By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager
Over the weekend, religious women and men, as well as parishes throughout the world celebrated World Day for Consecrated Life.
Since 1997, World Day for Consecrated Life has been celebrated, alongside the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. (1) On the World Day for Consecrated Life, we pray for all who have made commitments in the consecrated life and thank them, as well as wish for them to be inspired by Jesus and respond to their vocation.
All religious women and men have a calling from God and a duty to live the call given to them, Sister Diane Forrest, O.P., said in her reflection at the Mass in Celebration of Consecrated Life for Religious in Rockland County at St. Francis of Assisi in West Nyack.
Below is Sister Diane’s full reflection:
Good Afternoon! My name is Sister Diane Forrest – a member of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt. I am delighted to be with you today (the WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE) and grateful as I greet you on behalf of the many religious communities serving the Church of Rockland County.
In the first Reading today, God is very clear in letting Jeremiah know that his call, his vocation began very early in the heart and mind of God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” Each of us is called to be that person and live the call given to us by God.
You may recall a television show “The West Wing.” Very often, as the characters faced the choices and challenges of working in the White House they were heard remarking: “I serve at the pleasure of the President.” Truly, each of us can say: “We serve at the pleasure of the God who loves us and calls us.”
Those of us who have been called to a vowed life of prayer, service and community believe that this call to consecrated life is not about what we want to do but about what God wants to do with us. You might say that each day begins with the prayerful question: “How do you need me today?” Whether it be caring for the earth, advocating on behalf of life, seeking justice in society, caring for the poor, the immigrant, the outcast, educating youth and adults – the call is as varied and different as each of us.
No one has expressed the depth, beauty and joy of answering God’s call to consecrated life better than Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister: “This is a wonderful life, a beautiful life. It is a happy life. It is a productive life. It is a meaningful life. It is a deeply spiritual life. It is a life worth giving one’s own life for."
We appreciate your presence here today and your support and prayers for us. We also appreciate your presence beside us as together “we serve at the pleasure of the God who loves and calls us.” You are always in our prayers as we heed the words of Pope Francis and seek “to embrace the future with hope.”
I consider myself a good Dominican, and I will probably hear about it later, but I leave you with the words of St. Francis of Assisi (a good friend, they say, of St. Dominic):
“Remember when you leave this earth you can take with you nothing you have received – only what you have given: a heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. May God bless you all!”