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2 Feb 2021

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

This day we also celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. 

In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world, and that we in turn are called to let our light shine before others. Those in consecrated life are also called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. 

“God enters the temple not as a powerful ruler but as a little child in his Mother’s arms. The King of glory comes not with a show of human force and power, not with a great fanfare and noise, not causing fright and destruction. He comes into the temple as he came into the world, as an infant in silence, in poverty, and in the company of the poor and the wise.” (Pope John Paul II, Homily, February 2, 1986)

On this day we pray for all those who have made commitments to the consecrated life. May we continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God's gift of our vocation! In our Rule of Life (No. 1) expresses it beautifully: 

"Following Jesus, we as Religious of the Assumption want to witness in a radical way to the new creation inagurated by baptism. Our life, in all its aspects, is ordered in relation to the demands of the Gospel. Our religious consecrations draws us at the deepest level of our being, into the very life and holiness of the Church. 

By giving ourselves without reserve to Jesus Christ, we dedicate our lives unconditionally to the building up of his Body, to the prophetic proclamation of the Good News and to the coming of the Kingdom. Our fidelity is supported by the faith of the whole Christian community and by the complementarity of vocations within the Church." 

"The encounter [of Simeon and Anna with the Lord] which is born of the call culminates in vision.  Simeon says: “My eyes have seen your salvation” (Lk 2:30).  He sees the Child and he sees salvation.  He does not see the Messiah who works miracles, but a small child... Simeon sees God’s simplicity and welcomes his presence.  He is not looking for anything else, is not asking or wanting for something more; it is enough to see the Child and take him in his arms: “nunc dimittis, now let me depart” (cf. v. 29).  God, as he, is enough for him.  In God he finds the ultimate meaning of his life.  This is the vision of consecrated life, a vision that is simple and prophetic in its simplicity, where we keep the Lord before our eyes and between our hands, and not to serve anything else.  He is our life, he is our hope, he is our future.  Consecrated life consists in this prophetic vision in the Church: it is a gaze that sees God present in the world, even if many do not notice him; it is a voice that says: “God is enough, the rest passes away”; it is praise that gushes forth in spite of everything, as the prophetess Anna shows.  She was a woman of great age, who had lived for many years as a widow, but was not gloomy, nostalgic or withdrawn into herself; on the contrary, she arises, she praises God and speaks only of him...

This then is the consecrated life: praise which gives joy to God’s people, prophetic vision that reveals what counts... Consecrated life is not about survival... but new life. It is a living encounter with the Lord in his people.  It is a call to the faithful obedience of daily life and to the unexpected surprises from the Spirit. It is a vision of what we need to embrace in order to experience joy: Jesus."

(From the homily of Pope Francis on 2 February 2019)

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