Pope Francis’ Expectations for the Year
On the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014, the Year of Consecrated Life began in the Catholic Church and will conclude on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on February 2, 2016. In his Apostolic Letter announcing this theme of this Year of Grace, Pope Francis writes:
“We are called to know and show that God is able to fill our hearts to the brim
with happiness; that we need not seek our happiness elsewhere; that the authentic
fraternity found in our communities increases our joy; and that our total self-giving
in service to the Church, to families and young people, to the elderly and the poor,
brings us life-long personal fulfillment.”
Three Aims of This Year
During the Year, Pope Francis calls for consecrated religious to look to the past with gratitude, for “to tell our story is to praise God and to thank him for all his gifts.” It is when we look back at our sacred history that that we discover the presence and action of God in our lives. Such gratitude leads us to live in the present moment with passion and joy, knowing that God is with us on our journey. Looking back with gratitude and living the present with passion means we will be full of hope for the future, knowing by faith that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
A Year of Grace for Everyone
Pope Francis calls upon everyone in the Church to embrace the challenges of this Year. He encourages dialogue between younger and older generations, so that the younger might be enriched with the wisdom and experience of the older, and the fire of enthusiasm might be reignited by contact of the older with the younger. He calls for everyone to ask themselves how open we are to being challenged by the Gospel and how does this “manual for daily living” guide our decisions and actions. It is a Year to fall in love with Jesus – “our first and only love” – all over again.
We invite all of you to join us in looking back with gratitude, embracing the present moment with joy and passion, and looking forward to a future full of hope as we celebrate this Year of grace.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.