Consecrated Life in today’s Church
Gospel, Prophecy, Hope.
Presentation of the Logo for the ‘Year of Consecrated Life’
“I want to say one word
to you and this word is joy.
Wherever consecrated people are,
there is always joy!”
A dove supports on one wing a polyhedral globe, and while resting on the water, it safeguards with the other wing three stars that arise from the water.
The Logo for the Year of Consecrated Life expresses through symbols the fundamental values of consecrated life. In it we recognize the “unceasing work of the Holy Spirit, who in every age shows forth the richness of the practice of the evangelical counsels through a multiplicity of charisms. In this way too he makes ever present in the Church and in the world, in time and space, the mystery of Christ” (VC 5).
In the lines that outline the form of the dove one can intuit the word ‘Peace’ in Arabic: this is a reminder that consecrated life is called to be the model for universal reconciliation in Christ.
The symbols of the Logo
The dove on the water
The dove is the classical symbol of the action of the Holy Spirit, who is the source of life and the inspirer of creativity. This is a flash-back to the origin of history: in the beginning the Spirit of God moved on the waters (cf Gen 1,2). The dove, gliding above a sea swollen with yet unexpressed life, symbolizes a patient and hope-filled fecundity, while the symbols around it reveal the creative and renewing action of the Spirit. The dove also evokes the consecration of the humanity of Christ through baptism.
The waters are made of mosaic fragments; they indicate the complexity and the harmony of the human and cosmic elements that are made to “groan” by the Spirit according to God’s mysterious plans (cf Rom 8, 26-27) so that they may converge into the hospitable and fruitful encounter that leads to a new creation. The dove flies among the waves of history, above the waters of the deluge (cf Gen 8, 8-14). The men and women, whose consecration was marked by the Gospel, have always been pilgrims among the nations; they live their various charismatic and diaconal presence like “good administrators of the multiform grace of God” (1Pt 4,10); they are marked by the Cross of Christ, even unto martyrdom; they journey through history equipped with the wisdom of the Gospel; indeed, a Church that embraces and heals all that is human in Christ.
The three stars
These stand for the identity of consecrated life as confessio Trinitatis, signum fraternitatis eservitium caritatis. They express the circular relationships found in the Trinitarian love, which consecrated life is called to live daily in the world. The stars also hint to the triple halo used in the Byzantine iconography to honor Mary, the Mother of God, the first Disciple of Christ and model and patron of every consecrated life.
The polyhedral globe
The small polyhedral globe symbolizes the planet with its myriad variety of nations and cultures, as explained by Pope Francis (cf EG 236). It is the breath of the Spirit that sustains it and leads it towards the future: an invitation to all consecrated persons “to become bearers of the Spirit (pneumatophoroi), authentically spiritual men and women, capable of endowing history with hidden fruitfulness” (VC 6).
Vita consecrata in Ecclesia hodie
Evangelium, Prophetia, Spes
(Consecrated life in today’s Church
Gospel, Prophecy, Hope.)
The headword provides a further highlighting of the identity and prospective, experience and ideals, grace and journey that consecrated life has lived through and is still living within the Church as people of God, as it journeys together with the different nations and cultures toward the future.
Evangelium: this indicates the fundamental rule of consecrated life, which is the “sequela Christi as taught by the Gospel” (PC 2a). First of all as “a living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting” (VC 22), and then as vital wisdom in the light of the multiple counsels that the Lord gave to his disciples (cf LG 42). The Gospel shows the way ahead and is a source of joy (EG 1).
Prophetia: reminds us of the prophetic character of consecrated life, which “takes the shape of a special form of sharing in Christ’s prophetic office, which the Holy Spirit communicates to the whole People of God” (VC 84). This is an authentic prophetic ministry that is born from the Word and is nourished by the Word of God when this is welcomed and lived out in the various circumstances of life. This function is carried out through courageous denunciation and in announcing new ‘visits’ by God; also, “through the exploration of new ways to apply the Gospel in history, in expectation of the coming of God’s Kingdom” (ibid.).
Spes: reminds us of the ultimate fulfillment of the Christian mystery. We are living through an era that is characterized by widespread uncertainties and a lack of projects with a long-term vision: hope is needed in a context of cultural and social fragility, at a time when the horizon is dark because “it often seems that the signs of God’s presence have been lost from sight” (VC 85). Consecrated life is permanently projected toward the eschatology: it witnesses that every hope will eventually have its definite fulfillment, and transforms the waiting “in work and mission, that the Kingdom may become present here and now” (VC27). As a sign of hope consecrated life needs to be close to people and to show mercy; to be a paradigm of a future free from all kinds of idolatry.
“Encouraged by the charity that the Holy Spirit pours in our hearts” (Rm 5,5) the consecrated persons are therefore called to embrace the universe and to become a memorial of the Trinitarian love, catalysts of communion and unity, praying sentries on the peak of history, and to become one with humanity in its anxieties and in its silent search for the Spirit.