In his latest work, Pope Francis affirms, “Without passionate love for Jesus, a future for consecrated life is not possible.”1 Such a vigorous statement propels us forward with enthusiasm into the New Year. I dare propose these three words as wishes for 2019 : passion, love, Jesus.
First of all, passion. Pope Francis, a great soccer fan, doesn’t hesitate to compare a consecrated person with a goalie. The goalie has to keep his eye on the ball at all times and isn’t afraid to throw himself in whatever direction it comes from. Thus, the consecrated person must never lose sight of the One she/he is committed to. Passion is the motor of one’s existence. It renews our strength and makes us forget our fatigue. Without passion, boredom and monotony creep in, we accomplish a succession of duties but without joy. Yet, it is the sparkle in our existence that can make it attractive for others.
Next, love. All throughout the year, consumer society offers us fleeting pleasures that come crashing in on us like waves against the rock of our commitment. And yet, as religious we have made the vow to love without letting ourselves be misled by possessions, power and pleasure. But, the temptation is great to lower one’s ideal, to reduce one’s desire to a life of comfort with few worries. It is love that makes us want to live and serve. It is love that gives us the desire to commit ourselves forever.
At last, Jesus. He is the only reason for the existence of consecrated life. He is its source and its goal. It is the name that is spoken softly, in season and out of season, by a heart smitten with God. Jesus is he who saves us from our alienations, who draws us outside of ourselves, so that with burning hearts, we may show the way to others… The road of lasting happiness.
This is the remedy for the wear and tear of consecrated life, a rust inhibitor for our Congregation : passionate love for Jesus. And these are my wishes for the New Year : For all of us, I wish a heart smitten with passionate love for Christ, and the future of our Institute will be ensured !
Sr. Anne Chapell – Angelica n°51 – January 2019