Why does the human mind long for transcendence

Appendix I, A
Consecration - Vocation

Life means to be wanted and loved by God every moment. If this is true of every creature, how much more must one consecrated to God be aware of the importance of life as a gift from God, as a call to life according to the logic of divine love revealed to us in Christ ! "The person who has consecrated himself to God experiences the truth about the God of love in the various forms of life that have been inspired by the Holy Spirit in the course of history, the more he places himself under the cross of Christ" (VC, 24). As a baptized person and as one who has more radically surrendered to God and the brothers, the consecrated person is an epiphany of the love of the Triune God, who seeks communion with human beings confesses his loyalty to the mystery of the cross, to believe in the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and to live from it "(ibid.).

1. The great jubilee that we are celebrating finds in the consecrated life a wonderful historical and practical concretization of the mystery of God's love, which has become manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. The Great Jubilee is a great celebration of the 2000 years since the Incarnation of the Word of the Father and his Easter mystery, which is realized anew through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is about the highest condensation of the mystery of God as community, God as love: the Father, who emerges from himself through his creation, places himself in communion with his creatures through his Son Jesus Christ, which as an event in history the full communion between God and man represents. This communion of revelation of the Father through his Son Jesus is realized within historical time through the constant outpouring of the Spirit, which is an essential prerequisite for the communion of God and man to be realized in all its depth.

It is God's eternal plan to allow people to participate in his triune life: through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, people have access to the Father. The fatherhood of God is not sentimental; rather, it is a fact that transforms man by bringing him into the intimacy of his triune family. Christians "share in the divine nature" (2 petr 1,4), because the letter to the Ephesians says: "Through him we have access to the Father in the one Spirit" (cf. Eph 2.18). To be holy means to share in the nature of God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Christians thus become "fellow citizens of the saints and household members of God" (cf. Eph 2.19). The eternal plan of God, then, is "to renew everything in Christ". From eternity he “called” people to come into communion with him, including them in the mystery of his incarnate Son: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: He has blessed us with all the blessings of his Spirit through our fellowship with Christ in heaven. For in him he chose us before the creation of the world, that we might live holy and blameless before God; out of love he has determined us in advance to become his sons through Jesus Christ according to his gracious will ... He has made known to us the secret of his will as he graciously determined it in advance: he has decided the fulness of times to bring up and to unite in Christ everything that is in heaven and on earth ... "(Eph 1,3-6. 9-10).

2. We are called from eternity to be "holy" "in" and "through" Christ, i.e. to participate in the "holy life" of God and his limitless transcendence. In this lies the "consecration" of every baptized person. Indeed, one can say that in God's plan every rational being has a share in this calling. Consecration is to be equated with the deification of man, and this in turn is to be equated with becoming one with Christ, which takes place through the outpouring of the Spirit.

It is the vocation of consecrated persons to make this "consecration" even more visible. Consecrated life is an "existence according to Christ" which "is only possible on the basis of a special calling and by virtue of a gift of the Spirit of its own. In it, the consecration of baptism is in fact led to a radical response in following Christ through the acceptance of the evangelical counsels "(VC, 14). In this way the consecrated is called, despite the weakness of his human nature, to let the mystery of Christ, which we are celebrating in the Jubilee, shine through. Because "the consecrated life is not just about following Christ with all your heart," more than father and mother, more than son or daughter "(cf. Mt 10:37) to love, as is required of every disciple, but to live and express this with the consent or entire existence that conforms to Christ, in an all-embracing tension that anticipates eschatological perfection in the possible time frame "(VC, 16).

Christ is "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15), and man, in turn, is in the image of Christ: “We know that God leads everything to good with those who love him, with those who are called according to his eternal plan; for he has also determined in advance all whom he has known in advance to participate in the nature and form of his son, so that he may be the firstborn of many brothers. But those whom he has predetermined he has also called, and those whom he has called he has also justified; but whom he has justified, he has also glorified "(Rm 8,28).

