Friday 5th July 2013…Pope Francis has just released his first encyclical letter “Lumen Fidei” or The Light of Faith.
Please follow the link to the document on the Vatican website. From there, you can download the document in PDF format, if you prefer.
Why should we be interested?
I’d hope that ALL Catholics would be interested in what the Pope is saying, but especially those of us who have an Ecclesial vocation (see note below). Indeed, our Constitutions are quite explicit:
33. With sincere interest in the teachings of the Church and the spirituality of our Carmelite Saints, Carmelite Seculars seek to be men and women who are mature in the practice of faith, hope and love, and in their devotion to the Virgin Mary. They commit themselves to deepening their Christian, ecclesial and Carmelite life. Christian formation is the solid basis of Carmelite and spiritual formation. Through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Church documents, Secular Carmelites receive the necessary theological foundation.
Of course, “In the last three years of initial formation there is a deeper study of prayer, the Scriptures, the Documents of the Church, the Saints of the Order and formation in the apostolate of the Order.” (Const 36 (d)). So those who have made their First Promise will spend some time studying Church Documents, including Lumen Fidei, as part of their ongoing formation, but I’m sure we will all benefit from reflecting on Pope Francis’ teaching.
You might also like this commentary by Fr Robert Barron
or his video commentary on YouTube
The vocation to the Secular Order is truly ecclesial. Prayer and apostolate, when they are true, are inseparable. The observation of St Teresa that the purpose of prayer is “the birth of good works” reminds the Secular Order that graces received ought to have an effect on those who receive them. Individually or as a community and, above all as members of the Church, apostolic activity is the fruit of prayer. Where possible, in collaboration with religious superiors and with the necessary permissions of those in charge, the communities of the Secular Order participate in the apostolate of the Order (Ratio Institutionis of the Secular Order, #12)