Did you know that Pope Francis declared that we should celebrate the consecrated life this year? I will admit that I did not hear about this until it had already started. This Year of Consecrated Life began on November 30, 2014 and will end on February 2, 2016. February 2, by the way, is the World Day of Consecrated Life. So it makes sense.
I don’t know about you, but I love celebrations! And I think it’s great that Pope Francis wants us to spend a year (actually it’s around 14 months) celebrating our brothers and sisters in Christ who have chosen a life dedicated entirely to God. I love that we are being asked to spend a year learning about the life of consecrated individuals and praying for and with them for more vocations. These men and women, often unseen by the world, dedicate their lives to Christ and often spend hours a day praying for us. Yes, us! Here is our chance to pray for them.
You might be asking, “So what is the consecrated life?” Luckily, I have some answers!
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the section “Forms of Consecrated Life”:
“The perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called, entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty and obedience. It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God.” (CCC 915)
“The state of consecrated life is thus one way of experiencing a “more intimate” consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.” (CCC 916)
The consecrated life can take many forms: hermits (CCC 920-21), consecrated virgins and widows (CCC 922-924), religious (CCC 925-927), secular institutes (CCC 928-929), and societies of apostolic life (CCC 930).
To help us celebrate this Year of Consecrated Life, I am planning some interviews with men and women who are living some form of religious life. Check in with Catholic Sistas regularly to see these interviews posted. My plan is one a month starting next month and going through January of 2016.
Please pray for those in consecrated life. I know they would appreciate your prayers. A prayer specifically for this year is available on the USCCB website along with a variety of other resources that I will list below.
USCCB Press Release, “Days with Religious”