Click here for updates on campus operations and click here for updates on UD's journey to a safe return to campus in the fall. It is a large document of articles and covers, as far as possible, every form of consecrated life. Mary appears in articles 18, 23, 28, 34, 94, 95, 97, and In each case she is upheld as an example of the consecrated life - both in the active and the contemplative aspects - in relation to the Trinity and the Church, to prophetic witness and evangelization.
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In an act of love, Jesus took three of the disciples, Peter and James and John his brother with him to the top of Tabor. There in their presence he was transfigured. It was an act of love because the disciples still had before them the paradox of the mission of the one who they had left all to follow, a mission that was to end in total failure from a purely human point of view.
It was a journey in which they would discover deeply who they were, men blind to the truth of their own selves, cowards and sinners; at the same, men hungering and hoping for truth and love. Faced with the cross they would run away and leave Jesus alone at his most vulnerable moment. The transfiguration was a defining moment in their relationship with Jesus, in that, faced with these events they would find themselves hiding in fear but not despairing, sustained in these moments by having looked on the face of Christ, transfigured, beautiful.
Brothers, let us go up the mountain and be apart from all that the every day brings to occupy and preoccupy us. Let us call on the grace of God to permit us in this stage of your formation to rest the gaze of the eyes of our heart upon the transfigured face of Christ so that we may go down again renewed in the foundation of our religious life.
This document has a logic coming out of the Second Vatican Council. This identity is lived out intimately in responsible communion with the wider church and society. What is the specific state of life, vocation and particular mission of the religious today? What are we called to contribute to the Church, and through the Church, to humanity and human history? This questioning and ensuring endeavour to identify what is specific to the consecrated life comes also out of a crisis that the consecrated life has undergone since the Council and in which we are still living.
The crisis is an event of grace but also carries with it its own potential for peril. In the next conference we will look at this situation of today and attempt to draw out the prophetic response that the document offers. It forms part of salvation history because it has been specifically willed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself for the Church. From the first centuries of the Church, men and women have felt called to imitate the Incarnation of the Word who took on the condition of a servant.
They have sought to follow him by living in a particularly radical way, through monastic profession, the demands flowing from baptismal participation in the Paschal Mystery of his Death and Resurrection.
In this way, by becoming bearers of the Cross , they have striven to become bearers of the Spirit , authentically spiritual men and women, capable of endowing history with hidden fruitfulness by unceasing praise and intercession, by spiritual counsels and works of charity. The importance of consecrated life is situated in the Incarnation of the Word. Christ himself consciously chose for the sake of the kingdom of God to live chaste, poor and in obedience to his Father.
Consecrated men and women continue to make this historical way of life of Jesus Christ present in contemporary history. This makes sense only if this historical way of living of Christ two thousand years ago has an enduring relevance in every generation and thus making it a primordial an original experience of the human person.
This becomes a question of anthropology. It is into this I want to delve in these conferences. The introduction to the encyclical states the purpose of the document to be twofold. Firstly, to lead us to a deeper understanding of the gift of consecrated life in the aspects of consecration, communion, and mission.
Secondly, to help religious to discover further encouragement to face in a spiritual and apostolic manner the new challenges of our time. In view of the contemporary challenge facing our society and hence, in our daily living of our religious life, in regard to the crisis in sexuality I would like to endeavour to open up the insights of this encyclical in view of especially the counsel and vow of celibacy. Our living of celibacy is being subjected by contemporary society to a climate, an attitude, and an interpretation of suspicion.
Underlying this is a hermeneutics of suspicion. The writings of Pope John Paul II, and so this encyclical, rather portray a hermeneutics of trust , firstly in God as Creator, who has done all things well, and secondly and flowing from this, in the human person and his profound dignity and vocation. God breaks into history with the word: Rejoice! The angel Gabriel announces this good news to Mary. The history of Christianity begins.
We are called to live each Sunday Sunday being an extension of what is central to our year, Easter Sunday with the Easter announcement ringing in our ears of the victory of Life over death. Joy, hope, trust and thanksgiving Eucharist are the attitudes and experiences permeating the christian life. Yet we live in a new century, in a new millennium that has as its inheritance a 20 th century that entered into the tomb and remained looking among the dead for an answer, a meaning to life.
