Rome (Italy). On 2 February 2023, on the liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the 27th Day of Consecrated Life is celebrated, established by St. John Paul II in 1997.
In a Letter addressed to all consecrated men and women, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and the Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, Prefect and Secretary of the Dicastery of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, explain the aim of this day:
“With this Day, we gratefully recall the immense grace of our vocation to be a living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting” (Vita Consecrata n. 22) and, aware that His grace is enough for us (cf. 2 Cor 12 :9), we ask with humility and trust, to experience the gift of fidelity and the joy of perseverance.
This Day unites all the communities of consecrated life spread throughout the world, pilgrims on the earth that sustains us and in which we live in this history the questions us with its challenges. God continues to call us to consecrate our life in the various expressions that complement and enrich each other, and that are above all, a gift for the Church.”
They also recall the ongoing synodal journey, which guided the previous messages and, in continuity, clarify this year’s theme, relating to mission:
“Widening the tent” is an attitude at the heart of missionary action, as the title of the Working Document for the continental phase of the Synod reminds us. The mission leads us to the fullness of our Christian vocation, it gives us the opportunity to return to God’s style that “is closeness, compassion, and tenderness” which is expressed in words, in presence, in bonds of friendship.
If, as Pope Francis says, “Mission is the oxygen of Christian life; it invigorates and purifies it” to live the mission as consecrated persons “in God’s way”. There is need for the breath of the Holy Spirit” that it may oxygenate our consecration, widen our tent, and not allow the desire to go out and join others to proclaim the Gospel to fade or eclipse; may it rekindle the missionary fire in us. He is the true protagonist of the mission and at the same time, the One who maintains the freshness of our faith so that it does not wither.”
Thus, there are some questions relating to their own life in the Spirit, in relation to the mission, including, “Are we willing to ‘widen our tent’, to walk together? And above all, is it the Person of Jesus, His sentiments, His compassion, that moves our hearts?”
Consecrated persons are, in fact, those who have assumed the same sentiments of Jesus to the point of giving their lives for their brothers and sisters. For this reason, the Day also has the purpose of celebrating their blood shed in union with Christ, “more eloquent than any discourse on the mission”.
Consecrated life is a free gift of grace which cannot be kept for oneself, but must be placed at the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church. “We who touch the suffering and glorious flesh of Christ in the history of each day let us widen our tent and thus share a destiny of hope, that indubitable note that comes from knowing that we are accompanied by the Lord.”
“The mission expands the space of our tent and teaches us to grow in sincere harmony, strengthening ties, walking together, with Mary’s solicitude and her profound joy. Together, in communion and participation, we are God’s Mission!” is the conclusion of the Letter from the Prefect and the Secretary of the Dicastery.
On 2 February 2023, in the absence of the Holy Father due to his apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the Eucharistic Celebration will be presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz in the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major, at 6pm.