104. Many people today question the value of consecrated life and its particular commitments. These questions result from our utilitarian and technocratic culture, in which things and people may be valued according to their “usefulness.” The answer can be found in the Gospel episode of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany. Judas, using the needs of the poor as an excuse, complained that this use of the expensive oil was a waste. To this Christ responded: “Let her alone!” The consecrated life enriches the Church through unbounded generosity, a life spent in loving and serving the Lord without reserve. This transcends all utilitarian considerations.
The consecrated life in the service of the Kingdom of God
105. The importance of the consecrated life to the Church rests in this unbounded generosity and love, all the more so in a world that risks suffocation in the whirlpool of the ephemeral. The Church cannot renounce the consecrated life, for it expresses her inmost nature as Bride of Christ. The Church needs people able to show the fatherly face of God and the motherly face of the Church, so that others can have life and hope. The whole Christian community—pastors, laity and consecrated persons—is responsible for the consecrated life, and for promoting new vocations.
To young people
106. If you hear the Lord’s call, do not reject it! Dare to join great movements of holiness. Readily accept God’s invitation to seek holiness in the consecrated life.
If you hear the Lord’s call, do not reject it!
107. It is a great honor if the Lord calls one’s child to the consecrated life. Parents must live the values of the Gospel so that the young will be able to truly discern God’s call. Children must be trained in the responsible use of their freedom so they may live in accordance with the loftiest spiritual realities.
To men and women of good will
108. Seek the paths to the living and true God, including the consecrated life. Consider the example of consecrated men and women, their self-mastery by grace and God’s love, their good works and devotion to God.
To consecrated persons
109. Live to the full your dedication to God. You are on a journey of continuous conversion, to bear witness to the grace that transfigures Christian life. Bear witness to Christ in your life, work and words. Give Him everything! Be a unique example to the young. Live faithfully your commitment to God in mutual edification and support.
Looking to the future
110. Consecrated life has a glorious past, but also a great history still to be accomplished. The consecrated must make their lives a fervent expectation of Christ. They must be always faithful to Him, to the Church, to their institutes, and to the men and women of our time.
Prayer to the Holy Trinity
111. The Holy Father invokes the Holy Trinity—Father Most Holy, Jesus our Savior, and Holy Spirit—to bless, sanctify and strengthen all consecrated sons and daughters of God.
Invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
May the Blessed Virgin sustain consecrated persons
112. May the Blessed Virgin sustain consecrated persons on their journey toward sole and eternal blessedness; teach them to proclaim the mighty works of the Lord; support them in their work; and obtain for them, from her Son, the ability to bear witness to the gift of the consecrated life by their transfigured lives.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection
- In contrast to our utilitarian and technological culture, how does the consecrated life transcend these concerns and considerations by its promotion to the true reality in our midst?
- If the Church expresses its very nature as the “Bride of Christ,” how can consecrated life better manifest this reality by its unbounded generosity and love?
- Since the family is the true seedbed of all vocations, what can parents do to help foster vocations to the priestly and consecrated life in their children?
- In looking to the future, Pope John Paul II envisions “a great history still to be accomplished.” How can religious participate more in this vision for the future? What can be done to invite many more young people to consider these sublime vocations and not be distracted by the passing “wonders of the world”?
|Introduction||Chapter I||Chapter II||Chapter III||Conclusion|
Printed copies of this study guide may be obtained from the Institute on Religious Life at the address below or at this link.
Copyright © 2003 Institute on Religious Life. All rights reserved.