a world disrupted by war, terrorism, and oppression, the call
and challenge comes to Religious Communities to become instruments
of peace, to partake in the ministry of reconciliation by
prayer and service, both in the Church and throughout the
world. The vowed life of poverty/simplicity, chastity/celibacy,
and obedience frees us from the strictures of our culture:
love of money and wealth, status, and power. Through
our vowed life in Community we are led to reach out to the
poor, the sick, the hungry, and those in prison, whether materially
or spiritually speaking, the fringe people who are our brothers
and sisters. It enables us to stand in the breach between
races, nations, and faiths, by prayer and/or action.
Through prayer, worship, and the nourishment we receive through
the Sacraments, we are strengthened "to go forth to every
part of the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole
How great is the need in our world today.
Life in community is not always easy. That too is part
of the challenge. God sends a variety of individuals
with different backgrounds and personalities which often rub
up against each other in trying to live together and form
community. Each person, however, who God sends, despite
our wants and weaknesses, is a gift to the Community.
Each of us is meant to grow into what God would have us be,
that unique person made in His image, but we do not do this
alone but in the company of those with whom we live.
As we live in Community, we find our common unity in Christ.
Our common bond is the love of Christ, and by the gift of
the Holy Spirit we become one in Him.
In the world, and even in the Church, we find division between
the rich and the poor, the haves and have nots, between men
and women, heterosexual and homosexual persons, between clergy
and laity, between races, and between the first world and
the two-thirds world. We struggle with institutionalize,
legalisms, individualism, and the depressing pile of papers
which keep us buried and not free to respond to the needs
of our fellow men and women. As Religious we are called
to break those barriers of fear that paralyze us, to live
as free men and women in Christ, to conquer by the power of
the Holy Spirit the evils and temptations that constrict us,
and this we do both as individuals, men and women of faith,
and in Community.
the Religious Life is a call to commitment to God in the unstable
life that often surrounds us. Can we give ourselves to God,
become carriers of the love of Jesus who died on the cross
for us and all we meet, even in the midst of those who reject
us? The call to live in Community, the call to commitment
to God, to live the life of the Gospel is a challenge to all
who receive a vocation to Religious Life today, and always
has been. To answer that call may take us many places we never
dreamed of going, to do things we never imagined we could
do, and to live each day, often in an unexpected way. It is
may sometimes prune us. As the gardener prunes the plants
so that they may grow more fully, God trains us in the way
we are meant to grow. We may be sent where we would rather
not go. As we share in His ministry, we may experience disappointments
and failures, but his Spirit is there to guide us despite
whatever obstacles we meet. They may indeed be stepping stones
across the river and currents that we need to cross to strengthen
us for the adventure.
as Religious in Community share in his ministry, whatever
form it takes, we too will share in his passion and grace.
The way of the world often will be against us. We will be
rejected, and rejection hurts. It may, indeed, break us, but
through the breaking, as the bread of his Body is broken in
the Eucharist, we will become instruments of reconciliation,
of healing, and particle of his Body that leads to the transfiguration
of the world.