The consecrated life is a powerful reminder that only God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
On Feb. 5, 2017, the Church in the United States celebrates World Day for Consecrated Life. Our late and beloved Holy Father, St. John Paul II created World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997 to:
-- Express the gratitude of the Church for the gift of consecrated life.
-- Invite the whole Church to come to a deeper understanding of the beauty of consecrated life.
-- To encourage those who live the consecrated life to renew and deepen their commitment to the service of the Church.
-- To pray for vocations to consecrated life and to encourage men and women to respond generously to God's call to serve the Church.
World Day for Consecrated Life is a day of thanksgiving. The Church is blessed with the charisms of many religious and secular institutes. We thank God for courageous founders and foundresses who responded generously and worked untiringly to create the institutes that serve the Church with dedication and compassion today. These charisms are precious gifts that remind us of the teaching and healing that were a part of Jesus' public ministry. Our gratitude extends to the many men and women who have responded generously to God's call to serve as sisters, brothers, religious priests, hermits and consecrated virgins. May God continue to bless them abundantly!
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is a moment of grace, a time to learn more about the consecrated life and its importance to the mission of the Church.
World Day for Consecrated Life is also a day of evangelization, a time to proclaim the joyful news that a life dedicated to God and the service of the Church is a great blessing.
I am asked quite frequently to define consecrated life. What is it? As there are many charisms, there are also many ways to describe the consecrated life and its importance to the life and mission of the Church.
Consecrated life is the radical following of Christ through vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The vows proclaim to the world that there is something more than the immediate moment, instant gratification, and success. The consecrated life is a powerful reminder that only God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. Consecrated life is a witness to generous Gospel dedication. The consecrated life strives to imitate the compassionate heart of Christ in all circumstances. In his homily for World Day for Consecrated Life in 2016, Pope Francis said "Consecrated men and women are called to be a tangible and prophetic sign of the closeness of God."
World Day for Consecrated Life is moment to reflect on the ways that God calls each one of us to dedicated service:
Here are but a few ways to celebrate Consecrated Life on Feb. 5 and throughout the year:
-- Pray for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, consecrated life, marriage and lay ecclesial ministry.
-- Pray for brothers, sisters, priests, members of secular institutes, hermits and consecrated virgins and thank God for their vocations and generous service.
-- Include articles about vocations to consecrated life in parish/religious education and school newsletters.
-- Invite consecrated men and women to share their vocation stories.
-- Becoming more familiar with the institutes of consecrated life that are part of the Archdiocese of Boston.
May the celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life Day be a blessing for our archdiocese and the Church throughout the world!
Sister Marian Batho is the former Delegate of Religious of the Archdiocese of Boston.