by Therese Ivers, JCL
The proclamation of the Year of Consecrated Life is exciting since it is the first of its kind. Because consecrated life is so misunderstood, it is important to debunk some myths floating about in the Church.
1) This is not about the diocesan diaconate or priesthood. The consecration of the sacrament of orders is NOT the consecration of persons referred to for Consecrated Life! The consecration of persons in the consecrated state is separate and different from the consecrations of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. It conforms a person more closely to the Church, the Bride of Christ. The sacrament of Orders conforms a man more closely to Christ the Bridegroom and Priest. Let’s be fair. We have already had a Year for Priests. Let consecrated life have its own chance for promotion this year, please.
2) This is not ONLY about religious life. Already, dioceses, vocation groups, and others are making a fundamental and unjust mistake in promoting this year as the year for Religious Life. No, no, no! This is a year for Consecrated Life. The Consecrated Life has many more forms in it than just religious life. The consecrated state has two forms that are older than religious life: hermits and sacred (consecrated) virgins! The consecrated form of life also has other ways of life that do not change one’s canonical state: secular institutes (they have a true consecration), societies of apostolic life (no consecration but an organized form of life that mimics religious life), and so on.
3) Consecrated life is not a “mere” devotional lifestyle. From the deafening silence in some diocesan vocation offices, it would appear that only marriage and the priesthood are valued enough to foster and promote. Consecrated life is ESSENTIAL to the life of the Church! It embodies the Church’s own bridal stance towards Christ! As St. John Paul II put it so well,
The idea of a Church made up only of sacred ministers and lay people does not therefore conform to the intentions of her divine Founder, as revealed to us by the Gospels and the other writings of the New Testament. -VC n. 29.
Coming next: What you can do for the Year of Consecrated Life
(c) 2014 by Therese Ivers, JCL All rights reserved.