“Your vocation, dear brothers and sisters, has led you to religious profession, whereby you have been consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church, and have been at the same time incorporated into your religious family. Hence, the Church thinks of you, above all, as persons who are ‘consecrated’: consecrated to God in Jesus Christ as His exclusive possession.” (John Paul II, Redemptionis Donum, 7)
Our consecrated life is a deepening of our baptismal consecration. In baptism, we reject evil and sin and are imbued with His Divine Life. In religious consecration, we forsake all, even that which is good “for the sake of the Kingdom” and are set apart for Him. By our vows, our very lives become an act of worship, a gift of ourselves as a sacrificial offering to Him.
In imitation of Christ, the poor, chaste and obedient One, we profess the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. The ever deepening interior transformation into Christ is shown by the witness of our lives and the joy of the Holy Spirit who fills us. By our vow of chastity, we forego the beauty of earthly marriage in order to give ourselves wholly, with an undivided heart, to God who is infinite beauty and love. By our vow of poverty, we proclaim that Christ is the “pearl of great price,” the true treasure to which no earthly thing can compare. By our vow of obedience, we unite our very wills to Christ who had no other food than to do the will of His Father. Thus we discover the freedom of the children of God.
Consecrated life is a radical surrender to the divine Bridegroom, an act of profound trust, witnessing to the fact that ultimately all things are dependent upon Him. This complete surrender frees us to serve Him with our whole being.
Through our consecrated life, we make visible the mysteries of heaven, for we are already drawn, here and now, into a spousal union with Christ. We foretell the future glory of the beatific vision where man will “neither marry nor [be] given in marriage” (Mt 22:30), for all will be the bride of the Lamb.