He who has dedicated himself radically and clearly to God is called to be alive icon To become Christ: his "special consecration" (VC, 30) is nothing other than the call to a growing union with Christ, to be like a living sacrament of Christ's presence among people. Because “while (the consecrated) let themselves be guided by the Spirit on a path of incessant purification, they increasingly become persons who uniform with Christ are to extend a special presence of the risen Lord into history "(VC, 19).

3. The anniversary is not simply a commemoration of an event in the past. It is about a reality that is renewed daily, as it were, because Jesus of Nazareth actually rose from the dead and lives under and in us. Yes, the person Jesus Christ, who lived, died and rose from the dead 20 centuries ago, is "the beginning and the end" (Acts 21.6), "Alpha and Omega" (Acts 1.8; 21.6) of all creation; everything was created through him and for him and everything endures in him (Col 1.16). It shares the waters of history, it moves the cosmos, it is the fulfillment and meaning of every event and of the whole universe.

The consecrated person is aware that he is humbly called to make this mystery of Christ visible today. If 'the religion that is founded in Christ is one Religion of glory then it means an existence in a new life in praise of the glory of God (cf. Eph 1.12) «; and when "man (vivens homo) is the manifestation of the glory of God, called to a life out of the fullness of God" (TMA, 6), then the consecrated one who is called to an even more radical testimony to the mystery of Christ before the world will be much more so.

If "the holy year is to be a single, uninterrupted praise of the Trinity, the Most High" (Incarnationis mysterium, 3), then this is a further reason for the consecrated to praise and thank God: through their ordination they are called by God to make this great mystery of God tangible to the men and women of today, that of the person of Christ in ours History has collapsed.

Today's man wants to see that the promises of God, which were fulfilled in the person of Christ 2,000 years ago, are still renewed for him today. Today's human being, suffocated by thousands of messages and thousands of words, needs the "Good News" more than ever, the "Word" that becomes flesh in his flesh. Today's man is tired of false promises of happiness; he wants the fulfillment of the promises, he has an unspeakable desire for salvation. Today's man thirsts and hungers for love, friendship, understanding; he needs someone to help him overcome his fears, fears and doubts; he needs someone to give meaning to the apparent futility that surrounds him.

Rediscovering Christ is the first goal of the Jubilee. It also depends on the consecrated whether this goal will be attained ...

Appendix I, B


In this jubilee year, which ushers in the third Christian millennium through the living remembrance of the Incarnation of the Lord, the Church is called to rediscover herself as a mystery of communion. It is the Father's plan with the world that people should be like sons in the one son (Eph 1,4f) be and live, and that God is "all in all" (1 cor 15.28). The mystery of communion, which is based in Christ, the incarnate, dead and risen Eternal Word, has become possible for us through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; it is the mystery of the Church itself. As a gift of the Spirit, the consecrated life has the task of making communion in God's people visible through a fraternal life that is lived genuinely and permanently, so that the world in communion will find that answer to its deep desires find a true relationship with God and with others.

1. Before giving himself up for the salvation of the world, Jesus asks the Father that all may be one, and he refers to his eternal relationship as Son to the Father as an example of this unity: »... I in them and you in me. In this way they should be perfected in unity, so that the world may recognize that you sent me and loved those who were mine as much as me "(Joh 17.21.23). The whole concern of God for the world ultimately serves this goal: people should share in divine life, which is perfect love, perfect mutual devotion of Father and Son in the Holy Spirit. The Father created every human being; he sent his only begotten Son and poured out the Spirit that everyone might be introduced into the life of God and live in communion with all.

The Church, which arises from the sacrifice of Christ and from the outpouring of the Spirit, has no other aim than to make possible the "communion" of men and to open up the threefold life for all humanity. And since the divine life is a life in trinity (of relationships), therefore the church is the "sacrament" in which it is possible for people to save themselves as members of the only family of God.

St. Paul writes: "By the one Spirit we were all received into one body in baptism" (1 cor 12.13; see. Eph 4.4). The spirit is actually the original ground of community, since it has become an expression of the divine person Agape (Love) which by its nature unites: "The love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom 5.5). It is the source of unity and communion, because the unity of the Church is a gift of grace from God: by us one with Christ the church comes into being as the realization of God's eternal plan. Jesus became man, died and rose so that this unity could be realized, to bring those wounded by sin back to unity with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 2,11-22).

