Pope Recalls 3 Purposes of Consecrated Life Day

Says World Is Better Off Because of People Dedicated to God

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today recalled the three aims for the Church’s annual celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life, noting the day is address to God, the faithful, and consecrated persons themselves.

Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, was designated by Pope John Paul II as the World Day of Consecrated Life. This year, the 14th world day is being celebrated.

Benedict XVI recalled during his vespers homily that the “purpose of this day is threefold: first of all to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; in the second place, to promote the knowledge and appreciation by all the People of God; finally, to invite all those who have fully dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has operated in them.”

Offering a commentary on the liturgical text from the Letter to the Hebrews, the Holy Father said: “If Christ was not truly God, and was not, at the same time, fully man, the foundation of Christian life as such would come to naught, and in an altogether particular way, the foundation of every Christian consecration of man and woman would come to naught.”

Reciprocal seeking

He reflected how consecrated life expresses the “reciprocal seeking of God and man, the love that attracts them to one another.”

The Pontiff went on to note the emphasis on trust in the verses from Hebrews.

He said consecrated persons have “approached with full trust the ‘throne of grace’ that is Christ, his Cross, his Heart, to his divine presence in the Eucharist. Each one of you has approached him as the source of pure and faithful love, a love so great and beautiful as to merit all, in fact, more than our all, because a whole life is not enough to return what Christ is and what he has done for us.”

The Bishop of Rome expressed his wish “to raise to the Lord a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for consecrated life itself.”

“If it did not exist,” he said, “how much poorer the world would be! Beyond the superficial valuations of functionality, consecrated life is important precisely for its being a sign of gratuitousness and of love, and this all the more so in a society that risks being suffocated in the vortex of the ephemeral and the useful.

“Consecrated life, instead, witnesses to the superabundance of the Lord’s love, who first ‘lost’ his life for us.”

“Full of trust and gratitude,” Benedict XVI said, “let us then also renew the gesture of the total offering of ourselves, presenting ourselves in the Temple. […]

“Let us carry out this interior gesture in profound spiritual communion with the Virgin Mary: While contemplating her in the act of presenting the Child Jesus in the Temple, we venerate her as the first and perfect consecrated one, carried by that God she carries in her arms; Virgin, poor and obedient, totally dedicated to us because totally of God.

“In her school, and with her maternal help, we renew our ‘here I am’ and our ‘fiat.'”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28233?l=english

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