Welcome to the fifth and final part of the Vita Consecrata Series! Thank you for joining us as we finish walking through Saint John Paul II’s reflection on what the consecrated life is and what role it plays in the Church and in the world.
In his conclusion for the exhortation, the late Holy Father responds to those who do not understand what the point of consecrated life is in today’s world. He relates their questioning to the Gospel story of the anointing at Bethany:
The precious ointment poured out as a pure act of love, and thus transcending all “utilitarian” considerations, is a sign of unbounded generosity, as expressed in a life spent in loving and serving the Lord, in order to devote oneself to his person and his Mystical Body. From such a life “poured out” without reserve there spreads a fragrance which fills the whole house. The house of God, the Church, today no less than in the past, is adorned and enriched by the presence of the consecrated life. What in people's eyes can seem a waste is, for the individuals captivated in the depths of their heart by the beauty and goodness of the Lord, an obvious response of love, a joyful expression of gratitude for having been admitted in a unique way to the knowledge of the Son and to a sharing in his divine mission in the world.
Consecrated religious reveal “the fatherly face of God and the motherly face of the Church” in the world. They are a gift, one that should be respected, supported through prayer, and encouraged as young people discern their own vocations. Our world needs these “joyful witnesses and prophets of the beneficent power of God’s love,” St. John Paul II writes, and it needs men and women who “are able to sow seeds of peace and fraternity.”
With prayers to the Holy Trinity and to our Blessed Mother, the late Holy Father ends his exhortation by encouraging consecrated religious to become more like Christ, to whom they belong. As we conclude this series, let us pray for this in the life of those who have given themselves completely to Him.
Saint John Paul II, in this Year of Consecrated Life, Pray for Us!