Happy World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life! Founded by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1997, this day deliberately coincides with today's Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas. Why? Dawn Hausmann, Director of Consecrated Vocations, now explains. Dawn writes:
Blessed feast day of our Lord’s presentation in the Temple! And…blessed day of prayer for Consecrated Life! For those already consecrated to our Lord and for those who are yet to respond to his calling.
The Church has us celebrate these together. Why? Well, on this feast that is known as Candlemas Day, the day candles are blessed and symbolize Christ being the light of the world, we see the mission of consecrated men and women as reflecting that light of Christ to all people in a special way.
Some women out there (who may be reading this right now) are called to be brides of Christ in some form of consecrated life (as a religious sister, consecrated virgin, etc) in which they will be living signs of the fulfilling love of Jesus, the Bridegroom of the Church, and will participate in his mission, service to his Church for the salvation of souls.
Some men out there (who may also be reading this right now) are called to be "in persona Christi", or live a close following to Christ, by becoming a priest (diocesan or religious), brother, or another form of consecrated life. These men are set apart for Christ and service to the Church and the salvation of souls.
Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “Indeed, more than in external works, the mission consists in making Christ present to the world through personal witness. This is the challenge, this is the primary task of the consecrated life! The more consecrated persons allow themselves to be conformed to Christ, the more Christ is made present and active in the world for the salvation of all. Thus it can be said that consecrated persons are "in mission" by virtue of their very consecration, to which they bear witness in accordance with the ideal of their Institute." (Vita Consecrata, 72)
Let us now take this moment to pray!... Let’s pause in this very moment to acknowledge our Lord’s presence with us, his love for us, and his goodness (take a few deep breaths with the Lord and be still in his Presence)…Let us thank the Lord for the men and women who currently are living consecrated life for the sake of the Kingdom and for them to keep growing in the graces of their consecration…Let’s ask the Master of the Harvest to bring forth more laborers for his vineyard…Let us ask the Lord about our own calling…if we have yet to answer his calling in our own lives or if we have, let’s ask him how he wants us to live our calling renewed. Let us also ask the Lord if there is someone in our lives who we may be called to assist in discernment of God’s will for their vocation…Thank you, Lord Jesus for all that you are doing in our lives and vocations. Thank you for the calling of consecrated life in the Church. We offer you this prayer with the Church on this day. Amen!
Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: 'And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.' (Mt 19:29)
For those who have this calling: Be not afraid to say yes. Take whatever that next baby step is to ‘come and follow’ Jesus and see what He does with that move forward.
Come Lord Jesus and help all of us be reflections of your light in the world this day!
* Do you feel that God may be calling you to consecrated life? If so, contact Dawn at email@example.com or 517-342-2506