Religious Life   Leave a comment

What is Religious Life?

The life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, is the model of religious life. The Bible forms the core of a sister’s reading, and it is at the heart of all her worship. Religious communities have a set written standard for life together, called a Rule, and the principles of religious life, as understood by the Church, may be found in Scripture, the Church’s pastoral teaching, and the canon laws of the eastern and western Church.

The unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit. 1 Corinthians 7:34 A person is consecrated to God specifically by the vow of chastity, for in this directing of human love, the human person gives the very substance and symbol of his or her self-giving nature, made to love and be loved. Because he or she gives up the very great good of marriage, it is understood that religious consecration is primarily for the sake of giving oneself to prayer, not for the sake of the work or the pursuit of material things, as is consistent with human dignity. Through vows, a religious commits her whole life to God. Freed from continuous search for security, the religious is able to grow, to take risks, and to reach out to others in love.

A material simplicity sets a consecrated person free from the tyranny of material things. Remembering that Christ emptied himself and took the form of a servant, a religious relinquishes the personal ownership of property and seeks to live in simple dependence on God in a family spirit with her community.

The vow of obedience sets a religious free from the selfish desire to have one’s own way. Complete surrender to God is a life-long task, but day by day, a sister or friar offers his or her will to God as he or she lives out the vow of obedience.

The religious life is, first of all, a life of prayer. A religious man or woman gives oneself to God and receives the outpouring of his love and grace. The religious speaks to him and listens to his voice.  The friar or sister prays for the Church and the world, uniting her prayers with Christ’s intercession before the throne of his Father. In  regular times of private and corporate prayer, the religious community finds the wellspring of life and the source of its witness and ministry. In a spirit of continual conversion, each religious strives to grow in love into a closer communion with The Divine Spouse.

The Holy Eucharist is central to the life of a religious community. Daily the religious offer all they are and do, and daily they are renewed and strengthened in Holy Communion. From the Eucharist, the individual religious takes  courage, joy, strength and the tenderness of the love they lavish on others.

The Divine Office is the Church’s constant sacrifice of praise, as the sisters join their praise with that of the whole Church on earth and in heaven. As the community meets  together at regular times for prayer, they recall from Psalm 113: “From the rising of the sun to its going down, let the Name of the Lord be praised!”

Daily meditation time before the Blessed Sacrament is a great source of the religious’ tendemess and fruitfulness, for as the sun is the source of all energy and warmth, so Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, is the source of all grace and love.

Times and places of silence produce a creative atmosphere in which community members’ relationships with God and each other may be deepened. In silence, a religious is free to adore God, to lift up her heart to him in praise, gratitude and intercession, to draw near to the Giver of life.

The words of Jesus in the Gospel impel the sister to let her love for God be expressed in compassionate service to others. Because the foundation is active and non-cloistered, its sisters  are free to respond to human needs in many ways, but, of course, our faith perspective causes us to recognize that all people were created to love and to be loved and to find the fullness of their life in God.

For more information or to contact us:
Missionaries of Divine Compassion
Divine Compassion House
311 Sixth Street
Winona Lake, IN 46590


Posted May 24, 2011 by franciscanmdc

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