2. If this is the mystery of the Church as a community, then the consecrated, who are called to a special radicalism in following Christ and to a special visualization of the equation with him, are also called to give the world the visibility of the Church as one To reveal secret to the community. The fraternal life, which consecrated persons should characterize according to the nature of their respective spiritualities, becomes the place where the mystery of the Church is revealed in the visibility of those persons who understand one another as members in Christ. If the consecrated person is to realize the radical nature of his baptismal vocation, then this means that his vocation as a consecrated person is a vocation to the formation of the church, to the formation of community. From this point of view, the theological justification of the consecrated life is increasingly becoming an element of promoting life in community in the Church. One consecrates oneself to the Lord in order to live one's own connection with the Church even more radically, that is, one's own ability to relate, the origin, model and goal of which is the Trinity: “Consecrated life is a great task, also in the light of the Second Vatican Council entrusted the doctrine of the Church as a community, presented with firm determination. Consecrated persons are required to be "witnesses and builders of that 'divine plan for community' which is to crown the history of men", to be real experts in the community and to put its spirituality into practice "(VC, 46).

The fraternal life, in which consecrated persons are called to fulfill their own vocation, becomes the expression of a genuinely ecclesial life: "The Church is essentially the mystery of communion", united by the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit People". The fraternal life wants to reflect the depth and the fullness of this mystery by shaping itself as a human space inhabited by the Trinity, which in this way brings into history the gifts of community which are specific to the three divine persons "(VC, 41).

The fraternity in which the consecrated live their belonging to the Lord cannot be reduced to purely sociological or psychological forces: it must ultimately be rediscovered and understood in its theological character as a gift and a secret: In community life it must somehow become recognizable that the fraternal community, even more as a path for a particular mission, is a divine place where the mystical presence of the risen Lord can be experienced (cf. Mt 18,20)« (VC, 42).

In the celebration of the Great Jubilee, it is particularly important to remember how in the two thousand year history of the Church the consecrated have been a prophetic and community-inspiring presence for the whole ecclesial community: “The consecrated life undoubtedly has the merit of being effective to have to keep alive in the Church the desire for brotherhood as a commitment to the Trinity "(VC, 41). One must not let this prophetic impulse of the consecrated wither; yes, one must constantly take up it anew and promote it in this third Christian millennium.

3. For this particular vocation to churchliness, which is peculiar to consecrated people, fraternal life needs daily nourishment through the cultivation of personal and communal prayer, through constant listening to the word of God, through honest conversion that comes from the sacrament of reconciliation Draws strength for constant rebirth; furthermore, by imploring unity, which "is a special gift of the Spirit for those who are willing listeners of the Gospel". “It is he, the Spirit himself, who leads the soul to communion with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Joh 1,3)« (VC, 42). Only when the spirit takes possession of our humanity, of our human heart, of our need for love and tenderness, only then will the religious communities be "little churches" and signs of the presence of the Spirit.

In this dynamic of fraternal life, which is a sign of genuine communion with God and with people for the Church and for the world, St. The Eucharist, as the outstanding sacrament of unity, can be accorded an absolutely central position: “As for the life of the Church, the Eucharist is also at the heart of the consecrated life. How could the person who is called by the vow of the evangelical counsels to choose Christ as the only meaning of his existence, not wish to establish an ever deeper communion with him through daily participation in the sacrament which makes him present in sacrifice? when it makes the gift of love on Golgotha ​​topical, in the feast that nourishes and protects the pilgrim people of God "(VC, 95). Consecrated persons cannot possibly be witnesses of the community if their own life does not find its heart in the memory of Easter: “The Eucharist, by its nature, is at the center of consecrated life, personal and communal. ...Every consecrated person is called to live the paschal mystery of Christ, uniting with him in the giving of his own life to the Father through the Spirit. ... And in the celebration of the mystery of the body and blood of the Lord, the unity and love of those who have consecrated their lives to God are strengthened and grown "(VC, 95).

