February 4, 2014 – Excerpted from Put Out Into the Deep, Bishop DiMarzio’s column in The Tablet:
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Last November, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis declared a Year of Consecrated Life beginning on that day and to continue until Feb. 2, 2016, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. As a religious, Pope Francis understands, perhaps better than many, the gift of consecrated life to the Church, as well as the difficulties of leading a consecrated life in the world today. In perhaps his most telling statement in his Apostolic Letter to all consecrated people he said, “I am counting on you to wake up the world, since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy.” Wake up the world. Make the world realize that the true content of the Gospel is the work of religious as it has been in the past, is presently, and will be in the future of the Church.
The Holy Father outlined three aims or goals for the Year of Consecrated Life. First, is to look back on the past with gratitude; to recognize the great contribution that religious have made to the life of the Church over the past centuries. A humble evaluation of past contributions is necessary so that we can set our sights on the future. Second, is to live the present with passion gratefully remembering the past but recognizing that the essential aspects of consecrated life are much needed in the Church today. The Holy Father makes it clear “… the Gospel is truly the ‘manual’ for our daily living and the decisions we are called to make.” Consecrated religious take the evangelical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their following of the Gospel is complete and gives to the world a witness that is unique. So the Holy Father reminds religious: “The Year of Consecrated Life challenges us to examine our fidelity to the mission entrusted to us.”
Read the full text of the Bishop column on The Tablet website.