The Evangelical Superiority Of Consecrated Life

It is important that Bishops, Priests and Deacons, convinced of the evangelical superiority of this kind of life should strive to discover and encourage the seeds of vocation through preaching, discernment and wise spiritual guidance; for they spread the fragrance of Christ in the society (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15). The whole Christian community – pastors, laity and consecrated persons – is responsible for the consecrated life, for welcoming and supporting new vocations”. St. John Paul 11, Vita Consecrata, No. 105.

Jesus Christ, the Supreme Consecrated One and Missionary of the Father (cf. Vita Consecrata, No. 22)

The Father is the Initiator of Jesus’ consecration; He is the source of all holiness, the ultimate origin of consecrated life. The Father consecrated Jesus through the action of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38; John 10:36; Luke 4:18). The mission of the consecrated One is total self-giving, self-oblation, self-sacrifice to God; to give unbounded love and generosity to God. Thus, Christ who has equality with God offered his will totally to God in virginity (Exod. 12:15; 1 Pet. 1:19), in obedience (Luke 2:49; Heb. 10:5,7; Phil 2:7-8) and in poverty (2 Cor. 8:9). Further, the supreme Consecrated One reveals the face of the Father (John 14:9-11; Lk. 15:12-24). He brings good news to the poor and announces the year of God’s favour (Luke 4:18-19). The supreme Consecrated One epitomizes his mission on the Cross at Calvary (Vita Consecrata, 23). Thus, the Holy Mass is the highest prayer, since it is “Calvary re-visited”. The Father glorified him by raising him from the dead. Now he is sitting at the right hand of the Father.

The Consecrated Person

The consecrated person is called to a radical response to the love of God, to be the image of the Supreme Consecrated One and Missionary of the Father in daily life; to follow Christ beyond keeping the commandments, to the level of the total renunciation (Matt. 19:21). She is consecrated in the example of Christ and follows Christ in total self-oblation in order to give unbounded love and generosity to God. The person withdraws from creatures and even from self in order to be filled with the Spirit of Christ. The mission is to spread the fragrance of Christ on the (2 Cor. 2:15) and to constitute a living memorial of Jesus’ way of life; to reveal the passing nature of this world and the perfect way of uniting oneself with Christ (Matt. 19:21). Her life is thus an eschatological sign, a foreshadowing of the future kingdom. Her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience are the means of total self-giving to God after the example of Christ. The Apostolate is the means of revealing the face of the Father and announcing the year of God’s favour. Community life is because he sent them in twos (Mark 6:8), the means of loving those who are with him to the end by washing their feet and of laying down one’s life for the friends (John 13:1-18).