4. In this great celebration of the Jubilee, consecrated life is discovered as a sign of communal life and shows the modern world the answer that God Himself gives to man who longs for a true relationship with him and with men. Man really desires community and full happiness. Only in Christ does the grace of this fulfillment open to him.

In our time, which is so painfully marked at the same time by extreme, misanthropic individualisms and by collectivisms that sacrifice the person for the assertion of an ethnicity or nationality over another, the great anniversary reminds everyone of the mystery of the community that holds us is revealed in Christ as an offer to all people, and which proceeds from the heart of the Triune God. Here, following the example of the ineffable divine mystery, people are called to go out of themselves in order to find their true identity in the self-giving to others. Here the community life of the consecrated receives a particularly urgent task today: Through the constant promotion of fraternal life it has shown that participation in the Trinitarian community can change human relationships in such a way that it produces a new kind of solidarity. In this way the consecrated life shows people both the beauty of fraternal communion and the concrete paths that lead to it. For consecrated persons live “for” God and “from” God and for this very reason they can profess the power of the reconciling effect of grace, which throws down the destructive forces present in the human heart and in social relationships ”(VC, 41).

VC, 51).

Therefore all those whom God has called to a special configuration with Christ may be aware that “the Church entrusts the communities of consecrated life with the special task of the spirituality of their own community, above all within their own community and then in the to strengthen ecclesiastical community and beyond its borders by opening up or repeatedly taking up the dialogue of love, especially where today's world is torn by racial hatred or murderous madness "(VC, 51).

But in the face of this task, namely to be a promoter of the unity of the whole human race, how should one not feel anew the pain of the divisions within God's people, and the urgent need to establish full unity among all Christians! This requires a special place in the consecrated life for efforts and dedication for the unity of those who believe in Christ. What is particularly meant is to make the Lord's prayer your own: "They should be perfected in unity" (Joh 17.23) «. Such a unit - just consider it - »is ultimately a gift from the Holy Spirit» (TMA, 34), and therefore "the Church implores the Lord that unity may grow among all Christians of the various confessions until it attains full communion" (TMA, 16). Here, then, the task of the consecrated in this regard becomes clear: If the soul of ecumenism is prayer and conversion, there is no doubt that the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life have a special obligation to undertake this task to dedicate. It is imperative, therefore, to give more space in the lives of consecrated persons to ecumenical prayer and the credible witness of the Gospel, so that the walls of divisions and prejudices between Christians can be torn down by the power of the Holy Spirit "(VC, 100).

Appendix I, C


The great jubilee, "the year of grace", has no other goal than to create the best conditions for the church, the body of Christ, so that the Spirit may renew and purify it once more and, in the time of the jubilee, the work of Repeat liberation and healing that he worked in the person of Jesus of Nazareth twenty centuries ago: »The Spirit of the Lord rests on me: for the Lord has anointed me. He sent me to bring good news to the poor; so that I may announce release to the prisoners and sight to the blind; so that I may set the broken free and proclaim a year of grace from the Lord (“An anniversary year”) «(Lk 4,18-19).

1. If the charism of the consecrated life consists above all in greater equalization with Christ, then the religious person is in a sense also of the Spirit »anointed«To be sent into the world. It is also well known that the consecrated life is given as a charism for the good of the body of Christ, that is, of the Church. The document Vita Consecrata says: Far from those whom the Father has called to withhold from human history, the same Spirit then, according to the determinations of their state of life, places them in the service of the brothers and sisters and guides them in relation to the needs of the Church and world to fulfill special tasks through the charisms peculiar to the various institutes. This explains the emergence of such diverse forms of consecrated life, through which the Church “stands adorned with the various graces of her children like a bride for her husband (cf. Rev. 21: 2) "and is enriched by every means in order to fulfill her mission in the world" (VC, 19).

