World Day of Consecrated Life (Religious Day)
On 6 Jan,1997, The late Holy Father John Paul II decided that the nd World day for Consecrated Life will be celebrated on the 2 Feb, on the feast which commemorates the Presentation which Mary & Joseph made of Jesus in the temple to present Jesus to the Lord.(Lk.2:22).The presentation of Jesus in the temple is an eloquent icon of the total offering of one’s life for all those who are called to show forth in the church & in the world, by means of the evangelical counsels “ the characteristic features of Jesus- the chaste, poor & obedient one” (VC1).
The reason for the world Day for Consecrated Life:
The purpose of such a day is threefold. In the FIRST PLACE, It answers the intimate need to praise the Lord more solemnly & to thank him for the great gift of consecrated life which enriches & gladdens the Christian community by the multiplicity of its charisms & by the edifying fruits of so many lives totally given to the cause of the kingdom. In the SECOND PLACE, this day is intended to promote knowledge of & esteem for the consecrated life by the entire people of God. The THIRD REASON regards consecrated persons directly. They are invited to celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them, to discover by a more illuminated faith the rays of divine beauty spread by the spirit in their way of life, & to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the church.
Following the instruction of late Pope it is a challenge for every religious person to re-read, re-discover & re-state her/his vocation & find new meaning in her/his life as a prophet. They have to be Just as prophets have always arisen in times of crisis to proclaim the will of God to the people of Israel, so in the history of the church religious Orders have always had a prophetic vocation. They have offered a response, in the church and in society, to the longings of the people. They have put their finger on the wound when the church has been too turned in on itself. The first monk responded in this way to the worldwide spread of the church. Benedict, at a time of migration, set up places of community which brought stability to their surroundings. Confronted by the feudal structure of the church and of society, Francis reawakened sensitivity to poverty. Dominic made his own the desire of the Cathars for a pure and clear faith. Ignatius wanted to responded to the Reformation and direct life again only towards the figure of Christ. And many religious Orders in th the 19 century responded to the needs of their times. It is always a question of a prophetic response, a response which comes from God, an attempt to put the will of God into practice in a particular time.
The task of the prophet is not to predict the future but to proclaim the will of God for the present and the situation of today. The prophet claims the “today of God” for people. This” today of God” is often in contrast with the world. Honesty is necessary in announcing the word of God.
Consecrate life has always had a prophetic dimension in the history of the church. How can we live this prophetic dimension today?
– Placing God at the centre
– Making a critical reflection of the society and the church
– Offering a realistic hope and making the people aware that everything is transitory.
– Becoming a blessing for people and leave a legacy.
– Prophetic mission is always a mission for people.
Jesus has shown how to recognize our prophetic mission. Heinvites us to enter by the narrow gate and to journey by the hard road (Mth713-14).The narrow gate is hard and unique which God has planned for us. A certain effort is necessary to find that gate. The wide road is not bad road, but the road which everyone takes. Jesus believes that each one of us is capable of finding the unique way in which our life can become a blessing for people. Animated by the Spirit of God, may every consecrated live up to her/his commitment.