It is not true that the Consecrated Life is dying. Rather, we understand that it is actually in a period of transformation and is always moving towards the goal to live and act in order to give witness, writes Josephite Sister Maria Cecilia Paiva Huaringa.
As Religious, we are, as Pope Francis says, living in this world to embody the Good News of Christ, who died and rose again.
So, it is not true that the Consecrated Life is dying. Rather, we understand that it is actually in a period of transformation and is always moving towards the goal to live and act in order to give witness.
What is happening? In Consecrated Life, the greatest challenge facing us is the change of attitude among those around us. As a witness of Jesus, Religious Life continues to hold a real attraction for some people. As well, in his encyclical, Laudato Si', Pope Francis invites us, in our common home, to consider the social value and the wonder of our natural world and to do what we can to protect it.
We must mark our implementation of our actions with the joyous freedom of our religious vows, because we have left our people and other important things for something that appears worthwhile to us: Jesus and his mission. Furthermore, those in religious life, by showing brotherliness and sisterliness, accept others without judging them.
Do you make judgments about other people? Obviously not. It is much better for us to see in each other the image of God. God has never told us that we are superhuman. Rather, we are called to live with the simplicity of love, so that every day we make a constant commitment to follow Christ, a loving Christ, with the passion of a young heart, throbbing with the truth of Christ.
There has been enough of people lamenting and saying, “Ah, there are no values now!” Nothing is farther from the truth, because today values are more alive than ever. It is rather that we fail to live according to these values in our everyday lives. We know that these values exist and will continue to exist until the end of time, because good will always exist.
What may cease to exist is love in our hearts and that will be because we do not cultivate it as well as did the martyrs and saints. These include Saint Mary MacKillop, who showed great love for everyone she encountered, both within and outside her convent. Father Julian Tenison Woods also showed there was space in his heart for the neighbor and the needy, and in his time he worked as a witness to a Jesus who loved unreservedly.
In her life, Mary MacKillop showed us how to keep a proper balance between community life and mission. The one does not exclude the other and she demonstrated this fact by living continuously in Christ, dying to sin rather than living at a distance from God.
As women living a Consecrated Life, we experience seeing in the other person the face of God. Therefore, the size of the good deed we do is not important. Rather it is the intensity of the love we put into that deed. In spreading the Kingdom of God, we are not alone. Jesus, our loving spouse, is always with each one of us. The challenges we face are present in every moment of our Consecrated Life. We are not perfect people, but yes, we are followers of Jesus, always swimming against the tide, facing all for love.