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Tuesday, 9 November 2004


To the Teresian Carmelite Missionaries,
Participants in the 13th General Chapter,

1. I am very pleased to have this meeting with you who are celebrating your 13th General Chapter, a most important time in the life of your Congregation in order to discern the will of God, to renew your faith in the founding charism and to discover the best way to respond, starting from your specific vocation and mission, to the challenges of these first years of the third millennium.

I greet with affection Sister Luisa Ortega Sánchez, who was recently elected Superior General, her Counsellors and other direct collaborators, as well as the other participants in the Chapter. I express sincere gratitude to Sister Pilar Timoneda Armengol, Superior General during the two preceding terms, and I invite you to convey to the Communities in the different countries, together with the decisions reached, your chapter experience with its spiritual depth and sense of fraternity and joy, sustained by living fully and joyfully the charism inspired by your Founder, Bl. Francisco Palau y Quer.

As stated in the Chapter Rule, you must promote in all your Sisters a true "passion for the Church: God and neighbour", so that each community enriches its own particular Church and shows the wonders of God "by the eloquent language of a transfigured life, capable of amazing the world" (Vita Consecrata, n. 20).

2. In your programme of life and action for the coming years, you must remember that "more than in external words, the mission consists in making Christ present to the world through personal witness. This is the challenge, this is the primary task of the consecrated life!" (ibid., n. 72). And what can inspire us to make Christ present if not that great Mystery where Christ is "truly present", which is the Eucharist? All dimensions of the Eucharist "come together in one aspect which more than any other makes a demand on our faith: the mystery of the "real' presence" (Mane Nobiscum Domine, n. 16).

I reminded the entire Church of the central and irreplaceable character of the Eucharist for the Christian life in order to be faithful to the vocation to holiness. I now also remind you, confident that by your contemplative Teresian tradition, you understand it very well and make this Most Blessed Sacrament the axis of your spiritual life and the inspiration for every apostolic and missionary project. In fact, it is in this that you will discover Christ; it constitutes, then, a privileged point of encounter for the souls in love with him (cf. ibid., n. 18).

3. I ask Our Lady of Mount Carmel, through the intercession of your Blessed Founder, never to stop showing every day to "all believers the heavenly goods which are already present in this age" (Lumen Gentium, n. 44), and to build among the new generations the number of those who recognize the voice of the Spirit when he calls them to a life entirely consecrated to God.

With these wishes, I impart to you from my heart the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend with pleasure to all the Teresian Carmelite Missionaries.

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