February 23, 2015

VATICAN CITY – Total obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy and hope, Pope Francis told religious men and women.

Jesus came not to follow his own will, but to obey the Father's will, the pope said Feb. 2 during a Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The Church marks the feast as the World Day for Consecrated Life.

"Whoever follows Jesus takes the path of obedience," which means lowering, emptying and humbling oneself like Jesus, the pope said.

On the one hand, he said, obedience empties and humbles a person, but on the other hand, it lights and safeguards the flame of hope, rendering people creative because they are full of the Holy Spirit.

"The Lord transforms obedience into wisdom with the action of his Holy Spirit."

A life of persevering obedience to God matures into wisdom, he said.

Religious life which lacks this long, continuous path of obedience and wisdom becomes "a caricature," he said.

He asked that religious men and women continue to guide people to God, but to also "let ourselves be guided. This is what we have to be: guides who are guided."