Imitation of christ
June 1, 2009
Silvia Maria Tarafa, SCTJM
For private use only -©
We have talked about saying yes to God, abandoning ourselves to Him. But what are we saying “yes” to? What is a consecrated person doing when we renounce the world? And why would anyone do this?
The Servant of God John Paul II wrote a powerful apostolic exhortation, Vita Consecrata, which brings sunlight to the true identity of the consecrated life. We cannot be holy consecrated men and women if we do not understand God’s original intention for this vocation. So let us spend some time unveiling this document that paints for us God’s masterpiece on the consecrated life.
John Paul II begins to clarify the mystery of the consecrated life by looking at the Transfiguration. This Scripture passage reveals a series of juxtapositions that shed light on this special vocation. At the transfiguration we see the contemplative dimension of the three disciples, who “come up” the mountain to pray in the presence of a glorified Christ and in union with the saints. They also “come down” the mountain to their daily active life in the service of the Gospel.
In the Transfiguration we see Jesus reveal His transfigured glory, with a gaze towards eternity, pointing towards the eschatological meaning of our lives. This scene shows them simultaneously living out the present, as the Lord is preparing them for His passion and death, and the crosses they too will soon carry.
Lastly, in the mountain-top experience, these three, specially-chosen disciples, experience an intimacy with our Lord, unlike the others. The profoundness and splendour of this experience makes them, and us, shout out like Peter, “It is good for us to be here.” From this intimate experience with the Lord, the three receive courage to come down the mountain and follow the Lord. But even more, it further demands from them - and us - to make of our lives a total gift of ourselves by vowing to live our lives as the poor, chaste and obedient Christ.
How “total” is the consecrated heart’s call to surrender?
Vita Consecrata explains: “In the consecrated life it is not a matter of following Christ with one’s whole heart, of loving him ‘more a than father or mother, more than son or daughter,’ for this is required of every disciple, but of living and expressing this by conforming one’s whole existence to Christ in an all-encompassing commitment…. Consecrated persons not only make Christ the whole meaning of their lives, but strive to reproduce in themselves as far as possible that form of life which He, as the Son of God accepted in entering the world.”
After the transfiguration experiences we each have with our majestic and tender Lord, the consecrated person sets out to replicate in his or her life what “we have seen, heard and looked upon” in our communion with Christ.
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and