or practice, one can fear Religious Life
    becoming pure arbitrary subjectivity.

This sacramental structure becomes a criterion
for discernment
  • Religious Life withdraws from pure interiority,
    affirming the incarnation of grace, as well as
    rejecting pharisaism, legalism, and the
    externalization of religious rites without a
    corresponding inner experience

  • The sacramental model, however, tries to
    articulate internal convictions, the conversion
    of the heart, and the conscious commitment to
    address social and external needs, as consecrated
    life within a social body

modernity and post-modernity that values the
inner person and his autonomy.
  • Capitulation here runs the risk of degenerating
    into subjectivism and arbitrariness.
  • Being committed to strengthening the external
    signs of Religious Life, much to the liking of an
    insecure generation, formed through the media
    culture of appearance, can have an immediate
    success, fascinating and ecstatic.

the sacramental model seems to be the path to
  • Mere Externalism does not respond, however, to
    the deepest part of Religious Life and is a
    dangerous disfigurement of that life.
  • What is at stake in SACRAMENTAL MODEL is the
    Christian mystique of a passionate following of
    the person of Jesus and his style of life as an
    option for life, and a founding experience of
    Religious Life

Kingdom of God Reality!
  • The Kingdom of God figures centrally in the life
    of Jesus and of God of the Kingdom. In this we
    find the unique and singular role of the poor,
    the excluded, and the sinner as the prime
    receivers of the Kingdom and the preferred loved
    ones of God. In following Jesus, the religious
    meets once again the figure of the poor in all
    its clarity and exigency

  • Jesus Christ is the door to the experience of
    God, in which there is no separation between God
    and the world of ones brothers and sisters.
  • The evangelical model of living Religious Life
    necessarily involves this openness to the poor,
    thus becoming significant for the religious and
    for those outside this form of life.
  • any re-founding, renewal or reinvigoration of
    Religious Life must go through relationship with
    the poor. The option for the poor is the greatest
    sign of the credibility of Religious Life

New Situation of Religious Life.
  • A number of factors, from the dearth of new
    members to the rapid aging of persons, along with
    the weight of apostolic work and a new theology
    of laity, have moved Religious Life to a new and
    promising relationship with lay persons.

new social movements
  • What will be the participation of Religious Life
    with regard to ecological movements, pacifist,
    anti-armament activities, to questions of
    ethnicity, gender, the defense of human rights,
    the struggle for land for indigenous peoples and
    the landless and homeless, the state-less, in
    other words, with regard to an innumerable number
    of movements?

in a growing post-modernity
  • Nothing seems to mobilize people. All energy is
    expended in the carpe diem, seeking the
    enjoyment of the present moment. In all of this,
    people are enclosed in a sad narcissism and
  • They cannot bear the mystery of the self, the
    loneliness in the affective life, failure or any
    suffering. The body receives the care and
    attention once devoted to the spirit

  • The young are extremely sensitive to the double
    cult of an induced happiness and the well-muscled
    body. Religious Life wants to find followers
    among them, if it wants to continue.
  • The first message to give them is one of hope.
    Spes contra spem, hoping against all hope. The
    cheerfulness of the religious, his enthusiasm for
    his life, and his joyful going forth into mission
    spread hope among young people who are
    prematurely aging. Life is losing meaning

  • The relationships that youth establishes wither,
    and where there was the newness of love, there
    seems to be only the enjoyment of the body of the
    other. They learn a great deal about sex and
    forget love. Religious can show a new form of
  • A mature balance in relationships will continue
    to be an ongoing challenge, especially in the
    young generations with their open affective
    natures and in the flower of their youth

Hope and love are two important realities for
Human Existence.
  • All the works of the Church are about the Faith,
    Hope and Love, to be instilled in the hearts of
    men. (Rahner).
  • The Church seeks the heart of men, the
    believing, hoping and loving heart that yields to
    the mystery of God.
  • The agape dimension of Religious Life is its
    greatest sign of credibility

Only love is worthy of faith
  • The rejuvenation of Religious Life will depend on
    the signs of love it can radiate inwardly and
  • The spirit of service and of poverty is closely
    linked to gratuitousness. Both of theseservice
    and povertyoffers a new way of recovering the
    professional and vocational relationship. The
    spirit of service is a quality that any
    professional work or activity of a religious
    should display. It is the vocation that provides
    the elements of grace and spiritual beauty to the

I believe because I pray (Rahner)
  • we are religious because we pray. The experience
    of prayer nourishes Religious Life, without it,
    the spring goes dry.

