A chance to reflect on consecrated life
Most of us would have heard the voices – sometimes they are our own – that wonder and ask: Why are there not as many Religious anymore? Why can’t I recognise them as in the past? Why don’t they live in big groups…or dress the same way as I remember them…or as we see them in the movies? Why is there such change and differences between each group?
In our world, where the rate of change continues to increase at a quicker pace than we have time to ponder all the many areas of life, we can easily find ourselves in a place where we find it difficult to hold and embrace those questions which are important to us and call us to grow in understanding. For this very reason and at various points within our year as individuals, families, communities, Church and society, we pause for a moment in time to celebrate important markers and to ponder and trust that God works through our humanness and through mystery.
The World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, which falls on the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple (February 2), is one such opportunity. Globally we unite and pray for the women and men called to live out their baptismal consecration by serving the needs of our world and Church through prayer and apostolate. There are a variety of forms of consecrated living: the eremitical life (secluded), religious life (apostolic or contemplative brothers, sisters and priests), consecrated virgins and widows, secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. There are, too, consecrated women and men who profess private vows within the Archdiocese where they reside.
The life of consecrated women and men is varied – each group living according to the charism of their call and as approved by their group’s constitutions and ratified by the Church, be they a group of either Diocesan or Pontifical Rite. Within the diversity of their call, charism and living of the Gospel, the consecrated live the essentials of their relationship and intimacy with God through their vows which, in turn, infuses their life of mission, be it obvious or hidden. As all the baptised who endeavour to listen to the call of God and live the essentials of their commitment, let us pray for all the consecrated whose lives are complementary to all the baptised.
Let us pray that we move forward together to live the mission of the Gospel as the various parts and function of the Body of Christ. Let us pray that we will continue to experience the Spirit who breathes life into us and energises us to live in deep Easter faith knowing that nothing is impossible to those who love God. Let us pray that the complementarity of each of us will bring God’s love to the world so that all may come to live life to the full, with a heart for the other, and with a desire to deeply respond to the God of love and abundance.
Sr Jenny Seal fdnsc is SA Vocation Network coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
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