|With our friend Sr. Anna Rose, TOR|
Pope Francis has proclaimed a Year of Consecrated Life which begins today, November 30, which happens to be the Feast of St. Andrew, the First-Called. It will continue until the World Day of Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016.
Well, it's pretty exciting to have a year dedicated to us! The Church will be praying for us, seeking ways to support our life of prayer, teaching about this particular vocation and encouraging discernment. But it also presents us with a challenge and responsibility. Please pray for us as we accept the challenge of seeking to become all that God is calling us to be, as His brides and as witnesses for the Church and the world.
To kick off this Year of Consecrated Life, we'll share some beautiful excerpts from a document published in preparation for this year by the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The document, based on the teachings of Pope Francis, is called, "Rejoice!"
1. ...To accept this teaching means to renew our existence in accordance with the Gospel, not in a radical way understood as a model of perfection and often of separation, but by adhering wholeheartedly to the saving encounter that transforms our life. “It is a question of leaving everything to follow the Lord. No, I do not want to say ‘radical’. Evangelical radicalness is not only for religious: it is demanded of all. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way. It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women able to wake the world up.”
In their finite humanity, on the margins, in their everyday struggles, consecrated men and women live out their fidelity, giving a reason for the joy that lives in them. So they become splendid witnesses, effective proclaimers, companions and neighbors...
Joy, the beauty of consecration
3. “This is the beauty of consecration: it is joy, joy...”. The joy of bringing God’s consolation to all. These are the words spoken by Pope Francis during his meeting with seminarians and novices. “There is no holiness in sadness”, the Holy Father continued. Do not grieve like others who have no hope, wrote St. Paul (1Thess 4:13).
Joy is not a useless ornament. It is a necessity, the foundation of human life. In their daily struggles, every man and woman tries to attain joy and abide in it with the totality of their being.
In the world there is often a lack of joy. We are not called to accomplish epic feats or to proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved....
4. “In calling you God says to you: ‘You are important to me, I love you, I am counting on you’. Jesus says this to each one of us! Joy is born from that! The joy of the moment in which Jesus looked at me. Understanding and hearing this is the secret of our joy...."