Catholic Vocations
Archdiocese of Melbourne
The Year of Consecrated Life

 "What would become of the world if there were no Religious?" (Vita Consecrata 105).  Saint John Paul II is quoting Saint Teresa of Avila here - or rather, she is quoting her Lord.  Teresa's text itself (Life 32.11) is wonderfully disarming.  She is describing her first tremulous steps towards forming a freshly-committed community within the Carmelites.

Teresa relates how, having received Holy Communion, "His Majesty commanded me to work for this with all my strength, making me great promises," saying how well served he would be in the new community.  "That Christ would walk with us, and that it would be a star giving forth great splendour, and that, even though religious orders had relaxed their rule, I wasn't to think that he was little served in them; and what would become of the world if it wasn't for religious!"
Just as Teresa's head might be swelling at the thought of her reform, perhaps the Lord was telling her not to look down on the tarnished, half-baked, stumbling mass of religious thronging sixteenth-century Europe: for where would his Church be without them?
Such words from this towering Saint resonate with the experience of religious life today.  Rather than a crack regiment, we are tarnished, stumbling, infinitely varied, a pilgrimage of cripples leaning on each other in order not to fall over too often.  In short, nothing much to boast about or to hit the headlines.  Nevertheless, religious life is a precious fragrance which fills the Church, because the risen Lord walks among us, and he - his crucified, spousal love - is worthy of the whole of one's life.
“The Year of Consecrated Life”, by Fr. Iain Matthew ODC.
From the 2015 MAGNIFICAT February issue.
© MAGNIFICAT – Used with permission.
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