This year of 2015, our most beloved Holy Father has called upon consecrated religious to Wake Up The World with their love and their joy. This is a worthwhile project which will benefit all of us, and, indeed, sanctify those outside the Household of the Faith. Consecrated Religious are a prolepsis tou Eskhatou, an anticipation of the End and of the Kingdom; they show us the joy which the Lord is so surely bringing. Marana tha; veni, Domine, ne tardaveris.
It is invidious to pick out particular communities and individual charisms. But I cannot fail to mention two communities of which I have some experience; each of them is a young and vibrant community with a joyously Marian charism. Ave Mater Sanctae Laetitiae.
The Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers on the ancient, remote, monastic island of Papa Stronsay.
I have witnessed their joyful and sacrificial life of Prayer and Work; their Calendar hangs in front of me as I write (showing them as they prepare a winter shelter for their very healthy and soundly Tridentine geese). I am sure I was not the only one to remember them during those terrible December storms in the Northern Ocean. And we don't forget Fr Michael Mary and his brethren in their flourishing Mission down there in New Zealand! Storm-free, Father, I hope! Much love.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate. I pray for them; for the brothers and for the sisters; especially for the contemplative sisters at Lanhearne in Cornwall (I daily carry with me, in imitation of the practice of Blessed John Henry Newman, the Miraculous Medal which Reverend Mother Rosa gave me). I pray for those who are still together within the structures of the order; and for those who have been driven from the stability of their communities to seek and hear God's call in new paths. And I pray for Bishops who guide them and provide a refuge for their joyful service and their witness to joy. God bless them all, tous xenous kai tous xenodokhountas, and may He touch with His joy the hearts of their enemies.
God keep them all and give them joy. May He send them fresh vocations. God grant that the World may recognise in their faces the joy of Christ.