Thursday, February 2, 2012

World Day for Consecrated Life


Today the Church commemorates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and honors all the women and men who live as witnesses in consecrated life.  Blessed Pope John Paul II established this annual celebration in 1997.  He wished to set aside a day for the Church to praise and thank God for the gift of the consecrated life, to promote a greater understanding of the consecrated life, and to encourage those in consecrated life in a "vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world" (Vatican City, 6 January 1997)

For some years now, in the Church of Rome and in other dioceses, the feast of 2 February has almost spontaneously brought numerous members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life around the Pope and diocesan pastors in order to demonstrate together, in communion with the entire People of God, the gift and commitment of their call, the variety of charisms of consecrated life, and their special place within the community of believers.

It is my wish that this experience be extended to the whole Church, so that the celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life may gather consecrated persons together with other faithful in order to sing with the Virgin Mary the marvels which the Lord accomplishes in so many of his sons and daughters, and to manifest to all that being a "people consecrated to himself" (cf. Deut 28:9) is the condition of all those who are redeemed by Christ

The churches here in the United States have moved the celebration to Sunday, but I love the connection that Pope John Paul II made in setting the day with the Feast of the Presentation.  In celebrating Jesus' presentation at the Temple, we see him, all that he is and all that he will become, being offered to the service of God.  In our consecration to the Church during our Perpetual Profession, we too are being offered as Benedictine Sisters, with all that we are are and all that we will become, to the service of the Church through our Benedictine communities.
Prayer for Consecrated Life (USCCB 2011)
God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as sisters, brothers, religious priests, consecrated virgins, and hermits, as well as members of Secular Institutes. Renew their knowledge and love of you, and send your Holy Spirit to help them respond generously and courageously to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. ~Amen.

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