May the Lord give you His peace!
Following Jesus is at the heart of the consecrated vocation. “The Son, who is the way which leads to the Father, calls all those whom the Father has given to Him to make the following of Himself the whole purpose of their lives. But of some, those called to the consecrated life, He asks a total commitment, one which involves leaving everything behind in order to live at His side and to follow Him wherever He goes”
(JPII - Vita Consecrata #18).
At the beginning of this month six of our brothers - following at least five years of preparation - made a total commitment in professing their final vows (photos here). The very next day we were blessed to witness six young women receive the veil and habit as they became novices within our sisters’ community. As each of these brothers laid down their life for Christ and as our new novice sisters heard the snip of their hair, the self-offering of each was made quite tangible.
One of the most profound signs of this self-offering comes during the final vows ceremony when those professing prostrate themselves on the floor of the church as the Litany of the Saints is sung. As they lay face-down and barefoot on the cool marble floor, we are reminded of how - for love of Christ - they are dying to themselves and the things of this world in order to rise with Christ in a new life of total freedom and joy. There is a profound freedom and joy in following Jesus.
However, this dying to self & the world did not begin on that day of final vows, but back on the day they first felt God inviting them to a different way of life and chose to follow Him. Isn’t that really what the discernment of a vocation is all about? We begin slowly dying to any plans, expectations, lifestyles, habits and things rooted in ourselves so that God’s plan and will can take over. Ask for God’s grace to release the white-knuckle grip you have on the steering wheel of your life - areas of your discernment that may not be of Him so that you can freely and joyfully take the next step toward whatever commitment He is ultimately asking of you. Be not afraid!
May the Lord bless you,
Br. Xavier Mariae Meiergerd, CFRSaint Joseph Friary
523 W. 142nd St.
New York, NY 10031
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