A man wearing a Brazilian face mask looks at Pope Francis as he addresses from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St.Peter's square during his Angelus prayer on August 16, 2020 at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli /AFP)
Pope Francis has asked Brazil's men and women religious to fight worldly tendencies as they began their first national Week of Consecrated Religious Life on Aug. 16.
In a message addressed to Religious in Brazil, Pope Francis said fighting worldly tendencies is "to give priority to prayer" because the "person who keeps his or her eyes fixed on Jesus learns that to live to serve."
The message was sent to Sister Maria Inês Vieira Ribeiro, the national president of the Conference of the Religious of Brazil (CRB). Religious in Brazil observe their first Week of Consecrated Religious Life from Aug. 16 to 22.
Pope Francis expressed his joy at the initiative which he said could "promote and renew the mission" of each consecrated religious in the Land of the Holy Cross, as the first explorers of the unknown territory called it.
Pope Francis, himself Jesuit, wanted the religious to "be vigilant to avoid the temptation to have a worldly outlook, which prevents us from seeing God's grace as the protagonist of life and leads us to go out in search of a substitute."
And the best antidote against such a temptation, the Pope says, is to prioritize prayer amid all our activities. A person who keeps his gaze fixed on Jesus, learns to live and serve, recalling that he or she is loved.
Consecrated religious present in Rome participated in the recitation of the Angelus with Pope Francis in St Peter's Square on Sunday.
He singled them out during the Angelus and said: "In particular, I greet the Brazilian men and women religious present here in Rome – with so many flags.
"These Religious are following the First National Week of Consecrated Life spiritually, being celebrated in Brazil. Happy week of consecrated life. Ever onward!" he said.