The celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life first took place on the 2 February 1997 at the behest of Pope Saint John Paul II. With great enthusiasm, he instituted this anniversary so that every consecrated person would grow in their awareness of the great gift that they have received. In this regard, the year before, he wrote in the Post-Synodal Exhortation Vita Consecrata n. 110: “You do not only have a glorious history to remember and to recount, but a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you to do even greater things “.
The Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated on the feast in which we commemorate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Mary and Joseph “to offer him to the Lord” (Lk 2:22).
Today, with such gratitude, we want to sing our Magnificat to the Lord for having led Sister Catherine and Sister Veronica to their own surrender to the will of God the Father on the 8th December, through perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
We retrace the rite of perpetual profession to enjoy the beauty of the divine call together.
The sacred rite of perpetual vows opens with the call. Each sister is called by name with the words, “The Divine Master is calling you.”, to which they respond, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will”.
The call is followed by the interrogation of the candidate in which their intention to consecrate themselves more intimately to Jesus through the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty; to follow the Gospel and to observe the Rule of the Family of the Missionaries of Divine Revelation is verified.
The candidates prostrate themselves on the ground and the assembly sings the litany of the saints. Sister Catherine and Sister Veronica will never be alone on this journey because the Mother of God, the Angels and the Saints with unceasing supplications intercede for them. Prostrating themselves on the ground at the foot of the altar is a sign of their total self-emptying and their immolation in the service of the Kingdom of God.
After the litany, we reach the heart of profession: the candidates, standing before the Celebrant and the Superior, read, one by one, the formula of the Profession which is written in their own handwriting. They then approach the altar, kiss it and sign the document while it is placed on the altar. The altar is a sign of Christ the Bridegroom, that is why it is kissed!
Before the Holy Altar, Sister Catherine and Sister Veronica, with their arms outstretched in the form of a cross, sing:
Suscipe me Domine secundum eloquium tuum et vivam, et non confundas me ab expectatione mea! (Sustain me Lord, according to your Word and I will have life. Do not delude me in my hope. (Salm 118 (119), 116).
At this point, Sister Catherine and Sister Veronica, who are now newly professed, still on their knees, receive the blessing from the Celebrant. It is a long supplication to invoke the Father’s Mercy on his daughters who are called to worthily guard their fidelity to religious profession and obtain everything they ask for the salvation of their souls, their Sisters and those they meet in their apostolate.
The conclusion of the rite is followed by the gift of the emblems of religious profession:
the wedding ring to keep the faith intact; the crown of thorns which represents the gift of the crucified Bridegroom; the floral crown as a sign of the sublime virginal dignity and the the Divine Office to incessantly praise the Heavenly Father and intercede for the salvation of the whole world.
For their entire lives Sister Catherine and Sister Veronica will find in their faithful union with their Bridegroom, Christ Jesus their peace, their hope and their comfort. Then, on the day without sunset, before the tribunal of the Eternal King, they will discover in the voice of the Judge the voice of their Bridegroom who invites them to the joy of the eternal wedding (From the rite of perpetual profession).
May it be so for each of us!
God bless us
And the Virgin protect us.