In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.
The Holy See shared a letter to all in consecrated life in the church and they remind us of the challenges we are to engage with: “We are faced with a new call from the Holy Spirit. In light of the doctrine on the Church-communion, just as St. John Paul II urged consecrated persons to “be true experts of communion and to practice the spirituality of communion” (Vita consecrata, n. 46), Pope Francis, drawing inspiration from St. Francis, founder, and inspirer of so many institutes of consecrated life broadens the perspective and invites us to be architects of universal brotherhood, custodians of the common home: of the earth and of every creature (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’). Brothers and sisters towards all, regardless of faith, culture, and traditions, because the future is not “monochrome” (FT n. 100) and the world is like a polyhedron that lets its beauty shine through its different facets.
It is a question, then, of creating ways of accompanying, transforming, and creating; of developing projects to promote a culture of encounter and dialogue between different peoples and generations; of starting with one’s own vocational community and then reaching to every corner of the earth and every creature, because, never as during this pandemic, have we experienced how everything is linked, everything is related, everything is connected (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’).
“Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all” (FT n. 8). Therefore, in light of this dream that is entrusted to our hands, to our passion, and to our perseverance, this coming 2 February will once again be a beautiful feast to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of our vocation and mission!”
This lies at the heart of the missionary call of the Xaverian Missionaries in these times!