Monday, February 2, 2009

It's a wonderful life!

Today the Church celebrates the solemn feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The Scripture readings today remember that moment when Mary and Joseph took Jesus, then a little more than a month old, to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to God, His Heavenly Father. Their action was a response to the Law of Moses which required that every first born Jewish son be offered to the Lord.

We read in St. Luke’s Gospel the lovely story of the Presentation: "When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem (to the Temple) to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,' (Exodus 13:1-16) and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. (Luke 2:22-41)

Some 13 years ago, Pope John Paul II chose this beautiful feast as the occasion to celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life. What is the connection? Men and women who choose to give their lives to God in Religious Life, vowing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, are also formally consecrated and set apart for God’s service. This happens in the context of the Eucharistic Liturgy. I remember with great joy my own day of final profession when I knelt before the Bishop and gave my life to God.

Pope Benedict XVI, before his Angelus address on Sunday (Feb. 1) asked the faithful to pray for many new vocations to the consecrated life, saying they are “precious gifts to the Church.”

I invite everyone to thank the Lord for the precious gift of these brothers and sisters," the Pope added, "and to ask him, through the intercession of the Madonna, for many new vocations, in the variety of charisms with which the Church is rich."

To those of you who have ever considered Consecrated Life, I encourage you to respond if God is calling you to give your life in this way. It’s a wonderful life!

No comments: