Catholic Series: The Consecrated Life


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The Consecrated Life : 

The Consecrated Life Mr. Pablo Cuadra Religion Class

What is Consecrated Life? : 

What is Consecrated Life? A. Consecrated life or religious life is the total and radical dedication of one’s life to God and his kingdom. B. Consecrated persons are lay persons or clerics who assume the evangelical counsels by means of a sacred bond, and become members of an institute of consecrated life according to the law of the church (canon 573.2) C. This total dedication to God has as its goal the pursuit for perfection in charity by faithfully embracing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. D. In this sense, religious life is a free response to the invitation of the Holy Spirit to follow Christ the poor, the celibate, the obedient son, more closely , thus becoming in this life a sign of the life to come. E. Consecrated life emanates from our baptismal call to be “witness” and servants of Christ and his kingdom. F. Religious or consecrated life can be lived out in community or individually but always as an expression of the Church’s life, mission, service, and charisma. Father Benedict Groeschel Founder of the Franciscan Friars of the renewal

What are the evangelical Counsels? : 

What are the evangelical Counsels? A. The evangelical counsels are three: chastity, poverty, and obedience. B. These evangelical counsels are acts of supererogation .What does this mean? It means they are performed beyond what is required by God for our salvation. Hence, not necessary conditions without which eternal life cannot be attained. C. Unlike the precepts of the Gospel the evangelical counsels are not binding upon all the faithful.

Did you Know? : 

Did you Know? The Church distinguishes in the Gospel what Our Lord ordered everyone to do – an evangelical precept or command – and what He advised only some to do if they feel a special call to be perfect – an evangelical counsel. The most important precept is to love God above everything and one’s neighbor as oneself. It is called the Precept of Charity, or New Commandment, that confirms the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament.

The Evangelical Counsels“Poverty” : 

The Evangelical Counsels“Poverty” Poverty: dependence on God alone. Matthew 8:18-25 “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."  Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."  But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.“ Matthew 19:16-22 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"  "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired.    Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'  "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"  Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The Evangelical Counsels“Chastity” : 

The Evangelical Counsels“Chastity” Chastity: To live for God alone Matthew 19: 12 “because some men are celibate from birth, while some are celibate because they have been made that way by others. Still others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can." Matthew 19: 27-29 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"  Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Consecrated Virgin on the day of her consecration in the Archdiocese of Miami

The Evangelical Counsels“Obedience” : 

The Evangelical Counsels“Obedience” Obedience: submission to God alone. Philippians 2:6-9 Who, being in very nature God,  did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing,       taking the very nature of a servant,       being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man,       he humbled himself       and became obedient to death—          even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place       and gave him the name that is above every name, Matthew 16: 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

The Evangelical Counsels : 

The Evangelical Counsels "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24 Poverty: through poverty the religious person empties himself or herself from the need to possess in order to be possessed by God alone, who alone is the true treasure found in the field. Matthew 13:44 Poverty is lived out through a simple life devoid of excesses and luxuries. The religious person only needs what is required to subsist and to carry his or her mission of service to the Church. In this way the religious person becomes dependent on God alone and his divine providence.

The Evangelical Counsels : 

The Evangelical Counsels Chastity: is the special call to live for God alone. The ordering of one’s entire being and sexuality to the devotion, service and worship of God with an undivided concern and love for him. St. Paul says: “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

The Evangelical Counsels : 

The Evangelical Counsels Obedience: Submission to God alone. Through obedience the religious person subordinates his or her own personal plans or wants in order to be free to carry on the mission of the Church, wherever and whenever the Church’s mission of service needs him or her. Religious men or women are under the obedience of their religious superiors who are elected by the members of the religious community to guide and direct the mission of that particular religious community in the name of God and of the Church.

What are the forms of Consecrated Life? : 

What are the forms of Consecrated Life? A. The Eremitic or anchoritic life: -Hermits or anchorites B. Consecrated Virgins C. Monastic life: Monks, Nuns, Brothers D. Consecrated Lay persons and clerics: -religious sisters -religious brothers -religious priests E. Consecrated widows and widowers (Eastern Catholics).

