VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Love is the only key to understanding a life given completely to God, said Benedict XVI on the eve of the World Day of Consecrated Life.
The Pope said today to the thousands who gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus that many of the saints of history were members of religious congregations.
In particular, the Holy Father mentioned St. John of God, St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Joseph Cottolengo, St. Luis Orione and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
“These men and women, whom the spirit of Christ molded, making them models of evangelical commitment, lead us to consider the importance of the consecrated life as expression and school of charity,” said the Pope.
The Second Vatican Council emphasized that “the imitation of Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience is totally oriented to attaining perfect charity,” he said.
“To highlight the importance and value of consecrated life,” said the Pope, “the Church will celebrate next Feb. 2 — feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple — the Day of Consecrated Life.”
“In the afternoon, as Pope John Paul II liked to do, I will preside at the holy Mass in the Vatican basilica, to which consecrated men and women who live in Rome are especially invited,” said the Pontiff.
“Together we will thank God for the gift of consecrated life and pray that it will continue to be an eloquent sign of his merciful love in the world,” he said.
The Holy Father invoked Mary, “mirror of charity,” so that, “with her maternal help” she might “help Christians, and the consecrated in particular, to walk swiftly and joyfully on the path of holiness.”
Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life in 1997.