Honoring Their Vows
This is a year to celebrate consecrated life. It’s a year to be thankful that so many women and men have given themselves to the Lord’s service through evangelical councils. By taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, men and women have deepened their baptismal calling and given their lives in service and love to assist the people of God.
It is through the vow of poverty that the lives of religious people stand in witness against the materialism and consumerism that can dominate our lives. Instead, this witness reminds us that our true home is in heaven and we are but pilgrims here on earth. Consecrated women and men own nothing personally, but as a community find that their needs are fulfilled. This reminds us that in the community of the Church we will find our deepest longings fulfilled.
It is through the vow of chastity that consecrated women and men profess their one true love, Christ. They follow the Good Shepherd wherever he may lead. It is their loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion that inspire the people of God to dedicate themselves ever more to Christ. Having given their mind, body, and soul to the Lord, consecrated women and men celebrate an intimate relationship with the Lord that brings them hope, peace, and love.
It is through the vow of obedience that consecrated women and men remain faithful to all that has been revealed about God through Jesus Christ. The very mission of Jesus Christ has been given to the Church, and so consecrated women and men follow unreservedly all the teachings of the Church and are faithful to the charism to which they have been called. These vows remind us that we, too, should be faithful followers of the Church and proclaim the Good News we have received so that all of the world may follow the path of salvation that God has granted us.
Not only do we give thanks for the consecrated life and the witness that the evangelical vows give to our lives, but we also look hopefully to the future. It is through the witness, evangelization, and prayers of consecrated women and men that the Church continues to grow and provide for our needs. The consecrated life is a constant witness that our happiness is not found in the pursuit of power, property, or prestige, but only in knowing, loving, and serving the Lord. May God continue to call women and men to the consecrated life, and may they find the courage to answer that call in hope, love, and joy. c