The different ways of life which, in accordance with the plan of the Lord Jesus, make up the life of the Church have mutual relationships which merit consideration. This page was last edited on 30 June , at In the unity of the Christian life, the various vocations are like so many rays of the one light of Christ, whose radiance "brightens the countenance of the Church.
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In our time there have arisen new expressions of consecrated life, in response to new needs of the Church. The consecrated life, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, "constitutes a closer viha and an abiding re-enactment in the Church"of the way of life which Jesus, the supreme Consecrated One and missionary of the Father for the sake of his Kingdom, embraced and proposed to his disciples cf.
Vita Consecrata - Table of Contents - IntraText CT
Like the three chosen disciples, the Church contemplates the transfigured face of Christ in order to be confirmed in faith and to avoid being dismayed at his disfigured face on the Cross. To concentrate on the divine beauty reflected in Mary and the fullness of human created beauty is to concentrate on the ideal and the goal of the Christian life.
This call is accompanied, moreover, by a specific gift of the Holy Spirit, so that consecrated persons can respond to their vocation and mission. In the light of that teaching it has been recognized that the profession of the evangelical counsels indisputably belongs to the life and holiness of the Church.
It proclaims the Holy Spirit as the principle of unity in the Church, wherein he ceaselessly raises up spiritual families and fraternal communities. The care and concern which these persons deserve arises not only from a clear obligation of charity and gratitude but also from an awareness that their witness greatly serves the Church and their own Institutes, and that their mission continues to be worthwhile and meritorious, even when for reasons of age or infirmity they have had to abandon their specific apostolate.
In recent years, one of the fruits of the teaching on the Church as communion has been the growing awareness that her members can and must unite their efforts, with a view to cooperation and exchange of gifts, in order to participate more effectively in the Church's mission. Mindful of the spiritual friendship which often united founders and foundresses during their lives, consecrated persons, while remaining faithful to the character of their own Institute, are called to practise a fraternity which is exemplary and which will serve to encourage the other members of the Church in the daily task of bearing witness to the Gospel.
But it is also a call to pursue competence in personal work and to develop a dynamic fidelity to their mission, adapting forms, if need be, to new situations and different needs, in complete openness to God's inspiration and to the Church's discernment. Those who vigilantly await the fulfilment of Christ's promises are able to bring hope to their brothers and sisters who are often discouraged and pessimistic about the future. Through monastic participation in the Paschal Mystery, by taking up the cross, they become bearers of the Spirit, engendering fruitfulness by unceasing praise, intercessions, counsels and charity.
An active and trusting relationship ought also to be maintained with the Episcopal Conference of each country.
I belong to one of them by observance, but to all of them by charity. Contemplation of the glory of the Lord Jesus in the icon of the Transfiguration reveals to consecrated persons first of all the Father, the Creator and Giver of every good thing, who draws his creatures to himself cf.
This Apostolic Exhortation aims at setting forth the results of the Synod of Consecgata on the consecrated life, thus completing the treatment of all three states of Christian life: In this attitude of submissiveness to the Father, Christ lives his life as a virgin, even while affirming and defending the dignity and sanctity of married life.
All About Mary
For the mission of the lay faithful, whose proper task is to "seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God",the consecration of Baptism and Confirmation common to all members of the People of God is a sufficient foundation. Hermits bear witness to the impermanence of the world and the fact that we must always remember: The equal dignity of all members of the Church is the work of the Spirit, is rooted in Baptism and Confirmation and is strengthened by the Eucharist.
In fact it is this threefold relationship which emerges in every founding charism, though with the specific nuances of the various patterns of living. In this way they will make a positive contribution not only to the growth of communion between Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Bishops, but also vtia the advancement of the mission of the particular Churches. The three disciples caught up in ecstasy hear the Father's call to listen to Christ, to place all their trust in him, to make him the centre of their lives.
It was my wish that the Synodal Assembly should include, together with the Bishops, a considerable number of consecrated men and women, in order that they too might contribute to the common reflection.
In recent years, many consecrated persons have become members of one or other of the ecclesial conswcrata which have spread in our time. The West has also known, down the centuries, a variety of other expressions of religious life, in which countless persons, renouncing the world, have consecrated themselves to God through the public profession of the evangelical counsels in accordance with a specific charism and in a stable form of common life, for the sake of carrying out different forms of apostolic service to the People of God.
As a way of showing forth the Church's holiness, it is to be recognized that the consecrated life, which mirrors Christ's own way of life, has an objective superiority. It is a source of joy and hope to witness in our time a new flowering of the ancient Order of Virgins, known in Christian communities ever consecrzta apostolic times.
Saint Bernard's words about the various Religious Orders remain ever timely: Monasticism and the contemplative life are a constant reminder that the primacy of God gives full meaning and joy vitaa human lives, because men and women are made for Conseccrata, and their hearts are restless until they rest in him.
To the degree that they deepen their friendship with God, consecrated persons become better prepared to help their brothers and sisters through valuable spiritual activities such as schools of prayer, spiritual exercises and retreats, days of recollection, spiritual dialogue and direction. Their fidelity to the one Love is revealed and confirmed in the humility of a hidden life, in the acceptance of sufferings for the sake of completing in their own flesh "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" Col 1: In fact, it is particularly vibrant in the monasticism of the Orthodox Churches, where it is an essential feature of their life.
Encouraged and regulated by the Second Vatican Counciland by subsequent documents,these bodies have as their principal purpose the promotion of the consecrated life within the framework of the Church's mission.