In this jubilee year the consecrated, insofar as they have become like Christ ("anointed" through baptism and religious consecration), will allow themselves to be penetrated even more by the power of the Spirit in order to be able to effectively fulfill their mission in the world: Image Jesus, the beloved Son, "whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world" (Joh 10:36), those whom God calls to follow him will also be sanctified and sent into the world to imitate his example and continue his mission. Basically this applies to every disciple. But it is especially true for all who are called in the characteristic form of consecrated life to follow Christ “closer” and to make him the “whole” of their existence. Their calling therefore includes the task of themselves to be fully dedicated to the broadcast: yes, the consecrated life becomes, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the origin of every vocation and every charism, even a mission, as it was the whole life of Jesus "(VC, 72).

For Christ, over whom the Spirit descends and on whom he rests, lived all his life as the mission of the Father: he is that whom the Father sent; he does not come of himself, but is the Messenger of the Father (Joh 8.42) to do his will; and it is his will that nothing of what he has given him should be lost, but that it should be raised on the last day (Joh 6.38f). Thus, the consecrated person, being called to a visible equalization with Christ, must live his own life as a mission and make the word of the Risen One especially his own: "As the Father sent me, so I send you" (Joh 20.21)! The concrete being of the consecrated, with all its special gifts, is therefore a call to be fully involved in the mission for the salvation of the world.

2. In the Church today one feels more and more clearly the need to combine evangelization with the "new evangelization", and one is also becoming aware of the crucial role that consecrated persons play in this. This very important need demands, even before any organizational or strategic effort, greater availability for the work of the Holy Spirit, without which one runs the risk of "working in vain". Because "evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit," says Paul VI. (EN, 75), and John Paul II takes up the teaching of his predecessor when he says: “The Spirit is also for our time the main force of the new evangelization. It will therefore be a matter of rediscovering the spirit as the one who in the course of history builds up the kingdom of God and prepares its full revelation through Jesus Christ by stimulating people inwardly and in human experience the seeds of ultimate salvation, which will occur at the end of time, let rise "(TMA, 45).

Regarding the consecrated who are called to evangelize, the document says Vita Consecrata: “The particular contribution of consecrated persons to evangelization consists first of all in the testimony of a life of total surrender to God and to brothers and sisters, following the Savior who made himself a servant out of love for man. For in the work of salvation everything comes from the participation of the divine Agape. Consecrated persons make visible in their consecration and total surrender the loving and saving presence of Christ, who was sanctified by the Father and sent into the world. If they allow themselves to be taken by him (cf. Phil 3:12), they are ready to become, so to speak, an extension of his human existence. The consecrated life is an eloquent expression of the fact that the more one lives of Christ, the better can serve him in others, by advancing to the forefront of the missionary front and taking the greatest risks "(VC, 76).

Evangelization is nothing else than the spreading of that life of Christ among men through the consecrated, who himself already experiences it in the Holy Spirit. The greatest work of evangelization that a devotee can accomplish is that of seriously living his being church, his "standing in fellowship" as a reality that is the ultimate proof of the presence and work of the Spirit in him Interior represents.

If one is to renew one's communities and see vocations blossom anew, then the Spirit must really become the protagonist on the personal and communal levels of the consecrated life, in a real missionary force. This means turning from one's own "I" (also from the I of one's own congregation or province) to the "we" of the community and the ecclesiastical mission; that means overcoming the forces that lead to death and opening up to life; Overcoming a false attachment to the past and prophetic opening, nourished by the real tradition, towards the future of the search for the will of God; Overcoming our narrow provincialism and opening up to the horizons of catholicity; Overcoming the logic of the world and opening up to the logic of the gospel and the paschal mystery, which is a logic of the cross and the resurrection. Ultimately it is a matter of constantly renewing our decision for the most beloved God, in following Christ, strengthened and animated by the power of the Spirit.

