Pope Francis: Monks and nuns are the beating heart of the Church’s proclamation

by FLL Editorial Team

(Vatican News) At his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis continues his catechesis on apostolic zeal, and reflects on the prayer of monks and nuns as the “beating heart” of the Church’s mission.

At his Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis continued with his series of catecheses on “apostolic zeal”, this week focusing on the crucial role that monks and nuns play in the Church’s mission.
The Holy Father’s catechesis focused in particular on Saint Gregory of Narek, a medieval Armenian monk who, he said, offers a shining example of the universal, all-embracing love which Christians are called to.
The role of monks and nuns
The Pope began by asking what contribution those who live in a monastery can make to the Church’s mission of announcing the Gospel. “Wouldn’t it be better,” he asked, “if they dedicated their energies to mission?”.
Having raised the question, the Pope’s answer was a resounding no.
“Monks and nuns,” he stressed, “are the “beating heart of the Church’s proclamation [of the Gospel]: their prayer is oxygen for all the members of the Body of Christ, the invisible force that sustains the mission.”
It is not a coincidence, the Holy Father said, that the Patron Saint of Mission, Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, is a nun.
Saint Gregory Narek
As another example of this calling, Pope Francis offered Saint Gregory Narek, a tenth century Armenian monk.
Saint Gregory, the Pope said, spent almost his entire life in the monastery of Narek, where he “learned to peer into the depths of the human soul and, by fusing poetry and prayer together, achieved the pinnacle of both Armenian literature and spirituality.”
What most strikes him about the saint, the Holy Father went on, is his “universal solidarity” – his identification with all people and his decision to dedicate his life to praying for them.
He sees the faults of humanity not primarily in others, the Pope continued, but in himself, writing in his masterpiece the Book of Lamentations that "I have voluntarily taken upon myself all faults, from those of the first father down to the last of his descendants, and I have held myself responsible for them".
Visit monasteries!
This universal solidarity, Pope Francis stressed, was not exclusive to St Gregory, but is rather a feauture of the lives all nuns and monks, who, "like Jesus, take on the world's problems, the difficulties, the illnesses, many things, and pray for others." Cloistered religious, he said, are always busy - with work, and with prayer.
The Pope thus ended his catechesis with an encouragement to his listeners to visit monasteries whenever possible - "it'll do you good!".

Source: Pope at Audience: Cloistered religious demonstrate universal love