The year of Consecrated life has begun! It started with the vigil for the first Sunday of Advent, November 30. It will end on the feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple on February 2, 2016. Pope Francis decided to proclaim this year on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. In the message to his brothers and sisters in Consecrated life, Pope Francis identifies the aims and expectations for this year:
The aims of the year of consecrated life are:
- To look to the past with gratitude.
- To live the present with passion.
- To embrace the future with hope.
The expectations are:
- That the old saying will always be true: “Where there are religious, there is joy”.
- I am counting on you “to wake up the world”, since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy.
- Men and women religious, like all other consecrated persons, have been called, as I mentioned, “experts in communion”.
- I also expect from you what I have asked all the members of the Church: to come out of yourselves and go forth to the existential peripheries. “Go into all the world”.
- I expect that each form of consecrated life will question what it is that God and people today are asking of them.
A full text of the Message for the Year of Consecrated Life can be found in the next link : Message of Pope Francis.
It’s really a great opportunity for us Xaverian Missionaries to renew our understanding on consecrated life. Our founder St Guido Maria had a deep insight on consecrated life. He wrote:
“The apostolic life, combined with the profession of the religious vows, is in itself the most perfect life possible according to the Gospel. Through the profession of the religious vows we die to all earthly things in order to live a life hidden in God with Jesus Christ, thus fulfilling what the Apostle Paul wrote to the early believers: “You have died, your life is hidden now with Christ in God” (Col 3: 3). The religious vows bind us more and more to divine service; they are a total deliverance […], from the world and from the flesh; they are a continuous aspiring to ever better things… ” (Testament Letter no. 2)
May the Holy Spirit accompany us during this year in order to reflect about our Consecration to God and to become witnesses of joy in the world.