In 1997, Blessed John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for men and women in consecrated life and attached it to the Feast of the Presentation. How fitting on this feast that draws our attention to the light of the world that we should pray for members of consecrated life – called as you are to reflect the light of Christ to all peoples.
Treasure this journey, this inner pilgrimage, and hold close to your heart “the memory of the ‘first love’ with which the Lord warmed your hearts, not out of nostalgia but in order to feed the flame” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2013). I think that this inner pilgrimage calls us to silence and adoration. It is essential to our growth in faith and interior life to be still, to wait in silence, so that we can hear the Lord.
As in so many areas of our life, Mary is our model of faith and silence. How many times she remained silent in order to guard the mystery of the relationship with her Son and allow this mystery to grow and blossom in her. How often she treasured and cherished what was revealed to her even though she could not fully understand what she was being told or all that would be expected of her. But, she spoke her “yes” in faith. Nourish your faith by cherishing God’s word in silent adoration.
The New Evangelization “will be effective if it proclaims from the rooftops what it has first lived in intimacy with the Lord” (The Consecrated Life, Blessed John Paul II, 81). We cannot pass on what we do not have. Every consecrated life is a love story. In love God called you; in love, you responded. But love cannot remain stagnant. It must grow. Rekindle your love by a renewed personal encounter with Christ. “The Lord does not disappoint those who take the risk; whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms” (The Joy of the Gospel, 1).
Excerpts from the homily by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham to Religious Brothers, Sisters and Priests in Consecrated Life, given February 1, 2014.