April 13, 2015
Pope Francis addressed the participants of the International congress for Formators of Consecrated men and women based on the theme “To Live in Christ According to the Way of Life of the Gospel.” There were 1300 participants in the congress.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning.
But he [the Cardinal Prefect] said your number, how many of you there are, and I said: “But with the scarcity of vocations, there are more formators than those being formed!” This is a problem! We must ask the Lord to do everything possible so that there are more vocations!
Radicalism and totality in the profession of evangelical counsels
Another constitutive element stressed in the documents of the Church on consecrated life is the radicalism of the consecration which engages the whole person and invite him/her to be totally dedicated to God. Though all the baptized are called to radical following of Christ, the consecrated person’s following of Christ has its own proper radical nature. The religious are called to “devote themselves to God alone” with an “undivided heart” (LG 42c, 44). They seek God solely and above everything else (PC 5,6). A consecrated person pledges oneself to live as Christ lived in areas which cover the whole life: possessions, affections and autonomy (EE 15).
How free are the consecrated not to respond to the call?
We have seen that consecrated life, a closer following of the life of Christ, is a life in the Spirit just as the master lived his earthly life in the Spirit. When other spirits are allowed to hijack the heart of the consecrated person, his/her consecration ceases to make any sense and abandonment of religious life is the natural end.
Work of the Holy Spirit in a cooperating person
In this module we shall reflect on our collaboration with the Holy Spirit in unfolding the mystery of our vocation. The two partners in the event of consecrated life are the Holy Spirit and the person who responds to the call. Holy Spirit is the protagonist and active agent in a cooperating person in effecting the “new bond between the person and the One and Triune God, in Jesus Christ” (RD 7b), leading him/her progressively into full configuration to Christ (VC 19).
A call addressed to some of the baptized
Vita Consecrata traces the evangelical origin of consecrated life in the special relationship Jesus established with some of his disciplesduring his earthly life. Though all are called to holiness and become sons/daughters of God and sharers in the divine nature (LG 40a), the holiness of the Church is fostered in a special way by the observance of evangelical counsels as a gift given by the Father to certain souls(LG 39, 42c, VC 18, 29.). All the baptized are called to holiness and perfection, but baptismal consecration does not necessarily include the call to live evangelical counsels (VC.30).
New and special consecration
Journeying towards wholeness and holiness
In the last module we have reflected about “new and special” and “particular” consecration which we are gifted when we said “yes” to the call of God. We shall now see the same from the perspective of our life journey as a consecrated person.