By: Caitlin Bootsma
This Sunday is the World Day for Consecrated Life, a celebration established for the universal Church by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1997. Growing up, if I thought about it all, I would have said that “consecrated” was simply synonymous with “nuns” and “monks.” However, this designation actually applies to a myriad of men and women who are dedicated to the kingdom of God, including sisters, brothers, priests in religious orders, consecrated virgins, hermits and members of Secular Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life (you can see a list here).
Jesus Himself was the model of consecrated life – remaining celibate and giving His entire life for the Church (even to the point of death). In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus affirms the validity of the consecrated life saying, “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12).
Sunday is an opportunity for us to thank God for the many saintly men and women who consecrated themselves to the Lord for the good of the Church throughout history. In a particular way, we can pray for those consecrated that we’ve known in our life, for the strength of their vocation. Whether that be a religious sister who taught us in grade school, a hermit who prays for our intentions or a consecrated man or woman living in the world. We can, as well, pray for all of those who may be discerning a call to this way of life.
Bishop Loverde tells us,“I join all the members of our diocesan Church of Arlington in thanking God for the gift of consecrated life in the Church and in asking Him to renew in all the men and women living the consecrated life…a spirit of deepening intimacy with their Spouse the Lord Jesus and of faithful service to the Body of Christ and to the human family. I especially ask us to pray for those living the consecrated life within this diocese and, in your name and mine, I thank each of them for their service here” (statement for World Day for Consecrated Life, 2011)