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Book: The Private Prayers of Pope John Paul II: Words of Inspiration
Author: Pope John Paul II
Pocket Books, New York, 2001


“Spiritual Mountaineers” is the evocative image created by Paul VI to indicate the difficult path of the consecrated in the Secular Institutes. So said Pope Paul, playing with words, as he addressed the “advance wing of the Church”:

“You are in the world and not of the world, but for the world.”

And John Paul II, in his eagerness for new evangelization, is never tired of encouraging and promoting vocations for Secular Institutes, observing that they have a mission of salvation to perform for mankind in our time. Society today has a need for men and women who, living in the world, though the world is unaware of the exterior signs, will open to it the pathways of Christian salvation, and who will mold it, effect it and sanctify it. Paul VI also said:

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, or if he listens to teachers he does so because they are witnesses.”

Well then, may the consecrated within the Secular Institutes pledge, by their witness, to remind the world that we are in need not of better days but of men who will make our days better!

Selected Excerpts:

“The world needs the true ‘contradiction’ of religious consecration, as the permanent leaven of redemptive renewal .... It needs this testimony of love, it needs the testimony of the Redemption, as it is inscribed in the profession of the evangelical counsels.”

“This lay spirituality should take its particular character from this circumstances of one’s state in life (married and family life, celibacy, or widowhood), from one’s health, and from one’s professional and social activity. All must not cease to cultivate the qualities and talents bestowed on them in accord with those conditions, and should make use of the gifts they have received from the Holy Spirit.”

“If they remain faithful to their special vocation the Secular Institutes will become ‘the experimental laboratory’ in which the Church tests the ways it relates concretely to the world.

It is why the institutes must hear the call of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi as if it were addressed particularly to them:

‘Their task ... is to put to use every Christian and evangelical possibility latent but already present and active in the affairs of the world.

Their own field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complex world of politics, society, and economics, but also the world of culture, of science and the arts, of international life, of the mass media.”

Table of Contents:

My Heart Opens to You
What Are the Secular Institutes?
Come, Follow Me
The Consecrated Life
The Evangelical Counsels
Love for the Church
The Apostolate
I Exhort You
Challenge the Young
The Care of Vocations
I Would Like to Tell You Many Things . . .