3. The mission of the consecrated must always be like that mission of Christ, especially in this "year of grace": "To proclaim the good news to the poor". Our brothers and sisters today not only suffer from material poverty (hunger, uprooting, persecution, war, unemployment, disease, abandonment ...), but also from spiritual poverty (loneliness, despair, moral neglect, loss of values , Exploitation ...). To all of these the consecrated are sent to proclaim the "good news" of salvation and liberation. The monks, the sisters of the contemplative life, the various religious of the active life will announce to the suffering people that one can still hope, that one can still love. They have had the liberating experience of Christ in their lives; they can bear witness to the fruits of salvation for all people. They who have entered "the year of grace" through their calling will say through their lives, their words and their works that the kingdom of God that began with Christ 2000 years ago is mighty and effective for all; it can and must penetrate the fabric of our society, it can and must change the hearts of people and structures, it can transform injustice into justice, despair into hope, and hate into love.

Even today in all consecrated Christ will be among us "doing good to all"; he will continue to dry tears, comfort the sad, feed the hungry, caress children, free prisoners. However, it remains true for all religious: “Before the mission is characterized by external works, it unfolds in that it makes Christ himself present to the world through personal witness. That is the challenge, that is the first priority of the consecrated life! The more one becomes conform to Christ, the more present and effective one makes him in the world for the salvation of men "(VC, 72).

If, on the threshold of the third Christian millennium, we as consecrated people remember our task of identifying ourselves with the mission of Christ, then we must also remember all those consecrated who remained faithful to the gospel until their blood was shed.

Christ is the "faithful witness" (Acts 1.5), who has fulfilled his mission by saying "to the end" (Joh 13: 1) loved in an obedience until death on the cross. The Church, as his body and as his bride, is called to share in his mission and to bear the same testimony of the truth of God, ready to "give an account of hope to everyone" (1 petr 3,15).

So there is every reason to thank God for the gift of so many devotees who gave their lives to testify of Christ's love for everyone! The Apostolic Letter Vita Consecrata Recalls recent events and says: Consecrated men and women have testified of Christ the Lord by giving their lives. Thousands of people who were forced to live underground as a result of the persecution by totalitarian regimes or violent groups and who were hindered in their missionary work, in working for the poor, in caring for and helping the sick and the people on the margins of society, have for a long time heroic suffering and often their consecration to God by shedding their blood - and they still live - and have thus become completely conformed to the crucified Lord. The Church has already officially recognized some of them as holy, honoring them as martyrs of Christ. They enlighten us by example, they intercede for our faithfulness, they await us in glory. There is a keen wish that the memory of so many witnesses of the faith will be preserved in the minds of the Church as a stimulus for veneration and imitation "(VC, 86).

Annex II


For the preparation of the celebration of the Great Jubilee by Consecrated Persons, a commission was formed consisting of the USG (Union of Superior General), UISG (International Union of Superior General) and CMIS (World Conference of Secular Institutes). It was in collaboration with the CIVCSVA (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life). In preparation for the celebration of the anniversary, she thought it would be a good idea to emphasize the aspects of forgiveness, solidarity and mutual acceptance that were desired by many and stimulated by the spirit of the anniversary. A prophetic gesture of helping fellowship should be given by all consecrated persons with those in particular need of help. The Commission is examining the various proposals.

Inspired by this longing for community, we therefore ask each community, even if it is the poorest, according to its possibilities, for a contribution that is intended to express that the consecrated life is aware of the great poverty which in many respects scourges humanity .

We want to perform this gesture of love in Advent, the time of expectation and request, so that when we commemorate the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, the Savior and Redeemer, our hearts are renewed in his love through a new power of love, which is a prerequisite for receiving the gift of peace among people and among nations.

What is gathered will be presented to the Holy Father by the Presidents of the Unions during the celebration of the Eucharist in St. Peter's Basilica on February 2, 2000. All the institutes of consecrated life residing in Rome will be present, and in the gift given, every single community in the world will also be present. This gift wants to express the community lived in faith and hope and supported by the spirit of sacrifice, which we all want to strengthen in ourselves, in our communities, our peoples and throughout the world.

Each community can have its offering presented by the superior conference of the respective country or by the superior general of its own institute. These will forward the gifts to the CIVCSVA, which will then forward them to the presidents of the associations for delivery to St. Father presented.