Last night, with a prayer vigil in St Peter’s basilica, the concluding event for the Year of Consecrated Life started: Consecrated Life in Communion. A common foundation in the diversity of styles. “The beatitudes are, here and now, the path to a full and joyful life” – Mgr Carballo OFM, Secretary of CICLSAL said in his homily – “Joy is not a possibility but a responsibility for the consecrated person. If we believe that God can fill our hearts and make us happy; if we believe that the brothers and sisters God has given us are gifts from him (…) then we cannot but share with the world the gift of our joy in Christ”.
Today also began with this point about joy, introduced by the presentation of His Excellency Joao Braz de Aviz, the Prefect of CICLSAL: “As consecrated people, we have to show that God can fill our hearts and make us happy”, exhorting everyone to unity and fraternity, to living a spirituality of communion in the Church.
To follow, to listen and to welcome the other: this is the style of Jesus that consecrated men and women are called to learn, said Fr Theobald SJ during his talk. Consecrated to the service of what is happening where they live and work; witnesses of fraternity which, if lived authentically, becomes an ‘alternative’ way of life; men and women who look to the future with the prophetic gaze of one who sees the Holy Spirit continuously working and enriching the Church with new charisms.
The invitation to live the contemplative life of Jesus comes from the presentation of Maria Grazia Angelini SOB and Miguel Marquez Calle OCD. Contemplation does not take us out of the world but inserts us fully into it: “God lives and works in the world – Angelini explains – and places us in the original state of contemplating. It is not an activity, a state of life, but a way of being that shines in itself: it is the unifying act of believing. The Spirit is working and leads us to what is essential, that is, to follow the Teacher”.
Contemplation is “a source of morning grace full of mercy….. that is always awaiting us” Miguel Marquez Calle explains, that is seen and recognised in witnesses to holiness throughout history, from St John of the Cross to our own days: “A mother is contemplative: whilst busy with many things her heart is full of her son/daughter…. wherever she is… she does not forget her child but carries him/her all the time, just like God who carries each one of us with Him and who loves us, with the same love that he has for His Son. This love of God is the beginning and end of any contemplation”.