Did you know? : 

Did you know? Although in daily parlance we call all religious women nuns. There is a technical difference between a nun and a religious sister. A nun is a woman who has adopted the monastic life and lives cloistered in a convent living a contemplative life of prayer. She is the female equivalent of a monk. A religious sister on the other hand, is a woman who has an active apostolate in the world and is not confined to the monastic life of a convent. In this sense, all nuns are sisters but nor all sisters are nuns. The male equivalent for a nun and religious sister is a religious brother. Brothers can be monastic or have an active apostolate in the world.

What are the two main expressions of consecrated life? : 

What are the two main expressions of consecrated life? There are two main expressions of consecrated life: A. Active or apostolic: This means the religious person serves the church in a particular ministry, for example: education, healthcare, or prison ministry among others. B. Contemplative or monastic: the religious person lives a monastic life dedicated to prayer for the church and the monastic community. This also includes manual labor for self-sustenance. C. Whether active or contemplative all religious share three basic characteristics: 1.The profession of the evangelical counsels. 2. Separation from the mundane. 3. Community life. Marist brother

How is the consecrated life structured? : 

How is the consecrated life structured? Consecrated life is organized and structured through different institutes or societies. These are: A. Religious Institutes B. Secular Institutes A third, called Societies of Apostolic life although it shares many common elements with religious institutes of consecrated life is not technically a form of consecrated life. Trappist Monks

What are religious institutes? : 

What are religious institutes? Religious institutes are communities of men and women religious who profess the evangelical counsels. They are divided into religious order and religious congregations. A. Religious orders: These institutes are the major expression of consecrated life, these institutes are historically older than religious congregations they appear at the beginning of the fourth century. Their members take solemn vows. Their members are called regulars, and if they are women they are called nuns. B. Religious congregations: These institutes appeared at the end of the 16th century and in the 17th century. The members of these congregations take simple vows. C. Religious orders and congregations can be clerical or lay.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? In the Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, public vows are either simple vows or solemn vows. Professed members of religious orders take solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience while members of religious congregations take simple vows. The practical difference lies in the vow of poverty. While in simple vows, a person maintains the right to own goods, he or she cedes their administration, in solemn vows a person renounces the right of ownership of goods.

Characteristics of religious institutes : 

Characteristics of religious institutes Religious institutes can be clerical or lay institutes. A. Clerical institutes are those governed by clerics, assume the exercise of sacred orders, and are recognized by the Church as clerical institutes. An example of this type of institute is the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Congregation of the most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). B. Lay institutes: an institute of religious life whose spiritual heritage does not include the exercise of sacred orders. An example of this type of institute are all the institutes of women and brothers religious. Marist brothers and the sisters of Mercy are an example of this type of institute.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? An institute of consecrated life is said to be of pontifical right if the Holy See has erected it or approved it through a formal decree. An institute of consecrated life is said to be of diocesan right if it is approved by the diocesan bishop. An institute approved by the bishop can petition for recognition by the Holy See, specially if the institute has grown significantly and expanded into other dioceses.

What are Secular Institutes? : 

What are Secular Institutes? Secular Institutes are the newest form of consecrated life within the Catholic Church. “They are in the world, but not of the world, but for the world.” Unlike religious institutes (orders and congregations), Secular institutes are not religious communities with a common house and public vows and financial responsibility for members. Instead, Secular institutes are organizations of like-minded Catholic laity or clerics who share a certain vision lived out personally, not communally. Unlike Societies of Apostolic Life, secular institutes are not an association with a singular missionary purpose in which all participate; instead they are committed to encouraging individuals striving for holiness in a vast variety of apostolates with common gospel values.

Secular Institutes : 

Secular Institutes A. Members of the secular institutes live out the evangelical counsels in the midst of the secular world, hence, the name secular institutes. B. Their mission is to evangelize the secular, to bring the kingdom of God into the spheres of their respective professions, relationships, and lives. C. Members of secular Institutes are lay people with regular professions and jobs. For example: He or she could be the paramedic saving your life or your children’s teacher or the lawyer handling your case or the firefighter responding to an emergency. He or she could be the bank teller handling your deposit or the mechanic fixing your car. He or she could be the receptionist at the office where you work or the doctor performing your surgery. He or she could be your next door neighbor or colleague. Members of secular institutes live alone in their homes or apartments or they may choose to share a residence with other members. They share fellowship through days or recollections, retreats, conferences and social meetings with each others.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? Secular Institutes were established in 1947 by Pius XII in his encyclical Provida Mater Ecclesia, making it one of the newest forms of consecrated life. There are approximately 60,000 members belonging to 20 secular institutes.

