Dear friends in Christ,

Praised be Jesus Christ!

In 2013, Pope Francis declared that a Year of Consecrated Life (YCL) be celebrated throughout the world. YCL began on the 1st Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014. It will close on the World Day of Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016.

In the spirit of giving thanks and praise to God, especially for the blessing of the inspiration and service of those consecrated who serve in our parish and throughout the rest of the Diocese of Phoenix, I'd like to share the following article with you.

Wishing you and your families much grace and peace.

In Christ,
Fr. McGuire

The Year of Consecrated Life:
The Fruit of the Incarnation

Father James M. Sullivan, O.P.

When Saint John Paul II authorized his apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata and signed it as his own, he dated it March 25, 1996. This date, of course, is that of the Annunciation, the moment when the second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man-the instant of the Incarnation. This date reveals to us the essential connection between consecrated life and the humanity of Jesus.

A merely secular view of consecrated life reduces it to functionality. They are poor to keep down expenses. They are celibate so they do not have to support a family. They are obedient to make them more efficient in getting the job done. The shortsightedness of this perspective robs consecrated life of its main purpose: the sanctification of the person consecrated by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Saint John Paul II underscores the necessary witness of consecrated life in reminding us of the necessary witness of Jesus’ life: “By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus-the chaste, poor, and obedient one-are made constantly ‘visible’ in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven” (VC 1).

The Annunciation is what makes all of this possible.

Father James M. Sullivan, O.P., serves as director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at The Pontifical North American College in Rome