Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple; it is also the World Day for Consecrated Life and we are invited to reflect on what is entailed in being consecrated to God. Specifically today is for those who live a life as consecrated religious, but all of us who live a life of consecration to God and to the spreading of God’s kingdom can feel that today is also our day and that we are invited to renew our baptismal commitment. Our founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, intuited that all are called by God to be his collaborators, co-workers in his ongoing work of salvation.
On the World Day for Consecrated Life in 2008, ten years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us all that “the Holy Spirit attracts persons to live the Gospel in a radical way, to found a new religious family which becomes a ‘living exegesis’ of the Word of God, and that the mystery of Christ is reflected in the new foundation” and then he cited our founder “St. Vincent Pallotti said: “Since the life of Jesus Christ is the fundamental rule of our small congregation … we must aim at what is most perfect always and in everything.”
The perennial call to all the Pallottine family is to centre all of our lives on the life of Jesus Christ, on the imitation of Jesus in the every aspect. Pope Francis delivered an inspiring yet challenging homily at the World Day for Consecrated Life in 2017, he invited us to echo the hymn of blessing and praise of Simeon in the Temple, “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light…”. And, he noted that Simeon’s canticle is the hymn of the believer because God never deceives us. He went on “We have inherited this hymn of hope from our elders, we are part of this process, they embodied this praise, and we are heirs to the hope that did not disappoint our founding mothers and fathers, our older brothers and sisters. They had the courage to dream … we do well to take up the dreams of our elders and once more encounter what originally set our hearts on fire.” He urged all the consecrated to resist the temptation of ‘survival’ which robs consecrated life of vitality and life and a forward- looking outlook, and which ‘robs our charisms of power and of their original creative force’.
We members of the Pallottine family have received a charism which I recently heard described as ‘fascinating’; today is another opportunity to remember our origin and to allow the power of the charism entrusted to St Vincent to continue to grow in our world. Pope Francis indicates a path “put ourselves with Jesus in the midst of his people,” and with all that entails.
Happy World Day for Consecrated Life.
Derry Murphy, SAC.