Societies of Apostolic Life : 

Societies of Apostolic Life Societies of Apostolic life are not technically a form of consecrated life although it shares many of the elements found in religious institutes such as the commitment to the evangelical counsels and living in community . However, their members are not called religious. Members of Societies of Apostolic life do not take religious vows. They can own property. Emphasis is given to the mission of the society. This mission could be : education, healthcare, missionary work etc. The society needs the permission of the local bishop in order to operate in a particular diocese. Like religious institutes their members can be clerical or lay. The life of the society is regulated by constitutions approved by the Church. An example of this type of society are the Maryknoll missionaries. Maryknoll Sister

Other forms of Consecrated life : 

Other forms of Consecrated life A. Order of Virgins (Consecrated virgins): A woman living in the world who has never married or lived in open violation of chastity, and who by age, prudence, and good character is deemed suitable for dedicating herself to a life of chastity in the service of the Church and of her neighbor may petition her bishop to receive the Consecration. She must be admitted to this Consecration by her local Bishop; it is he who determines the conditions under which the candidate is to undertake a life of perpetual virginity lived in the world. Usually, a woman who aspires to the Consecration works with a spiritual director and has lived a private promise of perpetual virginity for some years before seeking the Consecration of a Virgin. It is understood that a laywoman aspiring to the Consecration of a Virgin is able to support herself by work or pension or independent means and has provided financially for her medical care.   A woman aspiring to the Consecration should be practicing her faith. She accepts the teaching of the Church and Sacred Scripture, with a readiness and capacity for personal growth. She should be able to give herself totally to God and the Church. Source: (USACV) Consecrated Virgin on the day Of her consecration before the bishop

The Eremitic or anchorite Life : 

The Eremitic or anchorite Life This form of consecrated life pertains to hermit or anchorites. The eremitic or anchorite life is the oldest form of consecrated life in the church dating back to the third century. It is the first form of monastic life. Through this form of consecration the Christian faithful devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance" (cf. The Code of Canon Law, 1983, canon 603 §1). A hermit is recognized in the law of the Catholic Church "as one dedicated to God in a consecrated life if he or she publicly professes the three evangelical counsels, confirmed by a vow or other sacred bond, in the hands of the diocesan bishop and observes his or her own plan of life under his direction" (cf. canon 603 §2). Thomas Merton was a monk and a Hermit at one point.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? No one living as a hermit is forced to seek the Church's recognition. But if a hermit feels called to be recognized by the Catholic Church "as one dedicated to God in a consecrated life", with all the consequences this has, then it is an indispensable requirement of The Code of Canon Law 1983 that he or she professes the three evangelical counsels. A hermit without the Church’s recognition remains free to marry. One that is recognized by the Church requires an indult to be free from his or her promise to chastity.

Eastern Catholics : 

Eastern Catholics Did you know? Although the Latin Code of Canon law does not make provisions for widows and widowers. The Eastern Code of Canon Law (No.570) does make provisions for widows and widowers to be part of the consecrated life by a vow of perpetual chastity that allows them to dedicate their lives to prayer and the service of the Church. In the west, a widow or widower may seek admission into consecrated life either through a religious institute (orders or congregations) or a secular institute.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? Catholic religious orders and congregations have counterparts in the Anglican communion. For example, there are Anglican Benedictines and Franciscans among others. Some Lutheran denominations have monastic communities or religious men and women. Anglican monks

John Paul IIVita Consecrata : 

John Paul IIVita Consecrata The Consecrated Life, deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit. By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly "visible" in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven. In every age there have been men and women who, obedient to the Father's call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ, in order to devote themselves to him with an "undivided" heart (cf. 1 Cor 7:34). Like the Apostles, they too have left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves, as he did, at the service of God and their brothers and sisters. In this way, through the many charisms of spiritual and apostolic life bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit, they have helped to make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth, and in doing so have contributed to the renewal of society.

Are You interested in the religious life? : 

Are You interested in the religious life? Important Websites To learn about the monastic life

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