Particular attention should be given to the signs of the times, so that we will not remain immobilized in those forms of apostolate that served another period of time or other circumstances well, but which are no longer suitable for the contemporary situation (Const. 22.1).
To what can we compare religious as pastoral agents? They are like someone who lights fires and leaves them burning. In the name of Christ, they walk through Christ’s field like someone carrying a torch in the dark. When they come across a family, friend or community where the fire of love has gone out, they light the fire again, teaching loved ones how to relight it themselves. Then they move on. If they discover a social, political or ecclesiastical situation where the flame of justice has been smothered, they light the fire again, helping those involved to embrace one another again. And they move on. When they come across demoralizing circumstances where the fire of spiritual, economic or democratic hope has cooled, they light the fire again, teaching desperate people the why and how of rekindling the flame themselves. And they move on. That is the pastoral task and vigilance: always relighting the fire, leaving it burning and then moving on, lifting the torch on high to look for others lying in the ashes.
A lit torch never goes out when someone is guarding it. (Nande)