The precursor to the 20 th century, Friedrich Nietzsche , like the antithesis of the precursor to Christ, cried out: God is dead!
Having summoned the courage to declare that God is dead, Nietzsche is not full of optimism for his generation, as if having been unburdened and unshackled, they are now free to run wherever each one wants; each one free to create his own future and history. In The Gay Science he has his madman cry out:. What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Wither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually?
Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as though through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Walter Kasper in The God of Jesus Christ sums up well the prophetic program that Nietzsche proclaimed for this century:. An aim? The most important of these is his talk of the Superman in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
The figure of the Superman makes its appearance when the death of God has become a reality. Superman is the man who has overcome all the former alienations. He is the man who is at one with himself, who has overcome all tension and division between being and meaning; he is the man who has himself become God and replaced the vanished and slain God.
Only in order to become God could man kill God. The fruits of such a secular religion which our previous century has lived out is found in the many unmarked tombs of the holocaust wrought by the Nazi regime, the greater slaughter under Stalin, and the genocide in Cambodia. The ongoing silent slaughter of the unborn portrays a century that is looking for meaning in the tomb, incapable of welcoming life, trusting in the future. Pope John Paul II diagnosed well this malaise in an address to the European bishops at an Assembly when commenting on Europe approaching zero population growth.
He states that it is more than a case of modern man losing faith in God, rather, he has lost faith in his own self, in his own humanity. Losing sight of God man has lost sight of himself. He is not here; he has risen. There are two key text from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes which could serve as the foundation to all that is to be said in these conferences:.
The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.
It is not surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward.
Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled, by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.
As an innocent lamb He merited for us life by the free shedding of His own blood. By suffering for us He not only provided us with an example for our imitation, He blazed a trail, and if we follow it, life and death are made holy and take on a new meaning. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.
All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.
Such is the mystery of man, and it is a great one, as seen by believers in the light of Christian revelation. Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from His Gospel, they overwhelm us.
Christ has risen, destroying death by His death; He has lavished life upon us so that, as sons in the Son, we can cry out in the Spirit; Abba, Father! God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
For this reason, love for God and neighbour is the first and greatest commandment. To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. It will be to these two texts that I will return to frequently in the course of these conferences together.
They lay the basis for a Christian anthropology and from this, an anthropology of the consecrated life. Let us first go back to the analysis of the situation in which we find ourselves called to live our consecration in chastity, poverty and obedience today. Our generation, whether consciously or not, has embraced a practical atheism.
We have reduced our vision of reality, not by only a few degrees, but significantly. This reductionism, rationalism and relativism has its foundation in the philosophy, science and culture of previous centuries. We do not need to go into that for these conferences. While referring specifically to priestly formation I think it is easily applied to the consecrated life. It may be referring to the situation facing the young people, however we are catechised everyday by the same mediums, and unless we are ever vigilant they do have an effect.
So let us look briefly at the insights of this Papal encyclical. In articles 6 and 7 the Pope notes that today there is a deep and widespread search for God, seen in a thirst for the scriptures and the growth of sects. However, rationalism and its reductionism is still strong.
All About Mary
The exhortation is a post-synodal document. Its sub-title is "On the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world". In the consecrated life, individuals commit themselves to the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. Their lives testify to the values of the Kingdom of God  .
By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly "visible" in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven. In every age there have been men and women who, obedient to the Father's call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ, in order to devote themselves to him with an "undivided" heart cf. Like the Apostles, they too have left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves, as he did, at the service of God and their brothers and sisters. In this way, through the many charisms of spiritual and apostolic life bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit, they have helped to make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth, and in doing so have contributed to the renewal of society. Because the role of consecrated life in the Church is so important, I decided to convene a Synod in order to examine in depth its significance and its future prospects, especially in view of the approaching new millennium. It was my wish that the Synodal Assembly should include, together with the Bishops, a considerable number of consecrated men and women, in order that they too might contribute to the common reflection. We are all aware of the treasure which the gift of the consecrated life in the variety of its charisms and institutions represents for the ecclesial community.