General Theme for the Jubilee Year
“Alive to the Spirit of Fr. Claret: Remember, Rejoice, and Rejuvenate”
General Objective for the Monthly Recollections
“Remembering the blessings of the Lord for the fifty Years, being grateful for the growth achieved through pioneers and contribution of all the members, we rejoice in the Claretian vocation and move forward with strength and renewed vigour to face the emerging frontiers after the example of Claret.”
Specific Themes for the month of February Making sense of our vows today
Introduction: As consecrated life is a gift (cf. Mt 19:11), so also ‘the evangelical counsels are a gift of the Holy Trinity’ (VC. 20) to make this way of life attractive and powerful. Therefore, our life as consecrated persons is meaningful and witnessing in so far as we constantly and consciously make our choices according to the richness that we experience from these gifts. God has given these precious gifts to us and His power is hidden in them. How about uncovering these gifts and experience the fragrance and richness that can transform us and others? There is fear in many of us to uncover these gifts. The reason is perhaps we look at them as something not glamorous and not so relevant in the present context. But the fact is that, God made His transforming power freely and abundantly available in these gifts. They are indispensable to our life as missionaries just like the three stones in the fire-place are necessary to balance a cooking pot. Readings: Phil 3:7-8 “Yet whatever gains I had; these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Constitutions We aim to attain conformity to Christ by professing religious vows in a missionary community. We also pursue this conformity by the practice of other virtues and express it according to our gift in the Church (CC. 39).
Reflection: 1. St. Paul recounts the total turnaround in his life that took place at the time of his conversion. The person of Christ eclipsed all the privileges and positions he enjoyed before. This is a deep personal experience of being transformed into the likeness of the one he encountered (cf. Gal 2:20).
2. The evangelical counsels are the most powerful equipment that that God has selectively given to us consecrated persons to witness and bear fruits for his Kingdom here on earth. Therefore, we remain fit and ready as long as these gifts are part of us as armours in our striving against the false propaganda of the present days. Our Father Founder mentions in his writing that the observance of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience along with preaching and administration of sacraments are the most powerful means of attracting society to the path of righteousness (Works of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Vol. III, P. 489).
3. If the Lord directs us what not to take and what to take (to be poor) in our missionary journeys (cf. Mk 6:8-9), it is because he knows best what we really need in order to be effective and fruitful as we work in his vineyard. The mission is his and so we need more discernment (listening – obedience) before we employ anything however good they appear to be, so that we may not be lost in the ocean of endless cravings (unchaste life). True and lasting contentment comes from Him.
4. The world should be seeing the evangelical counsels in the life of a missionary more with their eyes than hearing with their ears or knowing with their minds. And so, let us pray together with our Father Founder, “O my Jesus, give me your holy grace so that I may imitate you perfectly in practicing all the virtues. As you well know, I can do all things with you and absolutely nothing without you” (Auto. 437). For personal reflection: Do we find joy and satisfaction in living our vows? What are the things that hinder us from cherishing the wealth that is available in these gifts? Are we proceeding the opposite direction or towards perfection that these gifts offer to us? As local communities and as a Congregation, what are the measures we need to take in order to help one another be enriched by the divine wealth that these gifs offer to us?
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