This year, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2, consecrated men and women celebrated the closing of the year dedicated by Pope Francis to Religious Life. In Tulsa, Bishop Slattery invited all the faithful who have embraced this spirit of the different religious rules in the Third Order, and all brothers and sisters of the diocese to participate in a Holy Mass with a reception following. It was a joyous occasion and many attended.
Fr. Elkin Gonzales gave an inspirational homily reflecting both the beauty of religious, consecrated life and the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. He said, “Today the Church rejoices in that sacred event in which Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple to be consecrated according to the Law of the Lord. How appropriate it is to exalt the beauty of consecrated life on the day we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord. To be consecrated is to be set apart for a holy task. It is a divine act by which a person is dedicated specifically to the Lord. All of us, by virtue of our baptism, have been consecrated to the Lord. Consecrated life is a way to perfect our baptismal nature. It is a way to die to ourselves and to live according to the new life we have been given in Christ. It is a radical commitment to live the virtues of the gospel with the sole intention to make God’s holiness visible in a world disfigured by sin, hatred, and indifference.” Pope Francis used three words to describe Consecrated Life: Prophesy, Closeness, and Hope. Prophesy is to proclaim the name of God, and the only way to do it, is by cultivating our friendship with him through adoration and quiet contemplation; Closeness with those in need is what God taught when He sent Jesus to save us; and Hope is the virtue by which we dispel the darkness of fear and anxiety. The Holy Father also said, “Always say ‘yes’ to Jesus under any circumstances.”
Our consecration involves an identity and a mission. That identity and mission are a reflection of the true identity and mission of Christ in the world. Let us rejoice in the gift of our vocation. Together, consecrated religious men and women join all baptized Christians in celebrating the gift of life set apart for Christ, and the call to be light to the world.
- Sister M. Margaret, FSGM