The Problem with vocations
  • The new movements have created an interesting
    strategy in terms of concentric circles.
  • dividing the young people according to different
    levels of participation, formation and needs, and
    to work on these.
  • There is a smaller circle that assumes a
    full-time religious life in a consecrated form,
    establishing close juridical links with the
    religious Institute.

  • we have a larger circle of those participating in
    the movement. They are attracted to it, without
    having institutional links. Here there are
    various degrees of greater or lesser closeness.
  • There are those who maintain contact by letter or
    through contributions, who receive the
    newsletter, and those who are at a greater
    distance, maintaining, nevertheless, real
  • In practice, many change circles, going towards
    the smaller circles and greater commitment.

pedagogical construct offers innumerable
possibilities based on the circumstances
  • The important element is the intuition of the
    work that is differentiated progressively with
    regard to the members of the new generation.
  • other circles of persons with more or less
    commitment can be revolving around the smaller
    more committed nucleus of members.

risk accepting all of the few fish in the sea!
  • John provides an expressive parable for
    vocations Hearing this, the two disciples
    followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them
    following and said, what do you want? They
    answered, Rabbi,which means Teacherwhere do
    you live? Come and see he replied so they
    went and saw here he lived, and stayed with him
    the rest of the day. It was about the tenth
    hour. (John 137-39)

  • The question is do we have enough courage to ask
    Jesus question and give the same answer as he.
    What do we have to show?
  • Do we have zeal in missionary activity, faith
    flowing from a contemplative life, a sense of the
    church, prayerful discernment and simple and
    fraternal community life?

Statistical Vocation Demography
  • Vocations come for the poorer social classes to a
    middle-class life of abundance, from the rural to
    the urban world, from work to study, from public
    schools to better schools, from lack of social
    status to a place in society, and with an
    affective transference from the father/mother
    structure to that of the institution/formator

Post-modernity Gains!
  • ability to experience pleasure while being
    sensitive to the playful, to the festive it
    values the body and ones own subjectivity
    without being easily dominated
  • it develops a sense of self-evaluation along with
    a care of the self and intimacy with the self as
    a defense against a dangerous, violent and
    fragmented society it can see its own limits

  • with strong self-affirmation as an answer to
    insecurity with regard to self-realization
  • it displays rebellion in the face of backward
    institutions and impatience with despotic
  • It shows feelings of belonging with regard to its
    motivation and broad, democratic experiences
  • it cultivates bonds of friendship between groups
    with desire for a fraternal community life and
    shared prayer, personal life and mission

  • open to friendships with persons outside the
  • it prolongs the timing of important decisions so
    as not to put an uncertain vocation at risk
  • it is more tolerant, has fewer preconceptions and
    prejudices with regard to race and deviant
  • it has greater sensitivity towards new forms of
  • it finds relevance in the daily, the small, the
    individual in the participation of
    micro-institutions leading to institutional
    flexibility in Religious Life

  • seeks transparency in the institution and in
    authority for its decisions, especially in the
    area of economics, social and working
  • it invests in community management, and shows
    increasing ecological, pacifist and liberating
    awareness with regard to gender.

summary of the post-modern vocation
  • A God who is so generous that he gives one,
    two, three vocations through which we can be
    realized. For a God who is so close to us and for
    a culture as relative as ours, the perpetuity of
    the vocation is less important than happiness in
    it. Vocation goes from being eternalI was chosen
    from my mothers womb!to being relative and
    temporaryI was called to freedom. Can it be that
    a vocation is less than it was in former times?
    Has God changed his opinion? He has not, but we..

  • 1. In terms of theoretical intellectual exercise,
    how can the culture of the joyful present of the
    young generation grasp the existential exigencies
    of a Religious Life lived through definitive
  •  2.  In terms of experience, how do I see the
    twofold movement, the tension between the search
    for religious externals and a narcissistic
    individualistic focus?
  •  3.  In terms of action, what concrete, visible
    practices do we have to form young people
    according to the sacramental model?