Starting Afresh from Christ
A Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
15. The times in which we are living call for a general rethinking of the formation of consecrated men and women, which is no longer limited to one period of life. Not only to enable them to become better able to insert themselves into a reality which changes with a rhythm which is often frenetic but also and more importantly because consecrated life itself, of its nature, calls for the constant openness of those who are called to it. If, in fact, consecrated life is in itself “a progressive taking on of the attitude of Christ”(Vita Consecrata, 65) ,it seems evident that such a path must endure for a lifetime and involve the whole person, heart, mind and strength (cf. Mt 22:37) reshaping the person in the likeness of the Son who gives himself to the Father for the good of humanity. Thus understood, formation is no longer only a teaching period in preparation for vows but also represents a theological way of thinking of consecrated life which is in itself a never ending formation “sharing in the work of the Father who, through the Spirit, fashions in the heart the inner attitudes of the Son”.(Vita Consecrata, 66)
Thus it will be important that all consecrated persons be formed in the freedom to learn throughout life, in every age and season, in every human ambient and context, from every person and every culture open to be taught by any fragment of truth and beauty found around them. But above all they must learn to be formed by everyday life, by their own community, by their brothers and sisters, by everyday things, ordinary and extraordinary, by prayer and by apostolic fatigue, in joy and in suffering, until the moment of death.
Openness to the other and to otherness, particularly a relation with time become most important. People in ongoing formation take advantage of time, they don’t submit to it. They accept it as a gift and wisely enter into the various rhythms of life itself (days, weeks, months, years) with wisdom, seeking the harmony between them and the rhythm, fixed by an immutable and eternal God which marks the days, centuries and times. In a very unique way consecrated persons learn to allow themselves to be moulded by the liturgical year in which the mysteries of the life of the Son of God are relived in order to start afresh from Christ and from his death and resurrection everyday of their lives.