How time flies! Today it’s forty days after Christmas, a significant timespan. Forty days was the duration of the fast of Jesus and the time between his resurrection and ascension.
Today is also known as Candlemas Day marking the closure of Christmas as the season of light. Simeon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rejoiced that he had lived to see “a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel”.
In recent years this feast is celebrated as the Presentation of the Lord. Mary and Joseph observed the Jewish law that the firstborn of any family should be offered or presented to God in thanksgiving for the gift of life. Some people went further and made a presentation of themselves to God in the sense of dedicating their lives to the service of God. Nowadays this dedication is known as the Consecrated Life. Every person who has been baptized and confirmed is already consecrated with the Oil of Chrism, but the term Consecrated Life applies specifically to people who take vows or solemn promises to dedicate their lives to God’s service. Since the time of Pope John Paul II, this day is one of prayer for all in the Consecrated Life.
Pope Francis said that the task of the Consecrated Life is to wake up the world. People who dedicate their lives to the ideals of the gospel are a light to all of how to live in peace, justice, truth, joy, compassion and charity. A light to all nations.
GO FORTH! Remember the beauty of your first call. Jesus continues to call you today with the same full love and untamed grace
GO FORTH! There is always more to do, to encounter, to be grateful for, to be astonished by. Begin and end with the joy of prayer – the marrow of consecrated life.
GO FORTH! Each of us has a role to play in the Church. Witness and sow well each day, and look to tomorrow with hope.
GO FORTH! Grow in love for God so that others will be attracted by the divine light in you. Welcome the new vocations the Lord sends to continue the work of consecration.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and first disciple of her son, Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
(Prayer of Pope Francis at Fatima in a celebration of the Consecrated Life)
Brother Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.
Photo Credit: Patty Mooney / Flickr and www.americamagazine.org